Erdoğan won’t return Gaddafi human rights prize

The Turkish website Today’s Zaman reports:

In response to growing calls from Turkish society on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to return the Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights he received last year, the Prime Ministry said yesterday that “returning the award is out of the question.”

As the growing anti-government unrest in Libya is met by the brutal response of security forces, Turkish civil society has begun calling on Erdoğan to give back the award in protest of the Gaddafi violence in Libya, a demand that was rejected by the Prime Ministry in a statement released yesterday. The refusal to return the award may be linked to the safety of thousands of Turks in Libya who still expect to be evacuated.

As we’ve noted, the 2004 recipient of the coveted prize was Venezuelan caudillo Hugo Chavez– who, I would guess, will only relinquish it (to paraphrase the National Rifle Association’s bumper sticker) when they pry it from his cold, dead hands.

The main [Turkish] opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) also commented on Erdoğan’s silence regarding the Libyan uprising yesterday and argued that “Erdoğan is doing what the award requires.”