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Anti-Charlie Hebdo protester carrying a sign reading "We are all Said Kouachi" in Instanbul on Jan. 16
Anti-Charlie Hebdo protester carrying a sign reading "We are all Said Kouachi" in Instanbul on Jan. 16
Ahmet Hagan

-OpEd-

ISTANBUL — The Turkish authorities all condemned the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet for publishing selections from Charlie Hebdo. From the president to the prime minister, from ministers to parliamentary deputies, the government was united in condemning the Turkish newspaper. Insulting the sacred is unacceptable, they said.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda led demonstrations at mosques around the country, where the terrorists who killed the cartoonists and others in Paris were praised. There were more threats, with some saying that the same kind of attack will be repeated here in Turkey.

The government was, once again, united — in its silence. From the president to the prime minister, from ministers to parliamentary deputies, not a word. Not a single government official stepped forward to say, "Insulting the sacred is unacceptable, but so too is praising a crime or the criminal."

If the people running a nation's government condemn insults against a sacred prophet but are silent when murderers are lauded and encouraged, their message is clear. It's as good as telling would-be jihadists who might copy the murderers that it's justifiable to kill anyone they believe is insulting the prophet. It tells them, in other words, that the government would be on their side.

In Istanbul, a symbolic funeral was held in absentia for the two French brothers who murdered the Charlie Hebdocartoonists, two police officers and several others. I have some questions for those who prayed for killers Cherif and Said Kouachi.

Why don't you hold a funeral prayer in absentia for the 2,000 Muslims that Boko Haram massacred in Nigeria in a single day?

The Shia are murdering the Sunni, and the Sunni are murdering the Shia in Iraq. Why don't you hold funeral prayers in absentia for them?

The number of Muslims killed by the Islamist terror group ISIS is even higher than the number killed by Israel. Where are their funeral prayers in absentia?

In short, you say it is a must for you to hold funeral prayers in absentia for the murderous Muslims killed by French police — because they were killed by Westerners. What? The lives of Muslims killed by Muslims don't count?

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Ideas

How Turkey Can Bring Its Brain Drain Back Home

Turkey heads to the polls next year as it faces its worst economic crisis in decades. Disillusioned by corruption, many young people have already left. However, Turkey's disaffected young expats are still very attached to their country, and could offer the best hope for a new future for the country.

Photo of people on a passenger ferry on the Bosphorus, with Istanbul in the background

Leaving Istanbul?

Bekir Ağırdır*

-Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Turkey goes to the polls next June in crucial national elections. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is up against several serious challenges, as a dissatisfied electorate faces the worst economic crisis of his two-decade rule. The opposition is polling well, but the traditional media landscape is in the hands of the government and its supporters.

But against this backdrop, many, especially the young, are disillusioned with the country and its entire political system.

Young or old, people from every demographic, cultural group and class who worry about the future of Turkey are looking for something new. Relationships and dialogues between people from different political traditions and backgrounds are increasing. We all constantly feel the country's declining quality of life and worry about the prevalence of crime and lawlessness.

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