Media Arrests Lead To AKP-Gülen Power Struggle?

Gareth Jenkins writes about the arrests of journalists critical of the Gülen movement as part of a larger power struggle between PM Erdogan and the Gülen movement. He suggests that the Gülenists, through their influence in the security forces and courts, have shut down any critical media voices by accusing them of belonging to a terrorist organization  – Ergenekon, which originally had been construed as a series of coup plots against the AKP government by rogue elements of the “deep state”, but has since taken on the characteristics of a witch hunt (my term) against anyone critical of the Gülen movement.

This has tarnished not only the Ergenekon case (which Jenkins claims was already plagued by faulty evidence), but also embarrassed the AKP which is entering a new election in June on a platform of democracy and freedom of expression. The blatant arrests have led to mounting international criticism. Jenkins sees the recent removal of the Ergenekon chief prosecutor Zekeriya Öz as an opening salvo in Erdogan’s attempt to reassert power. Jenkins also points to a split within AKP: PM Erdogan (who belongs to the Naqshbandi Sufi order) wishes to change to a presidential system in which he can become president, while President Gül (who Jenkins says has the support of the Gülen movement) opposes this move. (click here for the full article; thanks, Hans, for bringing it to my attention.)

64 Responses to “Media Arrests Lead To AKP-Gülen Power Struggle?”

  1. The influence of the deep state has declined rapidly since the late 1990s. Today, only scattered remnants remain.
    How do we know this? It isn’t like it was convincingly exposed or anything. We don’t even know if there is one such organization or more than one. That there hasn’t a been a high profile assassination [with the signature inability/unwillingness to investigate/prosecute] in the past few years doesn’t mean these forces have lost their influence.
    In fact, it may well be argued that the recent and rapid deterioration of the Gulenists’ image was engineered by something ‘deep’ and Gulen’s organization was snookered into the situation they now find themselves in. I am not saying it was, but am using this as an example to show that given this much non-transparency and ineffective/nonsensical behaviour by the visible, legitimate authorities, it is easy to argue that the ‘depth’ remains and is as healthy as ever.

  2. Hahaha, Berlinski says this:
    When I submitted the first draft of this piece about the arrest of Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık to City Journal, their (extraordinarily good) editors returned it to me. They tactfully asked me to rewrite it because they could make no sense of it. What, they asked me, was real, and what was parody?
    About this:
    I think it takes a while for people to get properly Turkified and think in terms of possible conspiracies to the point where they can write them down in a matter of fact manner. This may be happening to her w/o her realizing it.

  3. The chairman of Taraf’s House of Anti-Ergenekon Activities, Yildiray Ogur, must be hard at work crafting a new attack piece:

  4. I think it takes a while for people to get properly Turkified and think in terms of possible conspiracies to the point where they can write them down in a matter of fact manner. This may be happening to her w/o her realizing it.

    I don’t know when Turkification begins –is it before or after one attains fluency in (and comprehension of) Turkish language and culture, but the latter can be more important most of the time.

    To better explain what I mean, take these two pieces of text. The original one (in Turkish) from Zaytung:

    “Hatay’a bağlı Fırnız yaylasından dün akşam saatlerinde şehir merkezine doğru yola çıkan genç çift, araçlarının arızalanması sonucu mahsur kaldıkları Amanos Dağı’ndan “cemaat kitabı” sayesinde kurtuldular. Yoğun kar yağışı altında saatlerce uğraşmalarına rağmen jandarma ve polis ekiplerine ulaşamayan çiftin yerleri bir yakınlarını arayarak “cemaatle ilgili kitap yazmayı düşünüyoruz” demelerinin hemen ardından tespit edilirken, bulundukları bölgeye terörle mücadele ekipleri tarafından operasyon düzenlendi.

    And here is the translated one (notice the differences in the bold parts):

    The couple was stranded on Amanos Mountain yesterday evening owing to a vehicle failure. Although the police and gendarmerie searched for them for hours in heavy snowfall, they were unable to locate them.

    Finally, the desperate couple decided to announce that they were in possession of a book about the Cemaat. As the battery on their cell phone threatened to flicker out, Gülcan Görenel called a former colleague, Sevilay Görkem, to say that she had been working for some time on a book called Dancing with the Imam. The book, she said, would bring some very important facts to light. Görenel hung up before her friend could reply and started waiting with her husband.

    I am not suprised that the City Journal editors didn’t get it: Berlinski had already murdered the joke long before she submitted the story.

    [I didn't bother to read the rest of her article.]

  5. CA, good catch. I’d already read the original Zaytung piece and must have skipped the English version. Thank you.
    I agree with your point about Turkish, of course. I wonder people have good developed methods to teach Turkish to (adult) speakers of English. Immersion [which does work for Turks in the US] may not quite work because the speakers of the kind of Turkish these people would need tend to speak reasonably good English.

  6. @Bulent. Why do I need to be ‘Turkified’ (as a matter of fact what the heck is ‘Turkish’) to understand ‘Turks’?

  7. Hans, call it sufficient acclimation and some non-superficial knowledge if you wish. At least enough language skills to, say, read an average novel and ‘get’ it to the extent an average but educated native is also essential. Otherwise the best one can hope for is writing travelogues or, as many seem to do, merely repeat what they are told by English-speaking Turks.
    Someone who’s Turkish, as far as I am concerned and at a gut level, is someone who speaks the language with a local (Turkey-wide) accent. People like Kurds in the West and other minorities are indistinguishable from me in that regard. Names don’t quite matter for me, probably because minorities were present in bigger numbers when I was growing up. Using ‘native’ or Turkian(?) (Turkiyeli) doesn’t change things for me, really. BTW, race doesn’t either. I once spent time in the Agean region with some (native) black people around. Felt unusual for a bit (I expect black people to speak English!), then it didn’t.

  8. CA, good catch. I’d already read the original Zaytung piece and had more or less skipped the English version. Thank you.
    I agree with your point about Turkish, of course. I wonder people have figured out good methods to teach Turkish to (adult) speakers of English. Immersion [which does work for Turks in the US] may not quite work because the users of the kind of Turkish these people would need tend to speak reasonably good English. Dunno.

  9. Hans,
    I can’t remember the name right now, but I think it was an medieval Arab traveler (ibn Batuta?) that mentions a ‘peculiar trait’ about the Turkic people. He says, it’s not race or religion that makes someone part of them; Turkic people consider anyone who speaks their language as one of them.
    I’d say it’s still largely that way.

  10. hans:

    please, no need to pull the academic benedict anderson/nation-is-a-construct attitude here. we all know “turkishness” is a twentieth-century concept (even though ottomans used “turk,” so did europeans, but turkification is a different matter altogether), it is problematic, yes yes, dozens of books have been written on the subject, and turkishness cannot indicate “ethinicity” (whatever ethnicity means) in the context of turkey since it would be essentializing all these diverse backgrounds.

