US journalist’s Honorary Turkish Citizenship Cancelled

kkFormer New York Times journalist Stephen Kinzer has said his honorary Turkish citizenship was cancelled after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office sent a fax that described him as “an enemy of our government and our country” due to a recent critical article.

Kinzer wrote in the Boston Globe on May 27 that he was in the southeastern Turkish province of Gaziantep to be made an honorary citizen by the mayor and city council in recognition of reporting he did years ago that resulted in saving exquisite Roman mosaics about to be lost to flooding.

“Upon my arrival, however, my acutely embarrassed hosts sat me down and told me the ceremony, and my honorary citizenship, had been cancelled by the personal order of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” Kinzer wrote.

“Gaziantep’s mayor was given the order while attending a United Nations conference in Paris. Later, according to one of my friends here, Erdoğan’s office sent her a fax describing me as ‘an enemy of our government and our country.’ Attached as evidence was a Jan. 4 column I wrote for the Boston Globe that included a critical paragraph about Erdoğan,” he added.

The paragraph said, “Once seen as a skilled modernizer, [Erdoğan] now sits in a 1,000-room palace denouncing the European Union, decreeing the arrest of journalists, and ranting against short skirts and birth control.”