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Monday, June 1, 2020

June 01, 2020
image: the jerusalem post

Regimes based in Turkey and Iran both sought to exploit and support violent protests in the US over the weekend. Turkey is one of the world’s largest jailors of journalists and Iran’s government murdered 1,500 protesters last year, but leaders in both countries cynically sought to exploit recent protests in the US for their own ends.

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted that “if you’re dark-skinned walking in the US, you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes.”

Former Iranian president, and Holocaust denier, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the killing of George Floyd, the African-American man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, was “deeply disturbing and upsetting’ and that it was part of a plot by world powers and the “current world order.”

He even used the word “nigga” in his tweet, apparently trying to make his tweet seem relevant to Americans.

It is not clear who writes the tweets for Ahmadinejad and Khamenei in English, some of them appear to be taken more from college activists in the US than from the usual terminology of the Iranian regime, which is a theocratic regime with a long history of suppressing minorities and murdering protesters.

Even as Iran’s regime was supporting the protests in the US, which turned violent in many cities over the weekend, the regime in Tehran was gunning down peaceful Kurdish “kolbars” or people who move goods across the border.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is known for ethnically cleansing Kurds in northern Syria and whose army carried out a drone strike that killed two civilians on Saturday in Iraq, also supported the US protests.

He called the US “racist and fascist” and said that the US city of Minneapolis behavior was the result of a “painful manifestation of the unjust order we stand against across the world.”

Both Ahmadinejad and Erdogan referenced the need to stand against this “world order” which is apparently a reference to working together against the US.

Erdogan also said that Turkey condemns he “inhuman mentality” in the US and that Turkey stands against all attacks targeting humanity.

Despite these claims, Turkey launched an invasion of Syria last year that resulted in the widespread persecution of Kurds in Tel Abyad, including the lynching of Hevrin Khalaf, a young female Kurdish activist.

Over the weekend Kurdish and Yazidi women were found being held in a secret prison run by Turkish-backed Syrian rebel extremists in Syria. Almost every week in Turkey journalists and activists are arrested.

Turkey claimed that it hoped that “perpetrators of this inhuman act shall receive the punishment they deserve” and that Turkey would be monitoring America. Ankara’s comments are in contrast to how the US State Department does not critique Turkey for its widespread human rights abuses are mass detention of journalists and oppression of Kurdish municipalities.

Turkey has recently sought to jail and remove more opposition mayors in Kurdish areas. Ankara carries out drone strikes regularly killing civilians in Iraq, even bombing refugee camps. In May 2017 Erdogan’s body guards attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, DC.

Yet Turkey’s regime media has now been celebrating the protests and looting in the US over weekend. It is in contrast to how Turkey’s pro-government calls any protesters or dissidents in Turkey “terrorists.”

The decision by Turkey and Iran to involve themselves in the current protests in the US is part of a process of these regimes seeking to adopt a “progressive” face abroad, usually in English language tweets or video via their state media, the diametric opposite of what the regime does at home.

The same Iranian regime that killed more than 1,500 protesters last year, pretends to stand in sympathy with protesters in the US. The same Tehran regime that suppresses minorities at home speaks up for them abroad. The same Erdogan who tweets about Floyd doesn’t mention the thousands of minorities persecuted in Turkey, the jailed journalists or those like Hevrin Khalaf who were murdered during Turkey’s invasion of Syria.

The disingenuous comments by Ankara and Tehran and their use of the term “world order” appear to be a form of similar messaging that represents a view that Iran and Turkey could work together increasingly against the US and to reduce the US role in the world.

In the past the Muslim Brotherhood, which influences the leading party in Ankara, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, met in 2014 in Turkey to coordinate efforts in the Middle East.

When Erdogan said that there is an “unjust order we stand against across the world” and Ahmadinejad wrote that there is a “current world order which we all must unite against,” either their similar tweets were written by the same person or this talking point is being circulated in Ankara and Tehran as a way to exploit the protests to confront the US.