    “turkifying” does not denote a patronizing, imperialist attitude here, but rather, seems to be used as an allegorical tool to make sense of the ridiculous system that dominates turkey that doesn’t make any sense to the rest of the world, simply because it actually doesn’t make sense. in that sense… does this make sense? no? see, that’s what i mean!

    as for the “The influence of the deep state has declined rapidly since the late 1990s. Today, only scattered remnants remain” — sorry, but this is incredibly reductive. “deep state” cannot be reduced to one party today. those who have “deep” powers still exist. we just are not that sure who, other than the lately-very-obvious ones, are part of it exactly.

  11. [...] Media Arrests Lead To AKP-Gülen Power Struggle? by Jenny White [...]

  12. Hah, look who’s here. Yes, Acracia, you got my intent exactly right. There seems to be this bizarre notion that if the T-word is mentioned at all then it must also come with a whole bunch of baggage.

  13. Acracia: I can follow you, in general.
    Two questions:
    a) a friend of my is living in Turkey since 1972, his wife is Turkish his children are Turks born and bred and don’t even speak the language of their father (Dutch). The guy speaks fluent Turkish but is considered a Yabanchi, even by his neighbors. Why?
    And why can he never be an elected council member, etc.?
    b) all: so I don’t have to be afraid of the Curse of Turan? (don’t Google it only but some ‘deeper research.))

    One remark: since you all three relate ‘knowing a culture to knowing the language’ you agree that Turks in general doesn’t know anything else than Turkeyi (knowing 0.2 languages PC whike Dutch know 3.6 foreign languages…))

    Personally: My French, Spanish and Italian is 100 x better than Turkish but I think that I know the Turks a little better than those Europeans.=!

  14. According to you three people (CA, Bülent and Acracia) I don’t know Turkey. Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong.
    But lets talk politics. From my opinion, if you understand a country politics, you understand a lot. So let me predict your 12 June Elections:
    AKP – 35-39% of the votes
    CHP – 29 – 33% of the votes
    MHP – 11 -15% of the votes
    BDP – 34 deputies (getting 8% of the votes)
    lets see after 12 June.
    In a couple of days O and I are heading for Miami, Panama and Columbia…and will check you later.)
    Btw, I quite smoking after 40 years on April no 1 (not a joke) I must be brighter now?.)

  15. Hans:

    Not at all. That’s not what I meant. I do not relate it to language, where did I mention this word? There is a miscommunication here. Because:

    1) You are talking about what people’s experiences are, and how they are considered insider/outsider to a cultural setting, which admittedly can lead to discrimination.

    This is a legitimate point. And yet, if you read what is happening in Turkey, leave aside people who immigrated to Turkey and who cannot be elected (actually, unless you are a citizen, where can you??): if he is a citizen, it is a problem. But I guess you didn’t follow what has been happening with the elections in Turkey: the Kurds have a representation in the parliament too, especially because of the minimum 10% votes of the electoral quota as a condition to enter the Parliament. And recently the candidacy of their independent candidates for being a deputy (because they cannot obtain 10% of the votes, this is how they enter the elections) has been annulled. So I guess, unless your question was a rhetorical question that sought to teach me a democracy lesson, there are so many wrongs that I don’t know where to start.

    2) “The curse of Turan”: I know very well what it means, thank you very much. But in order to see the curse of Turan in BM’s or CA’s comments, you need to be reading their comments from an angle that seeks to find such traces. I have been following this blog for a long time and I have not seen such a patronizing, imperialist attitude regarding Turkishness on their side?

    3) Language or experience within a culture is not to essentialize experience of being from somewhere. But why do anthropologists learn the language and use participant observant method to go and live in a place for years to analyze a cultural context?

    4) And yes, regarding understanding a milieu, many people can make sense of what is happening in a cultural context without necessarily being from there. BM’s propos, which he confirms above, denote a sarcasm that I could consider as nihilist, a position which at times I share, because what is actually happening in Turkey so much doesn’t make sense to many people that leave aside language or being from there, you need to share a what we can call humorously a discrepant mind set that one can label as Turkish in order to make sense of it.
    This is what I get from BM’s post. And I share the humor too; they have been posting articles from Zaytung–a kind of Turkish version of the Onion.

    This said, speaking of democracy, I can talk about many discrepancies across the world, including discrimination. But this is not our subject.

  16. Correction: I said the Kurds have representation in the Parliament too. What I meant is that the Kurds have a representation *problem* in the Parliament.

  17. BM:

    Long time no see. I have been following this blog for a while now. I was actually surprised to find out that you were writing in the other place when I first started to follow that one.

    Coming back to your post: At times, I feel like humor is hard to translate.

  18. What the hell is the curse of Turan?

  19. Acracia, even I don’t know how I ended up posting in PD&DR’s blog. It was probably due to either something I found obscene or a piece of misinformation that was trivial (ha!) to correct.
    It is interesting, though, how the some of the same attitudes are observable both here and there. Appeals to respected pundits, attempts at bullying by bringing up academic titles/positions are also observable here as are inane expressions of frustration/aggression through tenuous links and analogies[1]. So far we’ve not been able to bait anyone here into telling us how had they their IQ measured [2]. So there’s that. OTOH, we have provoked a committed holder of enlightenment values into providing us with ad copy for the secular priesthood called academia and tell us how lay people ought not even question their expertise.
    So this is also a fun place, perhaps you’ll consider posting more?
    [1] EG: Wouldn’t we also have to call ‘Turks in general’ ignorant about other countries? Boy do I felt so deflated when I read that — I wish I hadn’t claimed that an average guy, say, in a coffee house in Kirsehir was more knowledgeable about a place in Western Europe than a foreigner reporting about Turkey. Excellent retort, that — right out of the same highly convincing class of argument as ‘how about the Indians your people killed?’
    [2] Not for nothin’ and by-the-by it turns out to have been accidentally discovered to be very high when our modest e-pals elsewhere mention that, of course. I eagerly await stories to surface, in passing, about how some circumcision-man fainted when faced with the enormity of the task — after someone there mentions manliness.

  20. BM:

    This is really funny; I actually didn’t know you still followed the other blog?

    I have been following the posts here, although because of moderation, they are less fast–which, overall, is not a bad thing. There is more room for thinking that way.

    As for “intellectual” positions: the coin has two sides. I agree about the patronizing attitudes of certain academics, that turns into an expertise-boasting showcase. I must add that, on top of that, academia within itself has similar patriarchal dynamics in Turkey as well. There is a whole discussion culture based on putting people back to their place, fashionably labeled as “ayar vermek”. When meeting citizens of other countries, what I also do not appreciate is the very common tendency of people who try to teach me human rights without knowing who I am or what I do, simply essentializing my background thinking that I am Turkish, somehow with the urge to put me back to my place. Especially if the person in question is a journalist or an academic, I have less tolerance.

