March 21, 2014
After Twitter Ban Erdo-gone
Yesterday the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan used a recent internet censorship law to ban the use of Twitter in Turkey. Communication through Twitter and other internet means was one way for the opposition in Turkey to organize protests against him. But such communication was also intensively used by his own supporters.
As usual the user's reacted by circumventing the ban and kept on tweeting. The ban was ignored not only by the 12 million Turkish net-citizens but also by high members of Erdogan's own party. The Turkish president Gül tweeted(!) "Shutdown of social media cannot be approved". Deputy Prime Minister Arınç and Ankara Mayor Gökçek, both high members of Erdogan's AK Party, also broke the ban. Ironically hardcore Erdogan supporters circumvented the blocking of twitter to justify Erdogan's blocking order in their tweets. The government controlled Anadolu news agency tweets about government speeches that justify the ban on tweets.
The EU and the United States condamned the move. If you pretend to be a democracy you are supposed to first talk about the dangers of pornography, pedophilia or terrorism before censuring the net. Erdogan missed that step.
His hard-core supporters may still hold on to Erdogan, despite all corruption allegations and autocratic tendencies. But those who were only slightly affiliated with him will now likely break away. How can anyone still want to associate himself with such a laughing stock?
Erdogan's economic success over the last decade, mostly credit fueled, is coming apart as interests rate rise and the Turkish currency is sinking. There will be local elections in Turkey on March 30 followed by two more elections later this year. Erdogan winning these is now in serious doubt. Yes, damning Twitter, the "interest lobby" and other bogeymen may help him with his base. But that base is by now also more literate, has better phones and can access alternative news. For the better of Turkey he may soon be called Erdo-gone.
Posted by b on March 21, 2014 at 08:14 AM | Permalink
Love your blog, but you are confusing - as many others do - freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right, with access to certain media or platforms, which is not a fundamental right.
Clearly the blocking of Twitter doesn't curtail freedom of speech as long as other means remain available. And there are Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte etc remain available in Turkey.
It's the same as you trying to walk into Congress in Washington to express your point of view. You will be prevented by Security, that doesn't mean freedom of speech is not guaranteed.
Posted by: Olivier Fehr | Mar 21, 2014 8:31:34 AM | 1
As much as I would like Erdo-gone (or preferably hanged for his war-crimes), but is there a better alternative? Because if not Erdo-criminal, likely winner would be Gulen-cia clan, which would be just as bad.
Posted by: Harry | Mar 21, 2014 8:46:17 AM | 2
@ 1: "Love your blog, but you are confusing - as many others do - freedom of speech, which is a fundamental right, with access to certain media or platforms, which is not a fundamental right."
So, by that logic, one could also ban the internet, or some newspapers?
Posted by: ben | Mar 21, 2014 10:20:27 AM | 3
I'm an American, ergo ignorant. Could someone please explain the deeper dynamics of the struggles going on in Turkey, and what the various factions are really about? I am hearing all sorts of claims about everybody and can't separate out what is credible from what is not.
Posted by: Nora | Mar 21, 2014 10:30:43 AM | 4
>> Clearly the blocking of Twitter doesn't curtail freedom of speech as long as other means remain available. And there are Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte etc remain available in Turkey.
I tend to agree with the people you think are confused. First, if Twitter shuts itself off in country, that's quite different than the country's political leader doing it. The latter does infringe free speech. Second, free-speech supporters disagree with your litmus test ("other means remain available"), because your litmus test is embraced by censorship-minded bureaucrats to box protestors into "free-speech zones".
Posted by: too soon | Mar 21, 2014 10:39:10 AM | 5
It all matters what the elite mean by freedom of expression.
Free speech for what btw? Should conservative states have to deal with violence, pornography etc?
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 10:51:47 AM | 6
Olivier, what are you blathering about? Your analogy is as preposterous as your position.
A proper, non-tech analogy to the twitter ban would be if the USG made it illegal for anyone to write a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. WaPo has full control over which letters get published, but that does not justify the government stepping in and cutting off all comments or any comment.
Posted by: b jeebus | Mar 21, 2014 11:12:23 AM | 7
@ 6: "Free speech for what btw? Should conservative states have to deal with violence, pornography etc?
