As the Arab world smolders, the world has pointed to nearby Turkey — secular, democratic, stable, prosperous — as a beacon by which an embattled region might readjust its confused geopolitical compass. So it is no small irony that, booming economy aside, Turkey is looking less like a futuristic role model and, increasingly, like a country that is more enamored of the authoritarianism that others are so passionately trying to shrug off.
Two of my friends were among the seven journalists who were arrested in an early-morning police roundup in Istanbul and Ankara this past week. Nedim Sener and Ahmet Sik are well-respected investigative reporters who have worked for leading publications in Turkey, and who have received international acclaim for their work documenting human-rights abuses. They were originally charged with “belonging to a terrorist organization and inciting the public to hatred,” according to their lawyers, though the incitement charge was later dropped. Both men deny the allegations against them. Both are still under detention.