    As the blog entry above suggests, the Gülen movement is under increasing scrutiny in relation to Ergenekon cases. But what is sad, is that people, except a few such as Gareth Jenkins, decided to turn a blind eye to what was happening in Turkey in the name of “democracy.” This actually terrified me. It took Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık to be arrested for people to actually realize something has been going wrong. This has all to do with looking at these dynamics in a very reductive way, thinking that it was all a paranoia to think something was fishy. Anyhow, we still don’t know exactly what is going on. Did you read the Şık manuscript?

    On a different note, it does seem like you guys were giving a hard time to people here (I am saying this in a joking manner of course, and actually with a smile). If I ever have a blog, I would like for you all to inhabit it. It sounds like a lot of fun!

    Actually, both your description of some academic attitudes and your very funny footnote #2 reminded me of Vecihi, you know the infamous gym teacher in Hababam, who was so eager to display his expertise at the slightest provocation?

  21. Nihat: what this evokes is the legacy of the Turan which of course has many definitions with different histories. It can mean Turanism of the nineteenth century as pan-Turkism, Ziya Gökalp’s Kızıl Elma, or later, more fascistic attitudes in the twentieth century. Overall, the “great” ideal of the Turan today has the following implications: fascism, expansionist imperialist Turkist ideology, denying other identities to highlight Turkishness, etc.

    So, then, it becomes natural to call it a curse. Did I understand you correctly Hans? If I didn’t, then please correct. Although I really don’t know what else it might mean. You told me “no need to google,” so taking your word, I didn’t.

  22. ps: sorry for my gibberish-kind of last post to BM–i see that i accidentally cut paragraphs while pasting.

  23. Acracia, {I’ll quote out of order}
    This is really funny; I actually didn’t know you still followed the other blog?
    Occasionally I do. I mainly am curious about how the dynamic in the comments section is evolving.
    I agree about the patronizing attitudes of certain academics, that turns into an expertise-boasting showcase. I must add that, on top of that, academia within itself has similar patriarchal dynamics in Turkey as well.
    Yes, and the people used to be scared of these high civil servants. Nihat once linked to a Turkish professor’s blog and — surprise surprise — he was telling his commenters that he was making notes of their IPs and would sue. Lovely stuff. The attitudes of the academics involved in the KPSS scandal and more recently in the YGS one are also revealing. These people seem used to formally announce/say — demonstrable — falsehoods and get away with it (we are talking about a system founded by a plagiarist who used the judiciary to ensure he cannot be called that, y’know). Patriarchy or something like that might be the partial cause of these attitudes, yes. If it is, though, it would be with alcoholic fathers who used to wield big clubs that are now turning into jello. It isn’t just the officer corps whose immunity from scrutiny is beginning to get questioned, I think.
    There is a whole discussion culture based on putting people back to their place, fashionably labeled as “ayar vermek”.
    Yes. Again, there are several ways to look at it. It is perhaps a good thing for there to be mechanisms to put people in their place if they get unduly arrogant. If the “ayar” fails, the “ayarci” ends up finding out what the innards of a dog is really like (i.e. “itin ardina sokmak”). Perhaps one wants there to be what seems to be called a “guilt culture” where people just behave, but, if that’s not there, the mechanisms for — externally provided — shame aren’t all that objectionable.
    As the blog entry above suggests, the Gülen movement is under increasing scrutiny in relation to Ergenekon cases.
    I now fear the attitudes about the Gulen movement are going to swing the other way and innocent people will get hurt. I don’t know how likely that is, though.
    But what is sad, is that people, except a few such as Gareth Jenkins, decided to turn a blind eye to what was happening in Turkey in the name of “democracy.” This actually terrified me.
    I wasn’t really terrified but I was very surprised at the shallowness and apparent ignorance of the visible intellectuals and — supposedly enlightened — pundits. I don’t understand the mechanisms that give rise to this, but I would like to. It seemed to me that a bunch of English-speaking locals were very effective in taking a bunch of willing foreigners for a ride. Some of the ill-founded conceit that we can sometimes observe in the interaction/content here might give clues about just how this may have worked and what weakness on part of the Westerners may have facilitated it. Don’t know, really. The entire sub-culture is alien to me.
    When meeting citizens of other countries, what I also do not appreciate is the very common tendency of people who try to teach me human rights without knowing who I am or what I do, simply essentializing my background thinking that I am Turkish, somehow with the urge to put me back to my place.
    This had not happened to me at all (AFAIR) until I started talking to foreigners outside of tech fields and especially those who’d interacted with Turks (in those non-tech fields) before. I remember being amazed and going “WTF? This person expects this nonsense delivered with this attitude to convince anyone? [re: itin ardi] Perhaps he or she is curious about what might be inside a dog? Should I oblige?” Part of this is surely my bad manners and ill temper but not all — as you noticed we end up in ridiculous situations where even the need for good command of the local language is questioned.
    Anyhow, we still don’t know exactly what is going on. Did you read the Şık manuscript?
    No, I skimmed parts of a version of it. We know/knew much of what he seems to have compiled anyway. What was interesting to me was observing how little people know about the new mechanisms they are using. I saw people ‘authenticate’ (third hand) a file on a server they didn’t control for example. Very few mentioned checksums and such. No wonder, then, people talk about ‘proofs’ using digital data and remain credible.

  24. @Bulent; just talk much more with ‘foreigners’ one day you don’t see them as one.

    One thing must be said: if I open a Dutch magazine, a German newspaper or a Portuguese daily, I find so many ‘yabanchis’ writing there, only we don’t call them that. Turkey is in general obnoxious when it comes to people ‘not from their own blood’ freak show.

    @acracia: you can be elected everywhere in the modern world, even in Japan, if you are not born there; in the Netherlands we had a Min of Justice born and bred Turk (she also was at the same time adviser to your pres. Sezer and later Gül) We have in NL, as everywhere in Europe, MP’s are not born in Holland (8 MP are born and bred Turks) and we have ca 815 city council members, born and bred in Turkey….

    Regarding Gülen…when the guy is dead, the whole Gülem movement will fall apart or not?

    Regarding academia: as an American friend once pointed out: ‘I know many very clever Turks with PhD’s but if you speak with them outside their comfort zone (area expertise) they come with the most absurd theories. Do you recognize this? I do, especially for those hard-core kemalists.

    Regarding ‘curse of Turan’:
    non of above is in fact valid: ask a Hungarian face-to-face.
    He will say:
    The Curse of Turan is complete when:
    When we are in the following situation: No house, no food, no clothes but a Turk around.
    sounds terrible..or not?.))

