the Guardian of course, praising Turkey's recent initiatives (various) in an editorial:
There was one statement, however, that stood out from the others: Turkey ‘defended the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir as a good Muslim.’ Appearing in a list of events that show how Turkey’s influence has grown, in an editorial that praises the country for ‘using its soft power effectively’, the reference to defending al-Bashir as a good Muslim could be read as a commendable example of Ankara reaching out to the Middle East whilst still trying to join the EU, a development that would give Europe a ‘secular, majority Muslim bridge to the Middle East, the Caucasus and central Asia.’
The reality is that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, was arguing that al-Bashir could not be guilty of genocide because he is a Muslim, and that the Sudanese ruler was free to visit Turkey without fear of being extradited to The Hague. This view is at odds with that of the International Criminal Court, which in 2010 made legal history by indicting al-Bashir on genocide charges, the first time such a charge had been made against an incumbent head of state. This followed the issuing of an arrest warrant by the ICC for al-Bashir in 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity; again, the first time such a warrant had been issued for a current head of state.
Given the seriousness of these charges, it is unclear why The Guardian has chosen to uncritically include Erdogan’s defence of al-Bashir in its list of notable foreign policy achievements by Turkey. This is especially true given the broadsheet has previously argued that the international community must take an active role in holding those accused of war crimes to account.
In ‘Arrest warrants: Short arm of international law’, The Guardian’s editorial from December 2009, the broadsheet criticised the British government for seeking to make it more difficult for Israeli politicians to be prosecuted for war crimes in the UK. The editorial stated that since ‘law is meaningless without enforcement, we also have to buy into the principle that universal jurisdiction is an essential arm of international law. Without it, war crimes are commited with impunity.’ However, in ‘Turkey: A vital player’, it seems that The Guardian is commending, rather than condemning, Ankara’s decision not to take seriously the accusations levelled against Omar al-Bashir.
Hat-tip a cross-post from Just Journalism at Harry's Place.