Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nobody's Business But The Turks, Con't

So yesterday we talked about Turkey's President Erdogan and how he basically obliterated the country's parliament with a mere majority referendum, which is bad enough.  I mean, amid nearly universal condemnation for a clear authoritarian if not outright fascist move, who's going to approve of such a comically anti-democratic act?

Well then, why don't you take a guess and the first three don't count.

President Trump called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Monday to congratulate him on winning a much-disputed referendum that will cement his autocratic rule over the country and, in the view of many experts, erode Turkey’s democratic institutions. 
Those concerns were not mentioned in a brief readout of the phone call that the White House released Monday night. After noting Mr. Trump’s congratulations, the one-paragraph statement pivoted to a recent American missile strike on a Syrian airfield, which it said he and Mr. Erdogan had also discussed. 
The statement did not say whether Mr. Trump had raised independent reports of voting irregularities during the Turkish referendum or the government’s heavy-handed tactics in the weeks leading up to it, when the country was under a state of emergency. The State Department noted both issues in a more cautious, less laudatory statement issued a few hours earlier. 
The White House was also silent about the long-term implications of the referendum, which some experts have likened to a deathblow to democracy in Turkey. Mr. Erdogan’s narrow victory, in effect, ratifies his authoritarian rule. The change to Turkey’s Constitution will allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to assume full control of the government, ending the current parliamentary political system. 

OK, I can see why Trump would tweet congrats because he's orange and proto-fascist, but why the full-court press with the congratulatory call and the State Department involvement?  Well, you see, about that whole "Trump being nice to Turkey" thing...

The mall was named for him. His name adorns signposts at the nearby metro station. It also looms from the sides of the twin skyscrapers that the mall sits beneath. 
Yet many of the diners, shoppers and store owners here at Trump Towers Istanbul on a recent evening could not quite believe that the complex — among the tallest buildings in one of the world’s largest predominantly Muslim cities — had anything to do with President Trump. 
Evin Sumeli, a 19-year-old training to be an anesthetist, was sitting down for a meal with her sister, Mizgin, 18, when she learned that Mr. Trump does indeed profit from the buildings. “O.K. — we’re leaving!” she declared. 
One floor below, Cigdem Turan, a cashier at a cosmetics store, was similarly surprised. “I actually asked people if he had anything to do with the building, but they said no,” said Ms. Turan, 25, who began working at Trump Towers early last fall. “My husband said it’s probably just a coincidence.”

A coincidence, however, it is not. Technically, neither Mr. Trump nor the Trump Organization owns the property (or most of the other buildings featuring the Trump name outside the United States). But in 2010, Mr. Trump allowed the building’s Turkish owners, Dogan Holding, to brand it with his name, in exchange for a sizable fee. The total has not been disclosed, but campaign records show that by July 2015, Dogan Holding had paid Mr. Trump between $1 million and $5 million for the use of his name.

The Trump regime is awfully nice to dictators who rule over countries where there's Trump-branded properties, it turns out, and there's your answer as to why Erdogan gets a personal phone call, especially since Erdogan isn't too cool with having Trump-branded buildings in Istanbul.

Gee, maybe he's cool with it now that he knows he has some leverage.

But that's nobody's business but the Turks.

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