  25. Hahaha! Assume at your own risk!

  26. @acracia:
    why do you think anthropologists are the ‘experts’ in foreign cultures?
    IMHO it are the cross-cultural or inetr-cultural communication experts. Just check Fons Trompenaars and Geert Hofstede (a anthropologist too, but more specialized in inter cultural communications)

  27. hans:

    being way too simplistic there: being a citizen doesn’t mean being born there. go back to my post and reread it: it says *citizen*–those who were not born there can be a citizen too. and i said, leave aside those who migrated there (which means who got the citizenship later) even those citizens born there have issues. and yes, this is a problem. so? what is your point?

    i can see that you are too eager to still give me a lesson, so sure, go ahead and do it.

    the “modern” world–a downright racist statement. but i have no time or intention to explain it, if you don’t understand why.

    re: academe: full of people who are supposedly learning how to think critically, but for some reason who cannot turn a self-reflexive eye to also consider their own identity–whether it is ideological, religious, gender, or national, etc. this is valid just everywhere. next time you see your friends, just ask what they mean by kemalist though? “kemalist” is used as a blanket term and treats a group of people as if they are homogeneous. the reason why this group is treated as such is also largely due to bad academic categorization skills: sweeping everybody under the same carpet is just too convenient. it is a categorization problem that i find too simplistic. this is another complaint i have about us (academics).

    this said: the curse of turan and the hungarians–wow. i am struck by the “depth” of that statement. and even more struck by your own “intellectual depth” in bringing that here. kudos.

  28. bm:

    i wanted to give you a more elaborate answer, but part of the reason my statements were so chopped off was because i cut off sentences accidentally.
    . (now i know why you put the dots)
    overall, what i was trying to say is that not only academics but in general, those who are put under the category of “intellectual” have such problems. and what i meant by the coin has two sides is this: i believe many such intellectuals fail to communicate their concerns to the public when they write in newspapers, etc. what comes across is a patronizing attitude, that is true. and in spite of all the critical tools, the field is also patriarchal, that is also true. and yet, it is also true that many scholars are attacked by the public when they are trying to open new spaces for articulation. remember the armenian conference in istanbul in the mid 2000s? people were thrown eggs and tomatoes by the public, simply because the public didn’t want to hear the g-word.
    this is what i meant by the coin has two sides, but actually you’re right, it has multiple sides. this said, there is nothing wrong with putting somebody back to his/her place. and i completely agree with shame being a useful and necessary tool to work as a control mechanism for knowing one’s place. this is i think a good checks and balances tool.
    and of course, i also do not appreciate people turning me into an ethnographic subject/object and asking me what “my people” think about this or that, or trying to teach me a lesson with a “holier-than-thou” attitude simply based on my nationality without knowing who i am or what i do. this is nothing peculiar to any group but simply something that happens. this year i am visiting another city, and the situation is no different here than elsewhere.
    this said, while it is possible to talk about these dynamics within a larger context, within the context of turkey, there might be other idiosyncrasies emerging from local dynamics, local university systems, etc. i haven’t seen the link to that site where the prof was threatening people with suing, but remember that some profs are also threatened by people who do not like their positions (such as the armenian conference for example). also remember from our youth how profs were also assassinated. so, i haven’t seen that website, but this is what first came to my mind when i read your lines.
    it is therefore also not right to homogenize academics.
    some fun trivia: check the name andreas mockus, the former mayor of bogota, colombia (he also ran for presidency but didn’t get elected). i had heard somewhere that one of the things he was considering to control the traffic was to appeal to the feelings of shame: supposedly, when somebody would not comply with the traffic rules, there would be people standing on the side of the road to laugh at them. i didn’t check, but this might actually be true, since i read other funny things he was trying to implement. mockus was a former professor of philosophy.
    so, along with metaphorical-standings like that of caricaturized vecihis, that stands for an educator who boasts but had little to offer other than that, there are others like mockus–this is a wide range of spectrum.
    finally: regarding the gulent movement–it is hard to know what is going on currently. we probably will learn somethings sometime soon; no movement can be this big and not have alternative voices emerging from within. i am also concerned about all those people who are lovely and are part of the movement for different reasons: i sincerely hope nothing as what you predict happens. this said, if true, and it does seem to be true, what has been happening in the police organization is very unpleasant to say the least. this brings me back to the book: yes, I think the whole fuss is about the cumulative effect of all those facts or details spread here and there (the media, police reports, public records, etc) brought together within the body of a whole book. as you said, i don’t think he says too much that is new, but when he brings all these bits and pieces together, the impact is pretty convincing.
    so… while the bigger picture is still missing, what little we know points at very problematic practices. we’ll have to wait and watch to see what happens.

  29. Hans:

    I really have a lot to do, and even though I have no intention to “bulaşmak” to this blog (roughly meaning to regularly engage for those
    who don’t speak Turkish), but I just saw “not being from one’s blood freak show”:

    Blood is a dangerous concept to think about identity. I thought it was problematic to use? Anyhow. Well, unfortunately, there are implications of such conceptualizations of identity in Turkey. That is absolutely right. But, the variables you are looking into (being able to write in a newspaper, being called “yabancı,” being able to be elected, etc) have serious shortcomings.
    (And your categorization of countries reveals your underlying attitude, but that is a whole other topic.)
    Here is why: in almost everywhere in the EU, parties ranging from the right-wing xenophobic to straightforward racism have been elected. I expect for Spain and Greece to follow this pattern as well. And? Comparison is a great tool when done correctly. If it is done rhetorically, with a “developed Western model” in mind, it will fall apart with its being so shallow in perspective. This is not to retort to “look-at -these-European-contexts-first-so-that-you-can-talk-about-these-other-Turkish-contexts” rhetoric. This is simply to tell you that if you are going to display some arrogance and pull problematic comparisons, at least get your variables straight so that what might be a valid criticism does not get lost in a “holier-than-thou” rhetoric, which, yes, is racist because it is essentialist.

  30. The snippet at the end, about the split in the AKP, presidency stuff- this possibly answers a question that has been puzzling me for months? where has Abdullah Gul gone? apart from a pr shot from Africa, he has vanished from public eye…

  31. Hans,

    According to you three people (CA, Bülent and Acracia) I don’t know Turkey.

    I, for one, never claimed you didn’t know Turkey. Obviously, you know more than most ‘yabanci’s :)
    But, unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not enough.

    Maybe you are right, maybe you are wrong.
    But lets talk politics. From my opinion, if you understand a country politics, you understand a lot. So let me predict your 12 June Elections:

    As a ‘yabanci’ ;) you’re more likely to predict it than the aborigines.
    There’s a simple reason for that: You are more likely to observe things more objectively than those aborigines (that’s us, BTW :) ) who are part of the process.
    But, being able to calculate/predict the trajectory (or the region of landing) does not mean you fully understand what goes on inside the very process, does it?
    If it did, everyone who knew how to apply Newton’s laws of motion would be called rocket scientist –or even the rocket itself–; wouldn’t they ;)

    Btw, I quite smoking after 40 years on April no 1 (not a joke) I must be brighter now?.)

