It’s a family affair over in Turkey. That is – that state’s top officials seem to be once again pitting themselves against a majority of the country’s population. Online.
And this is happening in a state where top echelons of power are what you might generously call a bunch of “control enthusiasts.”
It’s an unnerving sight perhaps to those accustomed to at least a formal semblance of a “separation of family and state.”
(Think of your president – or whoever might be the top authority – shuttering access to online networks just because somebody insulted a member of their family. If you just can’t see it – congratulations, you might actually live in a democracy.)
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But back in Turkey – President Erdogan is fighting political opponents trying to provoke him on the internet. And according to reports they seem to be very much so succeeding.
Namely, Turkey’s president and his authorities are fending off “devilish” social media users by imposing internet censorship and likely real-world consequences, such as jail time, as a legitimate way to protect Erdogan’s “family honor.”
The triggering event is also where the plot thickens. Turkey’s finance minister, Berat Albayrak – who conveniently happens to be Erdogan’s son-in-law – on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce that he and one of Erdogan’s daughters had just welcomed their fourth child.
But some internet users understood this as a cue to question the paternity of the child. Likely just for the lols.
Well – instead of taking it that way – the sequence of events sent Turkey – a NATO member and EU-membership candidate – into yet another digital censorship tailspin.
As per Turkey’s president:
“We will keep chasing these cowards who attack a family and the values they believe represented by them through a baby.”
That said – many of us born into totalitarian/cult-of-personality regimes are capable of sniffing them out as soon as we set our eyes on them – and this further quote from Erdogan happens to be very unsettling:
“These platforms do not suit this country. We want these platforms to be banned, taken under control.”
And Erdogan is warning that new legislation might be adopted that would force (Western) tech companies registered in the country to become legally accountable to Ankara as business entities.
But let’s just wait – as the likes of Facebook, YouTube, etc, are probably doing just now – and see how all this verbal bravado actually translates into any real-world action.