Erdogan

Trump’s Gobbler


cjones11182019

Remember that “tough guy” letter Donald Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan? In it, Trump warned him not to invade Syria and go after our Kurdish allies, whose Syrian Democratic Forces lost 11,000 fighters battling against the Islamic State alongside American troops. Trump’s spontaneous decision to withdraw American forces from the region opened up an opportunity for Erdogan to go after our allies, whom he considers terrorists. Trump, who bills himself and his followers claim is a tough guy, believed a letter warning Erdogan not to be a “tough guy” and that Trump could destroy his economy would prevent him from invading.

Yeah, he ignored the letter and invaded anyway. Did Trump destroy his economy? No. Tough guy Trump invited him to the White House where Erdogan handed the “tough guy” letter right back to Trump.

On top of the White House visit, Trump offered a new trade deal to Turkey that is designed to work around sanctions Congress plans to inflict upon that nation over their purchasing a missile defense system from Russia.

Wait a minute. Isn’t Turkey a member of NATO? Isn’t Russia an adversary to NATO and the United States? Why is Trump rewarding Erdogan for invading Syria, going after our Kurdish allies, and purchasing a weapons system from our adversary? Sanctions are mandated under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), aimed at those who purchase Russian defense equipment. Yet, the Trump administration is making excuses not to implement those against Trump’s buddy, Erdogan.

Erdogan is Trump’s kind of guy. He’s thrown journalists in prisons. He’s gone after people who criticize him. He’s set events in motion that will keep him in power for years beyond his term. He’s purged judges (the average law-practicing experience of a Turkish judge is now two years). He’s restricted the ability for political opposition to be elected to their legislative body. He even annulled an Istanbul mayoral election after the opposition party won. His authoritarian management style and cronyism within the ruling party have created a climate of fear that’s paralyzing dissent and democracy. To this, Trump says, “I’m a big fan.”

In Trump’s “tough guy” letter, he told Erdogan that Ferhat Abdi Sahin, a Turkish military leader, is “willing to negotiate with you, and he is willing to make concessions that they would never have made in the past.” Wednesday, Erdogan rejected that idea and said Adbi was a terrorist “instrumental in the killing of hundreds of Turkish civilians.”  He didn’t stop there.

Erdogan pulled out an iPad and showed Trump and the five Republican senators the White House invited a propaganda video. He was in the right place for propaganda videos. This video cast the Kurds in a bad light. According to sources present, the senators laid into Erdogan over his invasion, the Kurds, his purchase of Russian military equipment, and warned him there will be sanctions and denied the purchase of U.S. military jets (which put together with Russia’s equipment is a national security risk for us). Reportedly, Trump was mostly silent during the criticism. One source described it as “good cop/bad cop.” Later, Trump declared himself a “big fan” of Erdogan.

Trump is a big fan of people like Erdogan, Putin, Kim Jong Un, Xi Jinping, Rodrigo Duterte, Robert Kraft, etc.

When Trump sent his “tough guy” letter to Erdogan, professional journalists had to check with the White House to make sure it was real and they weren’t being pranked by The Onion. Its juvenile tone made it difficult to take seriously. Erdogan didn’t take it seriously. He authorized the invasion of Syria the same day he received the letter. To give it back to Trump, he had to fish it out of the trash can where he previously had disposed of it.

Trump claims he’s respected like no American president before him. His supporters think world leaders are afraid to cross him. Why would they be? After giving us nothing, North Korea just got a gift from Trump: A threat to increase the cost to South Korea of U.S. troop presence by nearly 500%. Putin attacks our country and Trump wants to invite him back to the G7 and go to a parade with him. He awards White House visits and military aid based upon a foreign country providing him with dirt on political opponents.

And yesterday, after threatening Erdogan not to be a “tough guy” and that he’ll destroy his economy, Trump gave him a pardon.

It was the first time in history a turkey has been pardoned by a poodle.

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You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

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The Magic Mikes


cjones10212019

Maybe I’m just naive and don’t understand diplomacy or foreign policy, but it seems to me if you’re going to have a successful ceasefire, then both sides have to agree on the definition of “ceasefire.”