    It wasn’t the smoking, silly.. you need to quit coffee ;)

  32. Acracia, Hans,
    I think you’re both overloading the term ‘Turan’ way too much.
    It is –at best– a nostalgic name for something that never existed.
    That ‘never existed’ includes things like global power and glory and perfect unity at an undefined time and place in the past.
    To call it a curse by looking at the deeds of those who pursued it is no less than unfair.
    I mean, by looking at what happened in Iraq, are we going to call it ‘The Curse of Democracy’?..

  33. Hans,

    a) a friend of my is living in Turkey since 1972, his wife is Turkish his children are Turks born and bred and don’t even speak the language of their father (Dutch). The guy speaks fluent Turkish but is considered a Yabanchi, even by his neighbors. Why?

    I won’t give you a comprehensive explanation; but an anecdote that may help.
    A friend of mine, who was herself a Turk born in Izmir, Turkey, spent her youth (till about 16) there until she finished ‘Lise’, then went to the US to study further. Having graduated, she worked there till she was 28; then returned to TR.
    When she returned, her Turkish wasn’t at all different from ours. She didn’t dress up any different from the rest of us.
    But, when we went to places like ‘Kapali Carsi’ or such, the peddlers always singled her out as a ‘tourist’ (IOW a ‘yabanci’) and addressed her in English.
    This went on for quite a while (more than a year), and was a minor irritation for her.
    Then, I decided to tell her the secret of being a ‘Turkified’: “Try not to appear as if you’re seeing something new. Don’t actively observe. Just walk along as if you’re bored to see all of it over and over again”.
    That did the trick –no one ever treated her as if she were a ‘yabanci’ again.
    I think the gist of this story is this: When you consciously observe things, your body language gives away that you’re a ‘yabanci’. And, this is true everywhere (and for everyone).
    I vaguely remember (as it was just after the time Moses set out to go to the mountain) how ‘yabanci’ I was when I first came to Istanbul — and, you could tell from a mile that I was so, even though the whole city was itself inhabited by all sorts of ‘yabanci’s.
    Now, years later, it’s my turn to point out and call other people ‘yabanci’s.. :)

  34. Hmm. Here’s an American reacting like I expected Americans here in Turkey to react. I quote from here:
    But to my American eyes, the list offers a window into what looks like a frightening campaign against free speech by a public figure.
    The list linked from there include judgements barring people from associating FEM and Fatih U. with Gulen alongside a ban of at least one book. I hadn’t seen that list before, but I do remember being somewhat surprised (Nihat might remember this) that many Americans opining about Turkey had very little understanding of what the first amendment does for them back home.

  35. Speaking of ‘The Curse of Democracy’, here is a well written (IMO) article by a Cameroonian on why Libya had to suffer what it is suffering: Why the West Wants the Fall of Gaddafi?

  36. Acracia, thank you for the reply, I think I understand and we can pick this back up at some other place some other time. At that point you can give me grief for not warning you about the local rep. of the modern (advanced?) world — just wanted to see how long it’d take you to truly appreciate the depth and intellectual prowess on offer.

  37. CA:

    there are as many definitions as there are perspectives; i agree. i was simply stating some implications of turan in academic circles.


    we will, i am sure. although i have been following this blog for a while, mostly because it really was fun, i admit after i got into the other one, i didn’t have much time, so yes, you can say that i did discover the “depth” on my own. i would have loved to hang out more here and post messages regularly, but as you know, there is a little thing: ben kisa yazamiyorum, bulent bey.
    so, maybe from time to time you will hang out in the other place? [i forgot to ask what you thought about the "comments" dynamics now. anyway, maybe when you have time, another time].

  38. Acracia, there are several problems with posting in the other place I’ll just jot them down in vague form along with other stuff (please don’t think you have to sink time into a response due to the volume produced — I am just blurting things out):
    – Since we got confirmation that our glorious state is holding on to its glorious ways and is rounding up and jailing people for what they say and how they say it, CA and YO (who also occasionally posts here) started getting worried about my presence there. While I am not too worried, I cannot make a convincing case to them that it is ‘safe.’ Very annoying. So it is just me yielding to ‘net pressure, but it is pressure of the kind that is hard to argue against.
    – The kind of audience there (ie folks whose loved ones are in jail, or those who got picked up and locked up before) gives one a feeling of impropriety when clowning around or nit-picking or, even when arguing that many people might really belong in jail. You may remember this feeling from the late ’80s when the first sets of ‘broken people’ began to emerge from custody. Sometimes one wanted to say that it was a very bad idea to pull kids into some ‘revolutionary’ movement and get them into a spiral of violence, but with people who’d been tortured/jailed for it around you, you felt restrained. The state’s behaviour in such things can be so extreme that ordinary people bite their lips and shut up even when — in some fashion — they agree with the direction the state decided to take. If we had a fraction of what people pay lip service to and act as though we have (such as due process, rule of law and treatment of suspects with some dignity) it’d be far easier. (Of course even observing this probably puts one in the territory of 301 and its friends. Lovely, isn’t it? Then there are people who’ll claim ‘everywhere on earth’ speech is interfered with like this…)
    – I think the approaches in the comments there kept evolving in directions that were almost observable before. This is merely a confirmation of the feeling I had w/o much data (note that I am not immune to confirmation bias myself, of course). The attempts to establish and argue from a point of authority seem to have gotten to the point where they look ridiculous (thus we get IQ stories even). What used to be mere shoving between holders of various beliefs seem to have led to entrenched positions (ie trench warfare where you just throw stuff without taking or yielding any territory let alone building something together). I personally have wondered for a long time what would happen when ordinary people hit the ‘net — especially in the Turkish context — and hoped that perhaps we’d be able to see/find cultural/technical mechanisms that would, in some sense, help with convergence to or acceptance of a common set of facts that correspond to reality[1]. We’re seeing how that process doesn’t exist yet. People learn more about each other’s failings and manners than the actual issues at hand (at least I did). This is very interesting but I lack the conceptual toolbox (even if one exists) to get a refined sense and a manageable/clean conceptualization of what I think is observable.
    [1] You see what people say about things that happened within our lifetimes. Patently false, perhaps deliberately manipulated stuff gain currency/credence. How? I’m not quite sure how but I am almost sure that many of the visible and highly praised intellectuals are, by now, so turned around that they cannot be trusted to tell the time of day even. This should also tell us a thing or two about the processes that push such people to prominence.

