The reason why all goes wrong in Turkey is Social Media!
Turkey was once a country of a role model in the Middle East. When Obama became the president, he visited Turkey first as his foreign country visit and talked to the nation at Turkey Grand Assembly. Obama said that “modern Turkey like the United States was founded with a similar set of principles.” Arab states aired the speech that Obama did at the Turkish Assembly live, and every country began seeing Turkey of that time astonishingly with a different perspective.
Turkey has developed and modernized in many ways afterward. The leaders of the Europian Union warmly welcomed all the structural reforms of Turkey until things began suddenly changing in 2013. While Turkey was pointed at as a role model in the Muslim World, the Middle East was more liveable, secure, and in good economic condition.
The media, the judicial system, and the enforcement agencies were free to some extent in these good days of Turkey, and this helped Turkey a lot to modernize, develop, and flourish in many aspects as a state. Turkey’s economic growth was marked and had an enormous amount of foreign investment, and the welfare and lifestyle of Turkish people got way better between 2002 and 2010. The plan heading to success was made well in Turkey, but no one thought about the peak when it reached the height of success.
Therefore, the fall of Turkey became more significant compared to its success story. The tower of success that was built within the ten years period was broken apart in a couple of years. What a pity, good guys and bad guys in this movie are the same, and the same government achieved both!
Turkey was shocked on the night of July 15, 2016, with a failed coup attempt. This was known as the black day in modern Turkish history. President Erdogan went ahead and said, “the coup attempt is a gift from God.” Turkey and the entire world watched scarcely how the Erdogan regime turned brutal and cruel against all the oppositions in Turkey.
Erdogan laid down all the stones one by one for the regime change in Turkey to consolidate his power, and the failed coup attempt was the significant move to reach his goal. He successfully changed the regime of Turkey as he wished to hold everything in his hand. To reach that, the Erdogan regime arrested and jailed thousands of people, including judges, medical doctors, teachers, business people, and even homemakers with the allegation of taking part in the so-called coup attempt. With that, public subversion and polarization got more deepen and risky for the protection of vulnerable people or groups.
However, one thing went wrong in Erdogan’s plan, and that was the economy of the country. The economy became worse with every passing day after the imposition of restrictions on the civilian rights of the people. Erdogan convinced people to vote for him to change the regime of Turkey to a one-man regime as the one Russia has with Putin. The modern Turkish state, which built on a set of principles as Obama stated when he visited Turkey in 2009, was changed and entered a new era of an autocratic regime.
People realized that they did wrong after seeing the negative effects of this change over the economy by voting for a regime change proposed by Erdogan. Still, it is now too late to take any action to reverse the system change back. The state does not function well; one man decides for everything, and the economy is terrible. Besides all this, freedom of all rights is either monitored or restricted by the police regime of the Erdogan. Free media was shot down, dissent public officers from every level of government services were dismissed, and the judicial system was changed in favor of the regime of Erdogan.
When free media was out, the remaining mainstream media turned to a propaganda machine of the Erdogan regime. Whatever happened in the country, the media began seeing things with rose-colored glasses. People understood that the freedom of media and the rights of obtaining accurate information was taken from their hands and that they were being manipulated at a significant level.
People began only seeing those who support the Erdogan regime on mainstream media. The opposition parties and their leaders are not invited to any program by these media. Opposition means %60 of the entire country. However, when Erdogan talks, at least 35 T.V. channels air his speeches live at the same time. Even though Ahmet Davutoglu, former PM, and Ali Babacan, a former economy minister from Erdogan’s party, could not find any platform on any media to talk after establishing their political parties against Erdogan’s party. Blocking oppositions and restraining them from media became one of the most significant issues of today’s Turkey.
Especially when Ahmet Davutoglu was the PM of Turkey, he started placing all the stones to silence free media along with Erdogan. Zaman newspaper, the most circulated daily newspaper, was seized and closed during his premier time. He never thought that one day he might be needing one soon. Before the failed coup attempt, the Erdogan regime silenced all the opposition media. When the free media was needed to seek the truth about the country’s most violent and brutal crime that took place on the night of the failed coup attempt, there was none. Why? The Erdogan regime must answer this question first before any reliable investigation took place for the attempt of the failed coup.
