FERRIER FILES: Middle Tennessee's Turkish community concerned about their country
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
When Turkish president Recep Erdogan came crashing down on journalists, including a military takeover of the biggest TV network in Turkey, it was just the beginning.
“First it was journalists, slowly it became anyone and everyone criticizing the government, " Akarcesme said. "Then they were accused of treason, even terrorist activity. It is so easy to be labeled a terrorist in Turkey. Judges, lawyers, academics. It is a nightmare. That's why I can't recognize my country anymore."
U.S.-Turkey relations hit an all-time low this year, so did Turkish-European relations, but not for civil rights violations.
Erdogan called Europe fascist , racist, and cruel and even arrested some American diplomats.
Immediately, both countries responded with travel restrictions. Some of those were eased as the new year began.
But for Turks living in Nashville, they wish America would put more pressure on Erdogan to let innocent people out of jail.
“Never take freedom for granted, of course Turkey always had problems never a perfect democracy in my wildest dreams I would not have imagined this happening to me or my country,” Akarcesme said.