  39. I am really sorry guys, but you expect me to read for 1 hour your patronizing blahblah?.)

    Second:: the rules of an ordinary blog of an ordinary idiot like me:
    KISS (Keep it Stupid Simple)
    @Arcacia: I can hear your breathing while you put your fingers on the key board, screaming for oxyden!
    In fact: the three of your are so busy proving why all those idiots you described here are so wrong, while you do it over and over again: the same looonggggg stories.
    I want facts.
    regarding the Curse of the Turan: what’s the purpose of a Screaaaaaaaaaaaam movie?.?!
    Btw: I dont smoke pot, cigarettes….that the reason!
    Viva La Revolucion in Syria and …..Iran!
    viva Ataturk!!!!

  40. Hans:
    I completely understand, and I didn’t know much about this; of course, you’re right. And besides, we are talking about a context in which even having a digital copy of a version of a book draft is enough to criminalize you… better be cautious.
    I am still writing there when I have time, because I see this as a responsibility. We all have convictions, and so do I. For instance, when we were discussing different shades of racism and discrimination, considering the antisemitic attacks on the site, I had entered a lengthy explanation of different categories of discrimination with the hopes that people who had never thought about these issues would read and maybe think about them. Things like that.
    For me, this is an important task. Maybe presumptuous on my part, I am not sure and I still feel ambivalent about it, but when you look at it, you can see a problem in every act anyway.
    I just hope things come out clear in the open. In fact, as far as I can follow, there are a lot of parallels between the KCK trial and the other one: both about “usual suspects” that people are ready to put labels on because of past actions, homogenizing each group, that no one would normally want to vouch for unless they have a particular political position, both look like they are used for political purposes in political discourses, both investigated by ozel yetkili savci and news, documents about which are leaked to the media in dubious conjunctures. Interesting. I am not trying to equate them, just point at structural parallels.
    Anyhow, thanks for your response.

  41. PS: To clarify–I consider this to be a very important case, and because I really want to see a clean legal handling of the coups, the “deep state” etc, (to begin with the behind the scenes of the 70s and 80s, so to speak), I think holding this case correctly is crucial. And yet, that is not my impression. On the contrary, things look really fishy, and this also damages future cases with all the clouds of misinformation, inconsistencies, pressures put on people that limit/eliminate spaces of dissidence.
    PPS: This does seem to be the age of trials, which under normal circumstances should have been great, but doesn’t come across that way. (How sad is that?)

  42. Acracia,
    If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.
    attributed to Cardinal Richelieu

    If there is a will, there is way. Neither the law as it is now nor the general approach of people are for any kind of principled protection of expression here in Turkey. (Not that it is fundamentally different in the US either if you approach it from a broad but, IMHO, still meaningful point of view about the protection of liberties. Given all the things people there are taught to take pride in, you’d have expected a bigger crowd than a bunch of librarians and dedicated ACLU members to fight things like the Patriot Act. When push comes to shove, the bill of rights has about as many people standing behind it as you’d find in a convention of kooks — and they look just about as weird to the people.) Anyway,
    For me, this is an important task. Maybe presumptuous on my part, I am not sure and I still feel ambivalent about it, but when you look at it, you can see a problem in every act anyway.
    Even if what you say doesn’t get through, you may be able to observe the ways in which it fails to get through. That’s valuable information too even though it flows in the opposite direction. If, later, you get weary and stop trying, that bit of knowledge can be shared with those still willing go on [perhaps with modified aims]. Outside of concerns about opportunity costs, I don’t see how any of this is a loss.

  43. BM:

    I completely agree, of course, with what you say regarding failure/valuable information. (This is a scientist’s mindset; no doubt about that.)

    But the reason why I am writing is because when I read your last sentence (especially the second clause), my eyes went back to the Richelieu-attributed quote, and I started laughing. So, still laughing, (and, for some reason, with the uneasy feeling of a virtual “yagli ip” around my neck), I would like to thank you for your encouraging reply.

  44. Acracia, I wish I had noticed that. It is indeed very funny.
    I’ll try to tie the science thing in to reasoning. Surely you knew this but as we found out once again through the work of DR&PD, much of the propaganda is based on assaults against the ability to reason and [demonstrable] corruption of straightforward factual info. We are not talking about the kind of thing where honest people would [and perhaps ought to] have disagreements on.
    I can see how a well-funded (perhaps state-backed) group can try to confuse people like this, but I don’t quite understand the mechanism through which people/publications etc. who take part in these campaigns actually get the power over and credibility with sane and perhaps highly-educated people.
    One thing I do notice is how such people’s fame, stature and perhaps fashionable stances (as in ‘liberal’) are almost constantly advertised and reinforced while their detractors are bad-mouthed or bullied (mention of race there is merely convenient IMHO, other accusations such as ‘coup-lover’ or things vaguely based on class, political view (eg Kemalist) etc. could have been and sometimes are used).
    We can perhaps see something similar in the process whereby Taraf became powerful too. Maybe brand management, advertising and marketing people have models for these processes (which may well be natural). They seem to know how to identify and exploit pre-existing systemic weaknesses to make crap look like gold and turn perfectly sane people into dummies to be swindled.