All these dynamical changes in the current Turkish political sphere radically changed the understanding of the media and the people. When mainstream media turned to a puppet of the Erdogan regime, all the dissent people canalized themselves to alternative media like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Furthermore, this allowed them to communicate with the public effectively and convey their messages and thoughts with no interruption on alternative media.
Ali Babacan, who was once Erdogan’s minister, established his new party a couple of months before titled Democracy and Progress Party, talked to a journalist on YouTube, and this online program hit every rating of its kind in Turkey. The rise of opposition in alternative media disturbed the Erdogan regime a lot. They are used to monitoring and controlling the mainstream media, but it is not the same for social media platforms.
The new generation, GenZ, is so active on social media, and they mostly take information from social media. It is stated that seven million youths will vote for the first time in the next election. Moreover, they will most likely not vote for Erdogan. Surprisingly, Erdogan wanted to talk to the youth on a virtual event a couple of days before. As planned, when the program began, the youth began writing “NO VOTES to YOU” under the live YouTube video. The aides of Erdogan turned the comments off, and the program finished with censoring the youth. After seeing this, thousands of dislikes were put under the video of the President of Erdogan as a backlash. This increased the tension of the ruling party when they realized they are losing the young’s votes.
Erdogan said, “We will close Twitter, MTwitter” for the first time at a rally in 2014. Back and forth, it is a political card in his hand, and when he wants to threaten the opposition, he likes to use it. However, this time, social media became a real headache for his party. He just needed to find an excuse to do it.
Erdogan’s son-in-law, who is his economy minister, tweeted a tweet a couple of days before about his newborn baby, and some Twitter users insulted him and his family. Soon after that development, Erdogan came in front of cameras and said we would close all social media platforms. Instead of punishing those insulters, he chose to punish the public! Furthermore, all this happened after the dislike campaign of the youth and during the rise of the opponents on social media. Since 2013, the criminals are all the way tolerated, but the public became the victim of every incident in the country.
Turkey experienced every type of coup during the Erdogan regime. And, surprisingly, Erdogan was the one whom all the time favored from each one of them. Now, the Erdogan regime sincerely thinks to block all social media in the country. The reason they say social media is a place for immoralities! Yes, this is the reason why they want to block it.
The main opposition party leader, Kilicdaroglu, said to arrest all the people who insulted your family members as your government does that for years. Why do you want to block it? And people started a hashtag campaign with #DoNotTouchMySocialMedia after Erdogan said we would close them.
Turkey just turned into a country that has no direction! Erdogan likes to create artificial agendas to make people busy with them while he is planning to pass one fundamental law or to do a structural change in Turkey. He is an expert on how to manipulate people and social engineering.
Now, the Erdogan regime wants to change the law related to the bar associations in Turkey. While all these sudden and radical changes are happening in Turkey, Erdogan lets people spend their energies discussing other things, but not the main agenda. Although the West oppose the move of Turkey in Libya, people discuss whether Hagia Sofia should convert back to the mosque or not. In this way, the public may not criticize the regime’s questionable existence in Libya. Now, the ruling party wants to change bar associations’ law, and suddenly Erdogan made a new move over social media, and everyone mostly talks about it but not the law change.
By the way, I saw any changes for the Hagia Sofia’s legal condition as unnecessary. I believe that Turkey does not need an additional mosque where most of them remain empty at most congregations. People discuss how the youth lose their faiths, and deism is a fearful trend among the young generation in Turkey, but Erdogan wants the public to discuss whether we convert Hagia Sofia or not.
Now, social media is considered a “threat” for the Erdogan regime and its future. As he eliminated all the oppositions in his political career, he now needs to get rid of social media. He took control of almost everything. People mock this ‘New Turkey.’ They ask and laugh, who is president of Turkey? Erdogan. Who is Chief of Army? Erdogan. Who is this? Erdogan. Who is that? Erdogan.
Turkey is taking the last turn before turning into a new country, which would be another typical Middle East dictatorial regime. Social media is to be silenced. The judicial system is to be controlled. The army should battle in and out of Turkey when Erdogan wants. More importantly, the dissent must be silenced and not given any platform to communicate to the public. Why? Because Erdogan wants. We, as the public, gave him the authority, and he simply uses it! Welcome to the new Turkey!