Donald Trump, the self-described “stable genius” and “great negotiator” with “unmatched wisdom,” sent sycophant Mike One and sycophant Mike Two to Turkey to negotiate an agreement with President Recep Erdogan to stop killing Kurds. Pompeo and Pence emerged after a nine-hour negotiation with Erdogan that Turkey has agreed to stop killing Kurds for five days to give them time to leave a 20-mile “safe zone,” and that the Kurds must surrender their heavy weaponry and fortifications. What the Kurds get out of this is that they have five days to run before Turkey shoots them in the back while they’re running.

Reuters is reporting that the border is calm at this time, but within the first 24 hours, shelling and airstrikes against the Kurds continued. Erdogan blamed the Kurds though independent reporters and observers reported airstrikes and shelling coming from Turkey. But, Donald Trump backed Erdogan in blaming the Kurds. In fact, despite the “tough guy” letter Trump sent to Erdogan, he’s adopted the Turkish tyrant’s language when talking about the Kurds.

Erdogan has described the Kurds as terrorists and Trump has parroted that Turkey is fighting terrorism in Syria. Erdogan has claimed ISIS prisoners are being released intentionally by the Kurds, and Trump has echoed that. Erdogan claims the PKK, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, is a greater threat than Isis. Right on cue, Trump has made the same claim.

He’s taking Vladimir Putin’s talking points also in saying Russia is fighting ISIS when in reality, they’ve spent most of their time in Syria fighting rebels, often backed by the U.S., who are fighting Syria’s dictator Bashar Assad. This is Trump’s defense of giving Russia more clout in the Middle East while reducing the United States’. As Nancy Pelosi told him to this face earlier this week, “all roads lead to Putin.”

Trump started the Turkish invasion by pulling U.S. forces out of Syria on a whim after a phone call with Erdogan. Within hours, Turkey was invading Syria and targeting Kurdish fighters previously supported by the U.S. Donald Trump believes he’s solved a crisis he created.

The groups fighting in Syria now are Assad’s forces, the Kurds, Turkey, Russia, and Iran. Trump’s pullout is a win for each of them except the Kurds. At one of his hate rallies in Texas, Trump compared the fight to kids in a schoolyard and said, “Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while.” He also said he had given the Turks and Kurds a lesson in “tough love.” Hopefully, it didn’t involve a copy of Forbes Magazine with Ivanka on the cover which he’ll have to pay hush money to keep silent about later. Trump also claimed the Kurds are “very happy about the way things are going” and that the U.S. has “taken control of the oil in the Middle East.” Nobody understands what he meant by any of that.

Kids in a schoolyard fighting can’t be compared to an actual war where lives are lost and a refugee crisis is created. If the Kurds are “happy,” they’re not aware of it yet. And the oil, what the fuck? Trump’s comments are further evidence he needs to be removed from office.

Right now, every nation that wants to take advantage of the United States, friends and foes, needs to negotiate with Donald Trump. His negotiations with North Korea gave the U.S. nothing in return for legitimizing Kim’s regime and a cease in U.S. military preparedness on the Korean peninsula. His negotiations with Nancy Pelosi got him nothing when he started with something. His deal with Erdogan has given Turkey, Russia, and Iran everything, and even Assad a little something, but nothing for the Kurds or the U.S. If Iran was smart, they’d renegotiate the nuclear agreement with Trump, get clearance to build nuclear weapons, and maybe get a few Trump condos thrown into the deal.

Donald Trump is an idiot and he sent two idiots, Mike and Mike, to Turkey to wash Erdogan’s car. My question is, what else of Erdogan’s did they wash?

Support the cartoonist.

You can help me continue to create cartoons, blogs, and videos by making a contribution. All support, large and small, is greatly appreciated. You can also support me by purchasing a signed print (8 1/2×11) for $40, or a signed poster (18×24) for $100 by clicking the PayPal button (just include a note if you’re purchasing a print). If you want to support but don’t want to use PayPal, you can send a contribution through the mail (address is on the contact page. Again, include a note for a print). I don’t plan on going anywhere and your support will help guarantee that. Whether you support, can’t. or just choose not to, please know that I am truly thankful that you visit my site and read my work.