  45. Bulent Bey:
    Not at all; I am so glad you didn’t notice it before and change it, as it truly captures the spirit of the oxymoron that dominates Turkey. (This was part of the reason why I also laughed.)
    There are two very important things in your message (there are more, but I would like to highlight those two for practical reasons) that I would like to address:
    1) Subjectivity/individual positions and the meanings these gain depending on the context;
    2) The manipulation of meaning and “facts” to change the meaning of events, individual positions, etc [You had indeed referred to this in an above post, when you were pointing out how things we knew that had happened, were being manipulated, in a footnote #1].
    Re #1, subjectivity: we can see a clear polarization, beyond the usual suspects of the post-80s that were also simplistically labeled such as Kemalist, secular, Islamist, etc. I have always believed these labels didn’t do justice to describe the complex dynamics in Turkey. In the seventies it was the convenient “solcu” vs “fasist” polarization. And it seems as though we have entered the second decade of the new millenium with a new sets of labels such as “coup-lover” or “coup-monger” vs “cemaatci” and, of course, the “liberal” which is an imported term into Turkish and used to mean something completely else than what is intended today.
    You may argue darbeci, cemaatci, etc are not new, and you would be right, but the meanings they have gained and the mental-criminalization they invite are rather new. We had already discussed how these labels were used to shun people, to silence them, to limit their spaces of speech. They are also used to conveniently homogenize people from different positions but who “hasbelkader” found themselves in the same basket, perhaps not because of whom or what they defend, but more because of what and whom they stand against. This is rather dangerous. But then, nothing new. Looking at the recent history of Turkey, I recognize this dynamic, what changed is the names and the actors.
    The problem here is the legalization of these labels. Being a cemaatci is not a crime, nor is it necessary to demonize this group. Like with any other organization, there are very nice and lovely people, as much as there are nasty ones. The problem is what their elites seem to be doing with power, through police forces and the legal system.
    On the other hand, being “darbeci” is a label generated by the Ergenekon cases, that both those so-called “liberal” [I honestly don't know what this means exactly] and other fractions to now label the so-called “Kemalists,” dissidents, etc. [i.e., for instance, Zaman and Today's Zaman actually tell us who the new target is: right before Oz was taken off from the case, TZ had published an article about Can Dundar who is an opponent to the current dynamics, stating that he writes under OdaTV orders. Whatever you may think about CD, you cannot argue that he doesn't try to be impartial, and we all know he stands against Soner Yalcin's values. And yet, TZ fabricates it, which is another manipulation of facts.]
    Coming to “liberals”: I believe there is a whole new group of people in Turkey who equate democracy with anti-militarization, which is incredibly reductive. This is a very easy position to take: many of us do want the military to back off from politics and to leave people alone. I do. This is very easy to argue and has an international symbolic capital, because it speaks to “universal” values, right?
    Freedom, democracy, justice.
    And so, many people jump in the wagon, not necessarily because they support this or that political party, but because they believe in these values. And these people seem to condemn the military, but with the wrong tools. Because in the other place, we have actually been shown evidence over and over again that the evidence is fabricated. I don’t know if you read the Ergenekon indictments, but they are also full of non-sense gibberish, such that it becomes difficult to differentiate what is evidence and relevant, and what is not. [There were even copies of pages from a "cocuk boyama kitabi" in one of them?] Maybe those who wrote these things thought that nobody would read these long and at times fishy statements?
    You also know this, but I will write it anyway: Coupling a simplistically reductive equation of democracy with antimilitarization, many columnists [some visible in Taraf, yes] sought to proceed to a public trial where they condemned those individuals in the name of democracy, freedom and justice, and little they cared about whether the “evidence” used in trials to prosecute the people in question were valid. They justified their acts with prosecuting a mentality, which is very dangerous, because while the content is very different, we all are familiar with 1980s prosecution of the communist mentality. And while doing this, some of these people created an environment in which speaking of justice and fake evidence became a taboo, and they bullied (hence, your criticism of intellectuals, am I right?) the dissidents by calling them “darbeci.” The result in my opinion has been a disaster.
    We are witnessing the “personalization” of a so-called mindset and prosecution of people who are not properly prosecuted with founded and hard evidence, and those who publicly claim they stand for justice butchering this concept with ill-fated character assassination, violation of the privacy of the prosecuted, the dissidents, and their families through telekulak. This is a pity, because military trials are absolutely neccessary and it could have been great. But it wasn’t.
    The result is the emergence of a conservative elite that appropriated universally acclaimed values and who turn a blind eye to the injustices and inconsistencies. It is also an instance of a successful rechanneling of previously established allegiances (e.g. former leftists being against the military) into new positions (supporting these trials because supposedly they are against the military).
    Re #2: This is like the doublespeak of the 1984. But not that simple. In order for democracy to function, there should be plurality, and thus, a decent media. This is not so. Turkey is not an exception, but this is the example we are talking about.
    Keep people ignorant about facts, bully dissidents, generate character assassinations against those who raise questions by spreading their personal lives and telekulak transcriptions, spread misinformation, contradictory information, and double that against the “usual suspect” (with a syllogism: the army did coups before, these are army members, even though the evidence is fake, they are doing a coup, etc): this seems to be capturing at least part of what is happening.
    I have read that now, even connecting Ergenekon with cemaat is considered as an act of Ergenekon (Ahmet Insel’s recent article in Radikal, 29.3.2011). People are so confused, because nothing makes sense. But in the case of Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, I think it does: I think we are witnessing the public indications of some sort of a power struggle behind the scenes
    On the other hand, because the army was a taboo for so long, I think people welcomed the opportunity to criticize them. But these quickly mixed up with the long and inconsistent data (e.g., the 11th CD), long and strangely crowded indictments, leaking of personal information about families, and gibberish explanations (like our “well-behaved” friend): the result is a mess. And yes, you are right, it is an attack against the meaning-making mechanisms and the intellect. But I don’t think it can last too long.
    There are so many things to say, especially about #2. You don’t have to reply to any of this, and of course you very well know what I am talking about, but it is hard to explain, isn’t it? #2 is very much like the “double speak” in 1984. You also may want to check Zeitgeist the movie for alternative takes on such things, I am talking about the 2007 version. It is interesting.
    I apologize this has been so long.

  46. PS: Correction–I said TZ, but it should have been Z.
    PPS: I am suggesting Zeitgeist as an interesting interpretation of the situation with the media in a different context. This doesn’t mean I agree or disagree with it, I just thought it was interesting.

  47. PPPS: My apologies, I am writing again, but now that I have a bit more time, I would like to clarify: in one of the posts above I mentioned I had been following this blog for a while and that I hadn’t been able to follow this site lately and that this was why I noticed certain things on my own this time. Correction: in general, I was mostly reading JW’s posts, and at times quickly glancing at comments. So–I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I followed the blog regularly or the discussions. This is not accurate. But when I did, I did find the discussions quite interesting, as they unraveled quite different takes on different issues, and I was joking about giving other people a hard time (I actually don’t know). I just liked the chatting atmosphere here, as far as I could see– I wanted to clarify.
    And Hans, I am sorry if my position came across as patronizing. That was not my intention, but I found some of your underlying assumptions quite offensive. Anyhow, I do not intend to get into arguments.
    Finally, BM: I have been meaning to ask–you had said something about guessing something regarding my nickname. I had thought I had understood, but later, I was convinced we were not talking about the same thing. Do you remember what it was?
    Ok, I am really leaving now. Thanks for your patience.

  48. Acracia,
    Thank you. I can do a point by point but this will then become book-sized and I’d rather have someone who knows more about social science to write that book. A couple of short points:
    – On bullying: it needn’t be direct as in making people scared of being labeled, it can also be that some aura of authority [or sanctity] is effectively used to either stifle dissent or, worse yet, stop trains of thought in their tracks. The latter is more pernicious because it is harder to notice even when one’s subjected to it.
    – I have seen the first Zeitgeist movie and wasn’t too surprised really that the second version ended up advocating a Star-Trek-like world. There are [or were] marginal approaches/dreams like that among the (secular and anti-FED, anti-finance-industry, anti-mainstream-political-culture) tech crowds too. Those people would have some good things to say, no doubt, but when they do the general public probably doesn’t quite get the underlying style of thought. (A whole bunch of interesting stuff/talks are available on Fora TV from the Long Now Foundation for perspectives that cover centuries and millennia, BTW.) This probably isn’t the aspect you intended to stress though. As far as manipulating the public go, Adam Curtis has produced a bunch of [exaggerated but fun to watch, IMHO] stuff for the BBC. The Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares, The Trap — What Happened to our Dream of Freedom should be available on the ‘net. As is the case with the Zeitgeist series, that such stuff would find good sized audiences should tell us something. I don’t quite know what it is, though.

