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Turkish PM: "To Me, Social Media Is the Worst Menace To Society." 418

Posted by timothy
from the with-enemies-like-that dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "Turkey's prime minister on Sunday rejected claims that he is a 'dictator,' dismissing protesters as an extremist fringe even as thousands returned to the landmark Istanbul square that has become the site of the fiercest anti-government outburst in years. With Turkish media otherwise giving scant reports about the protests, many turned to social media outlets for information on the unrest. 'There is now a menace which is called Twitter,' Erdogan said. 'The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.' 'The people are finally standing up, speaking up and fighting for their rights,' said Hakan Tas, a deputy for the Left Party in Berlin's local assembly, who took part in the protest."
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Turkish PM: "To Me, Social Media Is the Worst Menace To Society."

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:20PM (#43890871)
    Dictators don't like free speech for many reasons. Someone else would do a better job of listing them than me.
  • To me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:21PM (#43890875) Journal
    For me, Ergodan sounds likes a real menace to turkish society.
  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:28PM (#43890925)
    Near-revolution brewing in an American ally, and nearly zero mention on the home pages of CNN, Fox or MSNBC.

    We now return you to the Kardashians. Sigh.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:35PM (#43890963) Homepage Journal

    Near-revolution brewing in an American ally, and nearly zero mention on the home pages of CNN, Fox or MSNBC.

    I think you answered your own implied question. Turkey is a designated Good Guy, and therefore this can't possibly be that important. Until and unless they become a designated Bad Guy (which can happen very quickly) in which case this will immediately become a Vital Struggle For Freedom against the Worst Dictatorship In Human History.

  • Re:To me... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:45PM (#43891015)

    Religious, and therefote not to be trusted on ANYTHING .. if he said that it was sunny outside, I'd check based on his religious nature. All religions are evil - his is the absolute worst.

  • Re:To me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Somebody Is Using My (985418) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:45PM (#43891023) Homepage

    He's just saying aloud what a lot of world leaders are thinking.

    The internet has created a revolution in information dispersment. No longer do the the Powers That Be have a lock on the news. Even before the Internet, of course, people could bypass the regime's total control of the media (e.g., Soviet samizdats) but even then distribution issues limited how widely alternate views could be spread. Now, thanks to the Internet, it is cheap and easy for anyone to post information onto the internet, and even easier for other people to read it. This isn't without its own problems - both in the flood of available knowledge and the lack of fact-checking - but on the whole it has radically challenged how regimes control what their populace knows and thinks. And this frightens them incredibly.

    Ergodan is just voicing what many other rulers - be they third-world dictators or first-world politicians - believe in their hearts. If they had their way, they'd roll things back to the 1980s, before the Internet revolution threw everything into flux.

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:06PM (#43891137)

    As extra information: going from designated Good Guy to designated Bad Guy does not need any change or adaption from the designated Guy. It just kinda happens.

  • Re:Honestly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Longjmp (632577) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:17PM (#43891199)

    If you disagree, feel free to abuse the mod system and mod me down.

    If I hadn't commented already, I would mod you down as troll.
    Not because of your opinion, but because you fail to explain why you feel he's right.
    Using your karma cushion is a poor example of expressing your opinion.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:39PM (#43891361) Homepage Journal

    That means every society. Mass media is tied to mass manipulation too. No country is safe from it, sometimes is their government that does it, sometimes the private sector (from advertising agencies to big corporations), and sometimes foreign government agencies. Why waste soldiers if you can make people from the target country do the dirty work for you? Look what keeps happening in most middle east countries for a practical example.

    And if you think the US people is safe from that kind of manipulation, or that only follow what is good for them, remember Boston.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:42PM (#43891379)
    You should have the right to protest whatever regardless of your citizenship. Human rights are still human rights, this idea that we shouldn't care about and we shouldn't (peacefully!) try to do something about X has lead to some of the worst abuses in power in history. We are all humans and it is in all of our best interests that basic rights to self-expression, freedom of religion and the right of self-ownership are protected. Why should I care about sex-slavery in Africa? After all, I don't live in Africa, I'm white and I'm also male. Why should I care about what's happening in Syria? After all, I'm not Islamic and I'm not middle eastern and don't live in Syria. Heck, we can go even further, why should I care about the holocaust? I'm not Jewish, I don't live in Germany. Why should I care about the civil rights movement? I'm not black.

    Rights need to be protected no matter who is violating them. The protection of human rights in Turkey is a cause that all liberty-minded individuals need to take note of and support no matter where their geographical location is, what race they are and whatever country you "legally belong to", because what happens to one human, affects us all.
  • by sanman2 (928866) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:56PM (#43891459)

    And the next step beyond dictatorship will be a Caliphate

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:01PM (#43891487) Homepage Journal

    Near-revolution brewing in an American ally, and nearly zero mention on the home pages of CNN, Fox or MSNBC.