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 10:51:47 AM | 6
Good questions. I suppose that's exactly the coming debate. As of now, the self censorship that goes on daily on the internet seems to be the norm. I assume you do see the dangers to the freedom of speech when certain groups of people get to impose their particular likes and dislikes on society at large. The coming debate will be interesting.
Posted by: ben | Mar 21, 2014 11:28:47 AM | 8
@ 1,3,5,6,7, Whatever the value of discussing Olivier’s thesis, and I don’t think it not worth discussing (somewhere else), it is really not pertinent to the proposition of the headline by b; which is in my words, the fragility of Prime Minister Erdogan’s chances to continue as Prime Minister due to his own faux pas’. I’m not accusing Olivier of being a troll, but his post and the fallout are exactly what a troll would attempt to do. Divert the discussion from the tread’s prime idea.
Posted by: juannie | Mar 21, 2014 11:29:14 AM | 9
I don't think the buffoon Erdogan will be gone anytime soon..The US's got some use for him - at least in Syria to help facilitate Chechen and other jihadi fighters into the country.
Sad thing is, there's no viable opposition in Turkey..They CHP and other small parties are just as bad as the AKP.
Turkey will eventually become like Pakistan. It's just the natural progression of things.
Posted by: Zico | Mar 21, 2014 11:29:23 AM | 10
& @8; my apologies ben.
Posted by: juannie | Mar 21, 2014 11:30:54 AM | 11
juannie @ 9: Good point, thanks for that.
Posted by: ben | Mar 21, 2014 11:32:42 AM | 12
Sure there can be abuse but there can also be real reasons why to shut down information networks, if it threatens the state or the morals etc.
For example the same western states that condemn turkey censor themselves, not to mention the holocaust denial law.
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 11:39:13 AM | 13
Laughing stock. If that's a standard why are all of the NATO countries still following the U.S.? Speaking of pretend "democracy" I see a large majority of Germans are wisely opposed to sanctions against Russia yet Frau Merkel seems oblivious to that fact.
Posted by: par4 | Mar 21, 2014 11:49:44 AM | 14
According to Anna news, Turkey with US are planning to do Syria's bombing campaign:
"Leader of the leading Turkish opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu warned today Turkey's parliament plans to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launch a military strike against Syria in the near future and asked the Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel "to not to seek Turkey's adventure" by military intervention in Syria.
Posted by: Harry | Mar 21, 2014 11:53:54 AM | 15
@10 - zico. i see it in a similar way.. erdogan has been useful for the west's adventure in syria. while he soured relationships with israel over the flotilla event, he gained a lot of positive recognition in mine own and many others view back when that happened.. overall though if the west can't find a useful stooge to follow it's geopolitical agenda they will find someone else who fills the bill. at this point no one appears to be able to replace him..the city folk are not happy with him, but a lot of traditional people in the countryside seem to be onside with his pseudo-religious ideological approach..
Posted by: james | Mar 21, 2014 12:15:05 PM | 16
I don't know about the technical or administrative details of the "ban", but on first sight it looks like a most moronic move. If there's one thing that will make you look like a suspicious autocrat to your own people, it's probably the banning of social network sites, better have an army of sockpuppets for that.
Overall Turkey, regarding @15 I wonder if there's a widening split between Qatar+Turkey and Saudi interests and maybe Turkey will see a scenario similar to Egypt? Another thought: maybe it's just a test to have a look at how such a ban actually works out, so when open military action in Syria is due, they can rely on practical experience in suppressing twitter et al. Hasn't there been a similar twitter ban in Egypt?
My personal guess: the "west" has been trying to de-stabilize Erdogan for some time now and maybe they've figured out who they can rely on for future military operations, so there'll be a minor form of regime change in Turkey along with military engagement of Nato/Turkey/Israel in Syria soon. But really it's a complicated shifting of interests between russia, the west and the more or less reliable middle eastern states that I find hard to make sense of.
Posted by: peter radiator | Mar 21, 2014 12:23:10 PM | 17
I must also ask, do people here really want the pro-israel US-puppet Gulen movement to take over Turkey?
