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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Erdogan wants to keep his Gaddafi Human Rights award

From Today's Zaman:
In response to growing calls from Turkish society on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights he received last year, the Prime Ministry said yesterday that “returning the award is out of the question.”

As the growing anti-government unrest in Libya is met by the brutal response of security forces, Turkish civil society has begun calling on Erdoğan to give back the award in protest of the Gaddafi violence in Libya, a demand that was rejected by the Prime Ministry in a statement released yesterday. The refusal to return the award may be linked to the safety of thousands of Turks in Libya who still expect to be evacuated.

The Young Civilians -- a civil society group known for its creative demonstrations in support of democracy -- made an open call to Erdoğan yesterday to return the award. “You showed sensitivity to what happened in Egypt. Take the side of the oppressed against the oppressive Gaddafi as well. Fix this evil act, which you cannot fix with your hand, with your tongue. Immediately give back the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights that you recently received. As long as this award exists on the shelves of the Republic of Turkey’s Prime Ministry, the responsibility for the ongoing massacres in Libya will remain on us,” the Young Civilians said.

...The human rights prize was established in 1988 by Muammar al-Gaddafi. According to its website, the prize is awarded to one of the “international personalities, bodies or organizations that have distinctively contributed to rendering an outstanding human service and has achieved great actions in defending human rights, protecting the causes of freedom and supporting peace everywhere in the world.” Former South African President Nelson Mandela and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez are among the recipients of the award.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also commented on Erdoğan’s silence regarding the Libyan uprising yesterday and argued that “Erdoğan is doing what the award requires.
Other illustrious past winners include Fidel Castro, Louis Farrakhan, Mahathir Mohamad and Daniel Ortega.

(h/t Harry's Place via T34)