    We now return you to the Kardashians. Sigh.

    front page of cnn.
    front page of bbc.

    the only place where they aren't covering it as much is inside turkey, though even there pm has made statements about it to media.

    you know what happens? dimwits read on social media that it's not reported and they don't even fucking check the news! because they don't read the news!

  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:01PM (#43891489) Homepage

    The police is reacting extremely violent in the protests against Erdogan, the Turkish prime Minister. Streets were littered with tear gas canisters. Several people have been killed or shot and who knows how many people are wounded.
    In the mean time CNN Turkey is showing a documentary about penguins and also other news organisations in Turkey are ignoring the protests.

    Facebook and Twitter do indeed play an important role in the protests. For instance it helps organize medical aid for wounded and communication about the severe cases that need urgent help and need to be transported to a hospital.

  • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:28PM (#43891673) Journal
    Bear in mind what Erdogan himself had to say about the democratic process: "Democracy is like a bus, you ride it until you reach your destination, then you get off". He wouldn't be the first dictator to be elected by popular vote, then use whatever means that lie to hand to stay in power. He has already made the first moves: go after the opposition, jail dangerous opponents (in Turkey, this means army generals who have a strong tradition of keeping the nation secular), and bring the press under even tighter control.

    Not all Islamic nations are dictatorships, but most of them are. And almost all of them are distinctly unpleasant places to live if you happen to be a non-Muslim or a woman with liberal ideas. By the way, Turkey is not a Muslim country, not all of it. You'll see more headscarves and burkas in London or Amsterdam than some of the large cities in Turkey.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:55PM (#43891861)

    That's the biggest problem with advocating for democracy so hard. Without significant constitutional restraints meant to protect minority rights, majority tyranny will trample anyone not holding the most popular view. Limited government with respect for personal freedoms is needed for any democracy to flourish. Without those protections people will still be oppressed by the government, just not the majority.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @07:41PM (#43892451)

    A dictator is a ruler who does not rule through democratic means.

    This means that if a ruler, who is loved by 99.9% of the population, kills the remaining 0.1% without trial, he is a dictator.

    That is NOT what "democratic" means. Democratic just means elected by majority rule. It does not mean "fair trial" or anything else. So if someone is elected by a majority that wants the minority tortured and exterminated, that is the democratic outcome, and he is NOT a dictator, at least by the definition that you cite.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @08:40PM (#43892699)

    Lest someone mods you up - you're utterly wrong. Republic: []. Democracy: []. For some reason, right wingers are pushing this idea, when it is completely, and utterly wrong. Not only that, but it completely muddles the discussion about what makes a dictatorship a dictatorship, what makes a decision by the ruler/ruling party illegitimate but not illegal, etc.

    In short, you're creating an ideological environment in which dictatorships are more probably in the US, rather than less.

  • by tftp (111690) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @09:33PM (#43892881) Homepage

    There's no technical reason why we all can't get more democratic now.

    True democracy, the one that you describe, requires educated population that votes according to knowledge, not by emotions, or fears, or empty promises.

    Greek democracies were small in scope (such as a single city.) It was easier to keep the demos informed. Today, on scale of the USA or a similarly sized country, it is all but impossible to educate every voter on every small issue. Just consider the waste of time! Instead of a hundred hired administrators we have to have a hundred million! Voting on most issues would become nearly automatic, and most people would defer to the position of their party - who does the thinking for them and tells them how to vote. How would that be different from what we have today, modulo the dumb button-pushing?

    The complexity of governing is well illustrated by about any law that is adopted today. Obamacare stands out, of course - even the elected congressmen haven't read it. How would anyone be able to keep up with changes that are checked in by tens of teams? When Pelosi said "âoeWe have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it" she meant that only the final law can be meaningfully studied. It also highlighted the absurdity of the lawmaking process, that is so much out of control that were it C code, the tree would never compile. You can always ask millions of voters what they think about the law that changes as they are reading it, but you won't be able to print the answers. The legalese would fly over the heads of at least 100% of the population. (Those who can parse it are the rounding error.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @10:22PM (#43893077)

    Greek democracies were small in scope (such as a single city.) It was easier to keep the demos informed. Today, on scale of the USA or a similarly sized country, it is all but impossible to educate every voter on every small issue. Just consider the waste of time!

    yeah, you're clearly better off watching American Idol/The Voice/Killer Karaoke/the latest pop-star drama etc etc than getting educated about the world around you and how it really works. If Fox/CNN/MSNBC etc etc suddenly became true investigative journalism channels, things would change for the better, but i'm not holding my breath

    The way most people spend their lives these days on ephemeral thrills is the real waste of time as they leave the world a slightly worse place that it could have been.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @10:43PM (#43893159)

    Plenty of Turkish citizens think he is a dictator, regardless of what you, or any Americans, say.

