In a move of towering cynicism and hypocrisy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 20 called for the prosecution of his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad by the International Criminal Court. Speaking to state TV, Erdogan demanded that Assad be charged with "state terrorism," saying he is responsible for the death of 500,000 people, and rhetorically asked how the Syrian dictator can receive "red carpet treatment" in Russia while killing his own people with barrel bombs. (Jurist, March 31) This from the guy who is waging his own vigorous campaign of state terror against the Kurds of Turkey's east, even burning civilians alive in Diyarbakir, and all too clearly esclatintg towards a genocidal threshold.
The ICC should try the both of them. We said the same when Erdogan's government accused Russia of attempted "ethnic cleansing" in Syria. Yeah, there's a good case for that, but a government which is also attempting such cleansing has no legitimacy to make it.
We offer no equivocation on the reality that the Assad regime has escalated to genocide in its war against the Syrian people. (The UN puts the death toll in Syria at over a quarter million, although not the half million claimed by Erdogan; and while not all these deaths are attributable to the regime, it bears ultimate responsibility for starting the war.) Of course Assad is the greater criminal by far, but Erdogan is clearly on the same path. He appears to be about where Assad was five years ago in the escalation to a genocidal threshold.
And the "international community" at least feigns outrage at Assad's atrocities. Erdogan is getting a 100% blank check.