Lindsay Lohan has taken to complex international politics in a big way recently, what with her Brexit rants and a recent visit to a refugee camp for displaced Syrians, where she was pictured wearing a headscarf.
Now, it emerges, she is a major fan of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After successfully putting down a coup attempt earlier this year, Turkey’s president has arrested, sacked, and imprisoned tens of thousands of public-sector workers, ordered the closure of thousands of private schools and charities, and stands accused of abandoning the rule of law in favor of an authoritarian crackdown that has involved holding hundreds of arrested soldiers naked in gyms.
In an extraordinary interview undertaken by Lohan on the Turkish TV network Haberturk—which is hugely pro-Erdogan and in 2013-14 barely covered the protests that rocked the nation—Lohan, with a glazed look, praised Erdogan, (who is now cozying up to Vladimir Putin) and described how she admires and respects him.
Demonstrating the wisdom of the old adage that Hollywood stars should stay out of international politics, Lohan told her interviewer that she first became interested in the refugee crisis, “When the coup happened, just seeing the whole country stand up for each other, that was really emotional for me, all these people in one place, that people were so afraid of, all supporting each other.”
It seems an extraordinary non-sequitur that a disputed and controversial coup attempt in Turkey could get one thinking about refugees in Syria, and there’s an atmosphere of nervousness pervading the studio as Lohan ploughs on. “Erdogan did really well and his people, really admiring and respecting him, as the first elected president. This is a big deal,” she said.
The lines appeared to have been suggested if not actually scripted (Lohan reveals inadvertently in this interview that perhaps she is not that great an actor after all).
Lohan, who was prominently displaying her bandaged finger that was nearly severed in one of her recent dramas, was using her fame to parrot propaganda for a foreign regime she clearly knows little about.
Presumably someone has convinced her this is in the service of a greater good; drawing attention to the plight of those in the refugee camps, presumably. At one point she says she hopes her visit “will awaken others to try and do something.”
It is ironic that in an interview in which she praises a president widely accused of dramatically restricting freedoms, Lohan criticizes the United States as a country where it is dangerous and frightening to express oneself because she received hostile comments after she was pictured carrying a copy of the Koran.
“I was going through a lot and close friends gave me a Koran and I brought it to New York with me, it opened doors for me spiritually,” Lohan explained. “This is just me walking with it.”
After the paparazzi took pictures without her knowledge, “they crucified me for it in America,” Lohan says. “They made me seem like Satan.
“I was a bad person for holding that Koran. I was so happy to leave and go back to London after that. Because I felt so unsafe in my own country after this. I mean, people were, like, horrible to me.
“Just because this is my belief, this is something I want to learn.”
Lohan adds that the experience has helped her “understand why the Turkish people are upset because they live in a beautiful place. I understand why women who wear headscarves are looked at differently because I felt like that.
“In Turkey you have free will as a woman, it’s amazing here, you can do what you want and it’s accepted, whereas I am in America and I am holding the Koran and I am the devil.”
Lohan wraps up by singing the praises of Turkey one more time, saying, “You have to acknowledge the good parts of a place that people think is so bad. They think it’s so dangerous. We are sitting in a very nice place so it’s time we start recognizing the truth and doing something.”