February 22, 2011 Special Dispatch No. 3609

Turkish Opposition: Erdogan Received Gaddafi Human Rights Prize, Won't Criticize Libyan Massacres

February 22, 2011
Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 3609

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan receives Gaddafi human rights prize, December 1, 2010,

Erdogan receives prize. Hurriyet, Turkey, February 20, 2011In November 2010, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights from the Libyan leader. Following the recent unrest and massacres of protestors in Libya, the Turkish opposition is criticizing Erdogan for his silence on the events in Libya, attributing it to his receipt of the prize.

The Gaddafi award webpage, which is headlined "As the sun shines, for everyone, freedom is a right for everyone," states: "The Algaddafi International Prize for human rights is an international non-governmental Organization concerned with human and peoples rights without discrimination as for race, ethnicity, sex, colour, or religion. Its Headquarters is in Tripoli, Libyan Jamahiriya."

It continues: "The prize is awarded every year 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. [1]

The website notes that prize has also been awarded to Louis Farrakhan, Fidel Castro, and Hugo Chavez.[2]

Following is a report on the Erdogan's award ceremony; following that is a report, from the MEMRI Turkish Media Blog, about the current controversy over the prize in Turkey.

Be sure to visit the MEMRI Turkish Media Blog ( for breaking news and stories you will find nowhere else.

Todayszaman: "Erdoğan Receives Gaddafi Human Rights Award"

On December 1, 2010, the Turkish website reported: "In his speech during the award ceremony, Erdoğan said Islamophobia is a crime against humanity, adding that no one can attack things that are sacred to Muslims using freedom of expression as an excuse.

"'Muslims come from a tradition that regards antisemitism as a crime against humanity,' the prime minister said.

"Erdoğan added that he will continue to bravely protect the 'truth,' adding that everyone is equal when it comes to justice. He said the prize he received will strengthen and support his struggle for human rights.

"Speaking with reporters after receiving the award late on Monday, Erdoğan said he discussed relations between Libya and Turkey while meeting with Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, adding that there is much Turkish investment in the Arab country and that ties between the two countries are growing." [3]

"Turkish Opposition Criticizes PM Erdogan for His Silence on Libya and For Holding Gaddafi Prize"

On February 21, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported: "The main opposition (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, as well as some mainstream media columnists, criticized the Turkish prime minister for being silent on the violence in Libya, attributing it to an award he received from the Libyan leader Mu'ammar Gaddafi.

"They said that Erdogan had made multiple harsh statements during the protests in Egypt, telling Mubarak to listen to the demands of his people, and that his silence now, in face of the violence against protesters in Libya, was telling.

"In November 2010, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received the Qaddafi International Prize for Human Rights from the Libyan leader in Istanbul.

"Kilicdaroglu also expressed his support for the ongoing protests in Libya and said repression should not be allowed anywhere in the world.'We believe that Libyans need democracy, human rights and equality,' he said. 'Our hearts are with democrats and libertarians. We support them.'

"Later today the prime minister’s office made a statement that the Gaddafi prize would not be returned."[4]

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