Sunday, August 07, 2016

The metaphor comes home

Remember the time when one might have assumed that Nazi comparisons would be used cautiously in once-Nazi countries? No longer:

Reuters -- Turkey's failed coup and President Tayyip Erdogan's subsequent purges of state institutions are reminiscent of the Reichstag fire in Nazi Germany and its use by Hitler to amass greater power, the head of Austria's far-right Freedom Party said. ... Austria's Freedom Party (FPO) leader Heinz-Christian Strache said he saw parallels in Erdogan's use of the July 15 coup by a faction within the Turkish armed forces to crack down on his opponents in the army, civil service, academia and the media.

Reuters -- The leader of Germany's liberal Free Democrats (FDP) likened Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's purge of state institutions to the actions of the Nazi party in the 1930s in comments published on Sunday. FDP leader Christian Lindner said he saw parallels between Erdogan's behavior and aftermath of the Reichstag fire in 1933 portrayed by the Nazis as a Communist plot against the government and used by Adolf Hitler to justify massively curtailing civil liberties. "We are experiencing a coup d'etat from above like in 1933 after the Reichstag fire. He is building an authoritarian regime tailored solely to himself," Lindner told the Bild am Sonntag.

In fairness to the two cases above, they were late to the Reichstag Fire narrative, which was circulating almost immediately after the coup in other sources. The mutual incomprehension in Turkish coup perspectives -- western officials believing it was staged, Turkish officials believing it was an American plot -- should have the foreign policy alarm bills ringing. But it's August, and no one would be around to hear them.

Incidentally, the first Reuters story above gives a good account of the "HS Gavur" phoney outrage.

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