Sunday, July 6, 2008

Turkey in turmoil

Yesterday I had a nice encounter with Erkan, who is preparing him self for defending his thesis at Rice University in December.
His thesis is about Turkish journalism and the EU. We drove through the area north of Istanbul, close to the Balkan sea. Had lunch there and drove back to Istanbul where we continued to talk with a good glass of whiskey. We both are pessimistic about Turkish future.

The problem in Turkey nowadays is that you don't can have an opinion anymore. You are For or Against them. And with 'them' I mean: You Love Kemalism or you want to Destroy It or You Love Islamist or you want to bring them Down. And if you have an opinion somewhere in between, I bet you, you will be labeled as a 'shallow liberal'. No nuances are possible. People don't listen, don't think on their own (although they think they are independent) and don't speak out. Its not surprising that in this 'communication climate' Turkish journalists are acting the same: You are With or or Against us.

In May of this year I wrote:

"The mouthpieces of these political parties and spectators are Turkey's press groups. They are as polarized as possible with an inward-looking social ‘pecking order' and walk hand-in-hand with the conventional political parties, using the same language as the politicians whom they try to embody. By creating a media tsunami between a non-conformist, politico-religious group and a deeply-restricted, conservative-ideological one, they leave the foreign press, politicians and others in limbo, but not into the dark."
Read: 'but not into the dark'.

I am happy that Turkish media experts came to the same conclusion;

'The controversial relationship between politics and the media was once again put under scrutiny with the Ergenekon case, an investigation of an alleged secret organization plotting a coup against the government.

“There is no true, neutral and uncontaminated information regarding the Ergenekon case in the media. There is a lack of information, and a lack of information amplifies the crisis,” according to Professor Sezer Akarcalı at Ankara University's Faculty of Communication.

'According to Akarcalı, the politicization of the media and a climate where information is lacking and served to specific media groups have triggered the current chaos. “Or have those media groups that are reinforced with unshared information multiplied for these days?” he asked.

' According to Hülya Uğur, a communications expert at Galatasaray University, the media have covered the Ergenekon case as if they were publicizing their political stance.

The real problem Turkey is facing is not a coup, in what kind of form, but the continues negative and false press coverage domestically and international, if there is a press coverage...
And at the same time, Turkish journalists are not independent, cannot write according their consciences. Just think what is so influential on the Turkish mind, both the voters as the parliamentarians as well? Right, the Turkish press.

No good will come out this conflict.
Sorry to be so pessimistic.

Day opening - July 6

Hanover: Metro tram operator Uestra has invited world-famous designers and architects to enhance the looks of the system: the 'Busstops' art project of 1992 resulted in nine remarkable bus and tram stops at street level [ (PDF)]. Jasper Morrison has designed new trains in 1997, and Uestra's headquarters is a twisted cuboid by Frank O. Gehry.