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 12:30:00 PM | 18
18) No, but an AKP split is a good idea. Erdogan needs to rewrite the Turkish constitution to make the presidency worth while. The less people behind him the better.
Posted by: somebody | Mar 21, 2014 12:41:46 PM | 19
I hope you are right, b. From what I've read the AK Party is only facing a serious challenge in Istanbul and Ankara. Still, losses here could metastasize into serious trouble for Erdogan in next year's general election.
Posted by: Mike Maloney | Mar 21, 2014 12:45:44 PM | 20
somebody @ 19
You're not shilling for Erdogan by any chance are you??? The guy's a dictator, dammit!!! In fact, a worse dictator than his nemeses, Assad. But he's the US's kinda dictator so he gets a pass and full backing.
At the moment, despite all his "sins" (both at home and abroad), he's still a useful tool for US/NATO in Syria. The Syrian file will soon close as the fsa/nusrah clearly have no chance of winning anything in Syria. Once that's achieved, Erdogan will be brushed aside into exile(Musharraf treatment) or if he's stupid enough to resists, will be given the Qaddafi treatment.
Posted by: Zico | Mar 21, 2014 1:13:05 PM | 21
I am in favor of an AKP split = less power to Erdogan.
Posted by: somebody | Mar 21, 2014 1:37:39 PM | 22
While Erdogan might be little more than an ambitious opportunist with delusions of grandeur and some nasty friends, as Anonymous alluded to this is an insider power struggle between Erdogan & his former partners in the Gülen movement who are looking to take over.
I posted this a few days ago on a different thread that now seems more relevant than it did:
It looks like Fethullah Gülen has officially crawled out of his hole:
Gülen from what I can tell represents not so much the 'deep state' but what could be called the 'black state' - ie. the people Sibel Edmonds was investigating...
Does this mean that Gülen's boy Gül is ready to make his move on Erdogan with the now patented 'Riots in the street, mysterious snipers, insider defections, Revolution'? Is the ground ready & the timing good - taking advantage of the turmoil in Ukraine & the attempts at a renewed push in Syria?
Worth keeping an eye on...
Posted by: KenM | Mar 21, 2014 2:03:14 PM | 23
If the AKP splits, shouldn't that mean that the Kemalist CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi) returns to power?
Posted by: lysias | Mar 21, 2014 2:19:32 PM | 25
RT reports that OSCE will send people (spies) to Ukraine. What changed their mind?
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 3:51:49 PM | 26
@18 Wait just a damn minute, since when has Erdogan NOT been pro israel?
Zionist Erdogan being replaced with Zionist Gulenists wont be anything to cheer for, but it wont be anything to cry over, certainly not.
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 21, 2014 4:28:10 PM | 27
@25 Maybe. Or it could be Gulenists or some random-ass Islamist group. Nothings for certain.
I would root for the Kemalists, though, if only because everyone else would just be worse, of the same zionist-islamist stock as Erdogan.
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 21, 2014 4:30:08 PM | 28
@21 Chill, Somebody doesnt like Erdogan either. Take a chill pill.
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 21, 2014 4:31:11 PM | 29
4 days ago Erdogan was a host in a talk show on turkish tv.He then and there condemned F.Gulen the very man who put him into power now that their relations have soured to the point of no return of Lies,Deceit and Treachery.Like the Shias he added.So now you have the council of the Ja'faris(thats what the twelve shias are called in Turkey) going public and and asking for an immediate apology.He Erdo Gone has already alienated the Alevis by constantly slurring them .Now we are a few days away from communal elections.How does he thinks to win?He also incidentally radicalized the sunnis in his country with his holy alliance with Takfiris to have the upper hand in Syria.Well,he hasn't.But what he does have is a very serious caldron at home,all of his making.Shooting have been witnessed,car bombs,rocket attacks.Blowback is coming and that is why his mentor ,Gulen,wants him to drawn.My feelings is that Turkey has entered turmoil for a very long time with possibly the country torn apart in various entities.Which will be fine for Syria,Iran and Russia probably.Blowback is coming for the criminal and his cohort.
