President Mary McAleese obviously made sure her documents were in order so that she could fit in a visit to yet another human rights blackspot in order that the regime there can somehow sanitise itself in the eyes of the international community by showing that at least one western country approves its human rights abuses.
Turkey does not deserve the stamp of approval that it is given when a president from a relatively well respected country is paraded in front of its TV cameras. Leave it to Ireland ... we manage to send our President to every human rights sinkhole in the world without qualms of conscience.
It seems like no time at all since our head of state was consorting with the Romanian regime, even getting an honorary degree from Cluj University as part of that particular package holiday.
What will she get this time, a doctorate in the oppression of minorities from the University of Istanbul?
Since her visit to Bucharest, the lot of disabled, mentally ill and ethnic minorities has not improved one iota in Romania. If anything, things are even worse now. Tens of thousands of disabled adults still languish in what are little more than concentration camps for the unwanted.
The regime doesn’t care; it has achieved recognition and respect all over Europe thanks to sanitising exercises like the visit of an Irish president.
Some day we may have a president who has the courage to say “no” when he or she is asked to visit a country that has no respect for human rights, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.
Focus on Romania