Some parts of the Turkish press are reporting that the anti-government protests now ongoing in Turkey are the result of a plot at the American Enterprise Institute. Apparently, a meeting took place between some of our scholars and outsiders, and these Jews (for many, though not all, at the alleged meeting are Jews) and their fellow travelers planned the whole thing. Now, as director of our foreign policy work, I’m tickled to think that anyone believes we could rally the nation of Turkey against the increasingly autocratic, Islamist Erdoğan government. But as an honest human being, I have to admit this didn’t happen. No meeting. No plot. No Jewish cabal.
Some in the pro-government media in Turkey are quoting AEI’s Veronique Rodman as confirming we held such meetings. Again, sorry folks, but Veronique said no such thing. She merely gave out her name for email inquiries to non-English speaking Turkish reporters. We did react to the first of these stories on Sunday, saying “no such meeting ever took place.” But apparently this story is too good to believe our denial.
Here is the truth: Erdoğan, who spoke at AEI a few years ago, has begun to transform Turkey into an Islamist bastion. He has taken Ataturk’s legacy and is systematically dismantling the modern Turkish state. Reporters are in prison, the army has been emasculated, and secular freedoms are under siege. The Turkish people are standing up to Erdoğan because they see what has become of their once-proud nation, and they won’t stand for it. Kudos to them.