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

Watch me draw.

Friends In Low Places


cjones05062017

Donald Trump has a thing for fascists, strongmen, bullies, and just all-around terrible people. He gets hot flashes over Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. He calls Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to congratulate him on his recent power grab. He held a reception for Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt who gained power through a coup. He said he’d be “honored to meet with Kim Jong Un.” In the past Trump has even praised Saddam Hussein. Now he’s invited an admitted killer, Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. This is almost as bad as the time he let Sarah Palin, Kid Rock, and Ted Nugent in to use the plumbing.

Trump is set to talk to Putin tomorrow. I’m sure it’ll be a gushing phone call and will go very well as Trump only hangs up on leaders of Democratic nations, like Australia. Trump can’t bring himself to say anything negative about Putin. Stifle liberty and expand oppression? Just fine. Invade a neighboring nation? Hunky dory. Eliminate press freedoms and prosecute journalists and girl punk bands? Sure why not? Assassinate political enemies and critics? Interesting. Hack into Trump’s political opponent and meddle in U.S. elections to destroy confidence in our system and install a racist, narcissistic, unqualified Cheeto potentate into the Oval Office? Fake news!

Erdogan just made a power grab with some shady election tactics of his own. The man has also imprisoned journalists. Trump probably admires such tactics as he’s talking about changing our nation’s libel laws so newspapers will stop pointing out when he’s a hypocrite, lying, breaking campaign promises, lying, engaging in nepotism, lying, flouting conflicts of interest, lying, golfing too much, or when he’s lying. Did I mention lying? Of course changing our libel laws means changing the Constitution. It’s funny how these self-described “Constitutionalists” are so protective over that Second Amendment thing, but the rest of those amendments, meh.

Trump has hosted Egypt’s el-Sisi at the White House, who was previously barred during President Obama’s term for staging a coup and arresting thousands of political dissidents.

It got weird when Trump said he’s willing to meet with Jong Un under the right circumstances. That means there has to be chocolate cake and meatloaf. Speaking of tasty treats, he said Jong Un is a “smart cookie” for being a young man who has held onto power. You know, by killing people like his Uncle. Congratulations! Perhaps the two can have a sleep over and exchange hair tips.

Rodrigo Duterte is a fine piece of work. He really takes the cake. This is a man who as mayor allowed death squads to roam his city and kill freely for two decades. Their targets were drug users and low-level criminals, though they often also hit bystanders, children, and political opponents.

After his election to the presidency Duterte took his killing nationwide by allowing police and vigilantes to kill at their leisure. The man has even boasted about personally murdering three kidnappers who were denied a trial.

It’s become so bad that a Filipino lawyer has asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of nearly 10,000 people over the past three decades.

On top of all that, Duterte called Obama the “son of a whore” because he didn’t like our former president criticizing his murder spree, which also includes journalists. It’s also frightening that Trump has praised Duterte’s high approval ratings.

He won’t have to worry about receiving that sort of criticism from Trump because our new president enjoys hanging around despicable people. Have you seen Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller? These are the kind of guys who would have to use someone else’s photo if they were to join Match.com. Icky individuals needs love too. Maybe there’s a dating site called ClammyLove.com.

Donald Trump is giving legitimacy to wretched regimes of the likes of Duterte, el-Sisi, Putin, Erdogan, Jong Un, and Andrew Jackson. It’s a shame that we have a president with low standards for so many things.

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Travesty For Turks


cjones04212017

Many years ago the most disturbing thing that disturbed me about the nation of Turkey was the squat toilet which is, or was, common there. Basically, it’s a hole in the floor that you flush. But instead of sitting while you poop, you squat over it.

Turkish President ­Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just squatted over his entire nation and didn’t even have the courtesy to flush.