Posted by: Nobody | Mar 21, 2014 4:31:21 PM | 30
Is the US behind any of the turmoil in Turkey? Or, better stated, might any of our various Neocon or Neoliberals, in or out of government, be behind any of it?
Posted by: Nora | Mar 21, 2014 5:05:58 PM | 31
@31: Erdoğan repeatedly claims that the U.S. is secretly backing the Gülenists. Whether or not it is, I have no idea.
Posted by: lysias | Mar 21, 2014 5:27:24 PM | 32
I cant imagine why they would want to. Erdogan has been a loyal dog, barking whenever he gets a treat and licking his masters hands. The problems in Turkey are probably blowback from his own actions.
But US meddling is not impossible. Certainly, if they believe they can get a puppet they like even more they will do so, and its not like the West hasnt turned on its own puppets before, like Saddam. But Saddam had done something to piss off his masters: What could Erdogan have done that is so egregious?
I think most of Erdogans problems are the natural result of Erdogans polarizing religious policy and support of terrorists on his own border
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 21, 2014 5:27:37 PM | 33
@33 The U.S. may not like the way Erdoğan has quarreled with Israel.
Posted by: lysias | Mar 21, 2014 5:31:17 PM | 34
@Nora,considering that Fathallah Gulen lives in zusa since the '90,that he is a known CIA asset(his over expanding" schools"and influence especially in Central Asia where he acts as cover for the CIA expansion for the ,remember,so called Great Game),his network of hundreds of school on zusa 'soil (influence and control of muslim immigrants),his influence on muslims in zusa's army,his relations in zusa with the turkish american association,which is a blatant cover for the turkish mafia dealing with everything,from nuclear to drugs to human body trafficking to arms ;considering all that it is inconceivable that he would act with his turf war with the AKP without the official and unofficial blessing of the american administration.Sibel Edmonds in her book,a gagged woman I think was the title cites him and she should know a few more things than me.I know that he has also very close ties with the neocon cabal and with the so called state of "israel".Here we are again wherever you turn and you see shit you see them.As for the motives:Erdogan and the AkP failed to deliver on Syria and worse still introduced alqaeda types of takfiris that the west no more controls.Therein lies the danger for zusa/zeu ,you know have thousand of mad rabid takfiris who came to Syria with the help of the CIA,Nato logistics ,and went out of control.They are know a real danger for the West interests. expanding as an ever growing map of oil in the blue sea.Erdogan played with fire ….He also lost control on the internal front and as everything in Turkey is near collapse zusa had to intervene through Gulen.Turkey is located at a strategic point and zato can't afford to lose it.To note to is the spreading of Gulen with the benediction of Erdogan and his MIT(secret services) on every level in the state especially in the Police and Judiciary.Fathallah Guler is the Don of the turkish mafia.Where you talked about mafia zusa is never far behind as ww2 proved with the landing of americans on italian soil.
Dominance of the Middle East(a word I personally abhor)meant ,to be achieved,the creation of 4 Fonction states that do not correspond to the region history:the zionist entity,Turkey,Jordan.and the wahabi state.Through thiese four dominance was assured.But not for long anymore.
Posted by: Nobody | Mar 21, 2014 6:16:02 PM | 35
I apologize for all the ridiculous errors in my typing!
Posted by: Nobody | Mar 21, 2014 6:16:57 PM | 36
Gulen is "somewhat" pro-israel, proUS, anti Iran, syria, hezbollah.
Go figure why US want them in power.
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 21, 2014 6:20:56 PM | 37
Thank you, Nobody and anonymous. Sure sounds like he's our guy, and I kind of had a feeling it was all bc of Syria. Interesting though, because Erdogan had taken up a decent stance vis-a-vis Israel (and not just the Mavi Marmara, other stuff too) -- what happened? Silly question, I suppose, thinking of Saddam Hussein, who was our guy until it was convenient for him not to be, and I'm not convinced it was anything he did. News to any would-be satrap in the Empire: eat with dogs, you'll be lucky if all you get is fleas!
Posted by: Nora | Mar 21, 2014 6:27:59 PM | 38
The thing is, Erdogan is ALSO all of those things. Whats Erdogan done wrong?
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 21, 2014 6:33:25 PM | 39
Another western color revolution.
