This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps.
Erdogan’s anti-democratic actions have caused much negative publicity in recent years – so much so that any positive work he did in the early part of his rule has now been totally wiped out by his autocratic behaviour. Now when his name is mentioned only one word comes to mind- that is ‘Dictator’.
It is worrying to then learn that the Turkish Consulate in London has been busy targeting British Turks with Erdogan’s propaganda. It has come to our attention that mailshots are sent to Turks in the UK encouraging them to vote for the AK Party. This has created a climate of fear in some sections of the British Turkish community as many are concerned about the improper use of their details by the Turkish Consulate in London. This is clearly a breach of their human rights – every individual in Britain has a right to hold personal views which should be respected. The consulate’s approach also appears to be unprecedented; no other foreign embassy is known to target its communities in this way.
This also raises wider questions such as: Does the consulate act as the eyes and ears of Erdogan in the UK? Does it also monitor the movements and social media activities of British Turks? Will it use critical comments made about Erdogan and his AK Party to deny visas and confiscate passports? Will it report British Turks who criticise Erdogan to the security services in Turkey so that their families can be harassed? These truly are the signs of a dictatorship of the worst kind.
Foreign consulates and embassies are not supposed to target people in this way. We will be raising our concerns with the appropriate authorities as this type of ‘big brother’ approach goes against everything Britain stands for and as is extremely dangerous. In the meantime, British Turks and anybody who believes in freedom of expression should write to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or the Turkish Consulate in London to express their concerns.