To understand the drama playing out in Turkey we need to refer to Star Wars, Episode III. Everything in life can be explained through either Star Wars or an episode of Seinfeld. It’s true, but the closest analogy I can think of from Seinfeld to describe Erdogan is the Soup Nazi. No democracy for you!

In Episode III of Star Wars, Revenge Of The Sith, Chancellor Palpatine uses a war to increase his power, abolish his term limits, and eventually forces his opposition to attempt a coup, which he then uses as his reasoning to kill democracy and install an empire and declares himself emperor. Twenty years later in Episode IV, A New Hope, he abolishes the senate and tells them to take a hike. It was Jar Jar in Episode II who got the whole tyrant ball rolling by proposing executive powers for the chancellor, but we’ll bitch about that annoying Gungan another time.

Turkey is embroiled in an armed conflict with Kurds, the Syrian Civil war, and experienced a failed attempt at a military coup last July that many are skeptical over. Erdogan has used the coup to increase his power and imprison many of his critics. 40,000 people were detained after the coup, including 10,000 soldiers. Without giving specific reasons, 2,745 judges were also detained. 15,000 educators were suspended and the licenses of 21,000 teachers working at private institutions were revoked. Over 100,000 people have been purged. Erdogan blamed the coup on his opposition, the Gulen Movement, and labeled them a terrorist organization (which Palpatine did to the Jedi) and their leader now lives in exile in Pennsylvania which is the equivalent of Dagobah and Tatooine as there’s nothing to do in any of those places.

Erdogan also used the coup for an emergency referendum held last Sunday that would increase his power and effectively eliminate democracy in Turkey. The eighteen amendments to the Turkish constitution passed on a 51-48% vote.

The proponents for the measures were able to use government resources and funding to stage rallies and support for a yes vote. Critics were suppressed including press coverage, with many being assaulted. International election monitors claim there were a lot of illegal votes, maybe millions.

With the changes the president becomes the head of state and government. It abolishes the prime minister and increases members of parliament, who now need an absolute majority (301 out of 600)  to override a presidential veto, or give him what he wants. The president now has the power to appoint and sack ministers and the vice president. The president no longer has to terminate his party membership (which was a requirement). The president has expanded powers to appoint judges and prosecutors. Perhaps the most significant detail out of this is that Term limits for the presidency will be reset and, if Erdogan wins elections in 2019 and 2024, he could be in power until 2029.

Erdogan said anyone who voted no is a terrorist and that international election monitors need to “know their place.” He plans to use his new powers to reinstate the death penalty which will also prevent Turkey from joining the European Union.

If Erdogan has a majority in Parliament, and he does, he can do whatever he wants. He has effectively become a dictator and democracy has died in Turkey. Donald Trump called Erdogan to offer his congratulations.

Of course I’m really bothered by the prosecution of journalists which includes cartoonists Bahadir Baruter and Ozer Aydogan, who both were recently convicted and will serve nearly a year in prison for doing what I do, making fun of the president. While both cartoonists declared their innocence, I’m guilty as hell of those charges. Ask my clients. In addition to those charges, Baruter faces further prosecution for insulting the prosecutor, who I’ve been told by reliable sources is a dick.

We can add the Turkish Referendum to the list of recent scary and freakish election results such as Brexit and Donald Trump. France is next in line. There’s a rise in the West of those who want to elect tyrants, decrease Democracy and silence criticism.

People like Trump and Erdogan try to silence and delegitimize their critics and tell them to be quiet. I’m not good at being quiet and I hope you’re not either.

We have a responsibility to be very noisy right now.

Want to help me continue to create cartoons and keep doing what I’m doing? Look to the right of this page and make a donation through Paypal. Your support contributes to my work and continued existence. The starving cartoonist appreciates it. If you’ve donated in the past, THANK YOU!!!

Want a signed copy of this cartoon? Donate at least $50 and I’ll ship it to you. Make sure to mention in the note with your donation which cartoon you want along with the mailing address you need it shipped to. If it’s a gift, make sure to mention the recipient’s name so I can make it out to them.