"While current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has served as one of several chief regional collaborators with the West in the destruction of neighboring Syria, it appears that his utility was temporary, and the payoff for his servile obedience shall be being toppled from power.
More recently, the opposition CHP was cited by name in Al Jazeera’s article “Turkish opposition holds protest rallies.” And not only has CHP been revealed as driving the protests, but the initial pretext has shifted from “saving a park,” to demanding the current Turkish government resign, leaving CHP in a prime position to take power.
CHP’s leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was in the United States on December 2, 2013, to give a talk (full transcript .pdf here) before the corporate-funded policy think tank, the Brookings Institution. Not only was Kılıçdaroğlu warmly welcomed as the first CHP member to ever visit Washington, he was happy to announce the opening of a CHP chapter right there in the United States...."
And so it goes.
US-Turkish Relations: In Search of a Comfortable Footstool http://journal-neo.org/2014/03/10/us-turkish-relations-in-search-of-a-comfortable-footstool/
Posted by: scalawag | Mar 21, 2014 6:45:34 PM | 40
Damn. So what color will they use this time?
Posted by: Nora | Mar 21, 2014 7:08:37 PM | 41
The problem for the Gülen movement is that if they do succeed in toppling Erdogan they are essentially an elitist movement specializing in setting up insider networks - Erdogan was the guy who brought the wide-scale base & the charismatic popular touch.
They can cover some of the ground with their school movement but they just don't have the grass-roots support that Erdogan commanded, & are not the type to generate much public sympathy.
They may well succeed toppling Erdogan but what will likely follow is chaos.
Posted by: KenM | Mar 21, 2014 10:27:11 PM | 42
Has there been a Cerise or Fuchsia revolution yet?
Posted by: Massinissa | Mar 22, 2014 12:18:56 AM | 43
More crap from ZATO. Erdoghan is moving towards Russia and clamping down on the CIA's Gulen network. Be thankful for bad men doing good things.
Posted by: Ozawa | Mar 22, 2014 4:05:56 AM | 44
Erdogan has violated a number of rules by:
- wanting to buy chinese weapons instead of weapons from NATO countries.
- Wanting to join the SCO (Russia, China)
- supported the Mavi Marmara expedition in 2010
And now Erdogan is "on its way out". Ousted by the NATO.
Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 22, 2014 4:09:22 AM | 45
It's important to understand that the Zionist entity insured Erdogan's re-election when he was way, way down in the polls pre-election. With the attack on the flotilla Israel gave him a 'gift' that allowed Erdo to win. One of the most evil campaign stunts in the history of elections I've ever seen, or heard of.
Posted by: okie farmer | Mar 22, 2014 4:21:41 AM | 46
Whatever one say about Erdogan, Gulen is way worse on the regional topics I mentioned earlier.
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 22, 2014 5:57:55 AM | 47
I tend to agree with #46 that Mavi Marmara was a staged event, ie that Erdogan and his inner cabinet knew of the crushing response intended by Israel, and that the people on board were essentially just patsies used to secure an outcome foreseen and intended by both sides, Turkey & Israel.
Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Mar 22, 2014 10:32:17 AM | 48
# 46. #48 Oh My God.
Posted by: Nora | Mar 22, 2014 1:33:14 PM | 49
Now erdogan is shoowing down a syrian jet plane.
This man is crazy.
Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 23, 2014 11:50:08 AM | 51
@46 and @48
i can go along with that. however israel would have acted that way regardless if it served erdogans best interests with the home crowd or not.. my question to both of you is this : do you think israel acted that way as it was interested in supporting erdogan, or because that is the way they typically do things anyway? maybe it is a mute point, but i think it is mostly to do with the later, not the former..
Posted by: james | Mar 23, 2014 12:01:39 PM | 52
Any chance of a new Syria thread? Interesting developments in Latakia. Turkey shoots down a Syrian plane. Takfiris take over Armenian towns near Turkey's border -- the only remaining crossing that was still in the control of the Syrian government. Erdogan seems to think that this will help his election prospects. "After all, who remembers the Armenians today?"
Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Mar 26, 2014 9:53:15 PM | 53