    The democratic process can theoretically remove him, but in practice, as we saw in the last election, he controls the police, the judges, the election system, the government contracts, the media, and the money, so it's not easy even if he doesn't have a majority.

    His latest gambit is to change the constitution from a parlimentary to presidential system... with himself as president.

    Turkey is not almost a member of the EU. The EU doesn't want Turkey, and Erdogan doesn't really want the EU. He played the EU card to get the votes of moderates early on. What he really wants is to be the leader of a Middle East Union, a return to the Ottoman Caliphate.

    But what do I know, I'm just a (Turkish) American.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:06PM (#43893243)

    You are going way off tangent to show that any religious movement is essentially "extremist". It's not. Extremist is a word with a clear set of definitions. Just following religion in governance is not any of the definitions.

    At worst you could reasonably claim he's building a theocracy. But theocracy isn't incompatible with democracy in any way - if majority of constituents want a state with legislation based off any set of ethics, including religious set of ethics, they are fully within their rights to implement such a state while remaining democratic, provided majority of constituents support such a state. For example the birthplace of modern democracy, Greek Polis city states were more often then not theocratic in nature due to the fact that religion was a major power and driver in everyday life of any human being living in organized societal structure. This not only didn't prevent them from being democratic, but in fact essentially gave birth to democracy as we know it.

  • by tftp (111690) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:07PM (#43893249) Homepage

    yeah, you're clearly better off watching American Idol/The Voice/Killer Karaoke/the latest pop-star drama etc etc than getting educated about the world around you and how it really works.

    You say that in jest, but as matter of fact every individual, within a limited time period, is better off pleasuring himself rather than doing hard work for betterment of the society. That's how Roman Empire fell, and many other empires, before and after. This is what the USA is doing currently, gorging on credits that will never be paid back. Sticking the children with the bill is the way to go today, as it seems.

    It certainly doesn't help that MSM provides only those opinions that they want you to have. If you want to become educated about how the world works, you have to read subversive literature, such as Federalist Papers and the US Constitution. Then you should read far more to understand what's the difference between "then" and "now." Exposure to foreign cultures and political processes is highly desired, otherwise the chickens will be eagerly voting for Colonel Sanders. (This process can be easily demonstrated by stepping on a garden rake, repeatedly.)

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:18PM (#43893293)

    You are referring to concept of modern freedoms. These have nothing to do with democracy. If majority views that a type of freedom is offensive to them, they can vote to repel it, or pick representatives that will repel such a freedom. What you're seeing in Turkey is rejection of Western model of secularism which was advocated by Kemal Ataturk (yes, I'm intimately familiar with Turkish history going as far as early Ottoman empire for reasons I would rather not disclose here). Historically, the guardians of these freedoms were the military which had to disband the parliament every time islamists got majority and started to repel secularist freedoms, until recently when majority that didn't want these freedoms voted Erdogan's party into leadership yet again (after it was disbanded several times by military and reformed). Such parliamentary disbands were essentially anti-democratic military coups where democratically elected government was overthrown by powerful military.

    Example: US and its current ability to imprison people indefinitely under anti-terrorist laws. After 9/11 enough US people of voting aged judged that freedom to have a fair trial in reasonable amount of time was no longer on the list of freedoms they wish to have. So this freedom was repelled democratically.

    There are many similar examples across the world. Turkish situation for last couple of decades at least is essentially a struggle between democratic movement that wants to repel secularist policies and freedoms it deems degenerate and offensive and powerful military that kept overthrowing democratically elected governments every time they tried to repel these freedoms. And now the democratically elected government finally succeeded in reigning military in.

    Remember: democracy is not advocacy of freedoms.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:27PM (#43893329)

    Aye, just like in the bible and torah. And there are plenty of communities in US that live by same rules.

    Did you have a point other then that organized religion with roots in judaism is inherently degenerate from secular point of view of a modern Western citizen? Because we're talking about a completely different topic.

    That said if that was your point, I do agree completely.

  • by rich_hudds (1360617) on Monday June 03, 2013 @05:44AM (#43894459)
    People forget that the rule of law, a free press and an independent judiciary are all pre-requisites to a functioning democracy.

    I'd rather live in a non democratic country that had all of those, such as 19th century England, than in a supposedly democratic country which didn't.

    Installing democracy without the necessary counter balances is dangerous.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]