  49. Acraia I forgot to answer your question. No unfortunately I don’t remember what we talked about concerning your nickname. I may have tried a joke or something based on ‘Acracy’ and tied it to rejection of rule-by-authority when some odd authoritarian attitude [on part of someone else] surfaced there (perhaps about the lust of our politically-engaged groups and people to regulate speech?) . Which brings me to today’s flash news, after the local ‘net companies got licensure, rules etc. imposed on them, now come news/rumors of banned words and banned domain names. Here’s the (unverified) decree:
    I haven’t verified this, but I have dealt with these Ankara people (supposed techies included, AKP-connected or not) in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised if it is authentic. Note the tone too, requirement of a licence, imposition of regulation, telling people what they are now required to do, threats of punsihment etc. That one thinks it might be authentic is revealing enough for the climate here.

  50. BM:

    sorry I took so much of your time and thanks for reading the lengthy post. Admittedly, I cannot write short messages.

    Re Zeitgeist: yes, I agree. I wasn’t trying to stress anything, just pointing at a more free-style engagement with some issues.

    As for the banned words: I sincerely hope this is a joke and not real.

    Sizi yeterince mesgul ettim. Kusura bakmayin lutfen.

  51. Hahaha, the joy of communicating in two languages, lemme make it 2.25: Estagfirullah, kusur ne demek, bilakis, istifade ve tenevvur ediyorum.
    Dunno about the joke, our wonderful mainstream press has begun to report it though it is unclear if they got confirmation (what good are these people, really?).

  52. In case anyone is interested in the latest disgrace about the control of the ‘net, they can look up ‘tevil yoluyla ikrar’ after reading this: (in short, yes, they confirmed that the decree is authentic and they also indirectly confirmed what anyone with half a brain already knew about them.)

  53. Here is the official response (my emphasis):

    Telekomünikasyon İletişim Başkanlığınca vatandaşların yoğun şikayetlerine konu olmuş alan adları ve içeriklerinden hareketle tespit olunan bir kısım sakıncalı kelime grupları, hosting hizmeti yapmakta olan yer sağlayıcılara bilgi amaçlı olarak bildirilmiş ve bu kelimelere içeriklerinde yer verilen alan adları ile ilgili tedbir alınması talep olunmuştur.

    Bu içerikleri barındıran İnternet sitelerinin 5651 sayılı Yasanın 8. maddesinde yer verilen katalog suçlar ile ilgisi kapsamında yetkililerince gözden geçirilmesi ve suça aracılık edilmemesi amacına matuf olarak tarafımızca gerçekleştirilen bildirimden ibarettir.

    5651 sayılı yasa kapsamında yer sağlayıcılara I numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun geçtiği alan adlarının barındırılmaması, II numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun alan adından ve III numaralı anahtar kelime grubunun ise içerikten kontrol edilerek gerekli önlemlerin alınması amacıyla gerçekleştirilen bildirimden ibarettir.

    Bu sözcüklerle ilgili yasaklama söz konusu olmayıp, yer sağlayıcıların katalog suçlardan birini işleyen siteleri tespit etmelerini kolaylaştırmak için sunulmuş anahtar sözcüklerden ibarettir.

    One paragraph says it is banned, then the next says it is not!

  54. That’s why I haven’t posted anything about it. There was an article (in Milliyet maybe) that said it was just a recommendation.

  55. As you can see, ‘suca aracilik edilmemesi’ is there. That by itself is an implicit threat. After the election they may come down somewhat harder (the ‘filtering’ scheme is supposed to kick in this summer).

  56. Bulent: You don’t want to tighten the screws too early ;)

    The problem is that these laws are poorly designed at best, and oppressive at worst. They are unclear and, when push comes to shove, you can bet that the law is going to interpreted in favor of the government. Does anyone know who drafted law 5651? There is some useful information here and here.

  57. I’d say TIB, obviously, isn’t doing its job properly –as defined by laws–; otherwise, if they had, they wouldn’t have had to write such letters that are bound to leak.
    All they had to do would be to use a web-spider software and visit (and scan for whatever they are looking for [*] in) every single IP that is physically hosted within the country.
    [*: In parallel with those trigger words, any site that links to too many smallish video clips, pictures etc. can become a suspect.]
    They could, then, automate even sending of the investigate-and-report-back orders by email directly to the ISP sys admin and none of us would ever hear about it.

  58. I just saw this as I was traveling back where I live. Thanks for sharing the news. Let’s see what happens.

    ps: I did ask about the nickname because I had chosen it for an experiment; I was curious to see whether people would treat me differently, and you know what happened when I was mistaken for a woman (as I had anticipated). Anyhow. Thanks for the info.

  59. Emre, it is not just 5651, the climate that exists for the regular world in other laws is making itself felt on the ‘net too. The state and the laws aren’t really getting more oppressive it is just that the existing attitudes are making themselves felt in the new medium.
    There is a genuine problem here: the political culture cannot handle the kind of freedom that’s facilitated by the net. Of course, once given the means of centralized control backed by laws, everyone brings out their lists.
    I want to see how they will make it a crime to by-pass these new filters and how they will treat those new criminals.

  60. Oh it seems the big guy has spoken too. Here’s one relevant excerpt from eksi but the entire thing is worth reading/watching:
    He has this gem about laughing in there too:
    Dinimizde, gayr-i meşru eğlencelere, kasdî ve iradî olarak lâubâlîliğe, birilerini güldürmek için şakalar yapmaya, ölçüsüzce gülmeye ve güldürmeye, dolayısıyla zamanı israf etmeye müsaade yoktur.
    Don’t be joking with the intent of making others laugh, now. You heard the man. Weeping, on the other hand, appears to be fine.

  61. When the laws don’t make sense, can you blame people for breaking them? They make up a new nonsensical or Draconian law every week. If we have Fethullah Gulen to thank for this one I will be mad.

  62. I don’t know if Gulen is behind this. I don’t think there needs to be any influence for stuff like this to happen. Gulen may simply be telling his people to not join whatever chorus might form against the upcoming regulations. Then again he foretold some investigations etc. too. Hard to know since his press has a lot of trouble telling the truth (how’s that for an understatement?) and the test of the mainstream press won’t touch him.

  63. Huh? Nothing new happened and now CNN is covering it:

    Friends of Finkel?

  64. Finkel is making noises in the NYT too:
    I don’t understand where this ‘oh we thought they were fine and would be good’ thinking I keep hearing is coming from. They were never fine, all it would take was a peek at the Turkish version of Zaman to see what kind of an outfit they were. I thought journalists were supposed to have been around the block quite a few times more than ordinary people.

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