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The terrorist at the hotel

When we thought we had seen everything, the Turkish authorities began to swing to new heights.


Recently, the annual Munich Security Conference was launched. It has been organized since 1963, gathers hordes of celebrities and is considered by many to be the most significant thought for security policy issues in the world. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım participated with a larger delegation, and happened to be staying at the same hotel as German politician Cem Özdemir of the Green Party, a very well-formulated critic of Erdogan's regime and also the first German federal representative of Turkish descent. Özdemir's position in German politics is made clear by the fact that he was a candidate for the post of Foreign Minister in the coalition negotiations between CDU, FDP and the Greens after last year's election.

Security and cooperation. This man's mere presence at the conference struck the Turkish delegation so heavily to the chest that they went out and called Özdemir "terrorist", further stating that they felt uncomfortable staying in the same hotel as such. Özdemir, in turn, experienced the behavior of the Turkish security guards as so threatening that he was granted police protection by German authorities. Turkish security guards are known to be rabid: In May last year, during a meeting between Erdoğan and Trump in Washington, they attacked a peaceful Kurdish demonstration and smashed them so seriously that ten people had to go to hospital.

You no longer need the power of the word to lead a nation. Blink out the enemy and dismiss everything else as fake news.

Police protection is a serious matter and nothing the Germans throw at anyone who comes wobbling and claims he is threatened. Such protection is the result of a thorough safety assessment, and in this case the initiative came from the police. Furthermore, Özdemir was advised not to take his meals outside the hotel room, but refused.

Thus, the appearance took place in Munich, at a high-profile international conference on security and cooperation in the world. The incident has received little attention from Norwegian media – they have probably had more than enough to sort Olympic medals. But what would have happened if a similar event had taken place at a conference in Norway? That the security guards of a foreign nation had threatened a Norwegian party leader with a shame bank in the backyard?

Words versus muscles.
Threats and filth are part of the political game. The new thing in this case is that a country's delegation behaves aggressively towards a delegate at an international conference on neutral grounds – attending a security conference. You simply bring a mob and threaten with beating. What kind of behavior is this? It is the result of a line of thinking that states that arguments are unimportant; it is muscles that count. You no longer need the power of the word to lead a nation. Blink out the enemy and dismiss everything else as fake news. And when they can behave like that on neutral grounds, what are they not capable of at home, without the oversight of international press?

A news image is one of the best places to study the relationship between perceived proximity and distance; as to who, what is us and who are the others. I think we would have received some cover in Norwegian newspapers if this had happened at a conference center in Holmenkollåsen. But you never know – measured against a sparkling rain of lip creams and laurel wreaths, such events are likely to be small.
Mockery is a writer. Resides in Cologne.

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