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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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Technically he's not a dictator, just trying to take the next step to become one.

      • by sanman2 (928866) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:56PM (#43891459)

        And the next step beyond dictatorship will be a Caliphate

        • by gtall (79522) on Monday June 03, 2013 @05:17AM (#43894385)

          Precisely. The head of Jordan, King Abdullah, gave a wide ranging interview not long ago. He said Morsi of Egypt had no depth (no shit, Dr. Obvious). But he also said Erdogan thinks of Democracy as a bus ride. When he reaches his destination, he'll get off. My guess is that Erdogan will continue to use Democracy to push Turkey into a religious nutjob state, and when the final rebellion takes place, he'll be no better than Assad claiming outside terrorists are undermining Turkey, hence the special Gestapo tactics he'll employ will have been made necessary. History will have produced yet one more religious zealot who thinks everything he does is an extension of the hand of G-d....or Allah...whatever...it doesn't matter which one he invokes...I just hope it isn't the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I don't want to believe His Noodliness would condone that sort of behavior.

      • by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:04PM (#43891505)

        He's not a dictator in any sense. A majority of Turks are very clearly supportive of him. There is very little doubt about this.

        The issue here is the conflict between the urban and rural folks in Turkey. Rural areas are not really developed, thickly populated and essentially exist in conditions that modern urban dweller would find atrocious, similar to those found in early 1900s. But to them, that is normal existence and all they know. Also to them islam is the way of life, like christianity was a way of life to farmers of late early 1900s in USA. These people will vote for islamic parties and they are in a clear majority in Turkey. As a result, every attempt to institute democracy in Turkey led to rise of islamist movements. Western dogma has for long been suppression of democratic movement in order to prevent this through installation of various dictators.

        Essentially Turkey is going through the same thing that Arab Spring nations went through, but instead of requiring a military/rebellious deposition of installed leaders, they succeeded in stripping power from the guardian of secular society (army) via democratic legislative process after a few tries.

        The people protesting are the urban minority who learned to enjoy the pleasures of secular Turkey that doesn't exist outside large cities. Ergodan is representing his constituents in his actions, as a democratic leader should.

        That is the reality of democracy: it's the image of the people. If most voting people of the nation are rural farmers that live in a strict religious society, then democracy will eventually evolve into society that favors them over everyone else unless certain safeguards are in place to prevent this. Because in its core, democracy is nothing but dictatorship of majority.

        And in Turkey, majority is currently clearly calling the shots and wants secular elements of society that it views as degenerate removed.

        • by seyyah (986027) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @05:32PM (#43891705)

          He's not a dictator in any sense. A majority of Turks are very clearly supportive of him. There is very little doubt about this.

          Very true. Most protestors don't want to admit it, but it is the case (or at least was the case at election time).

          The issue here is the conflict between the urban and rural folks in Turkey. Rural areas are not really developed, thickly populated and essentially exist in conditions that modern urban dweller would find atrocious, similar to those found in early 1900s.

          This is not entirely correct. A large base of AK Parti support comes from a new weathly ubran elite that has been nurtured by the current government at the expense of both the traditional secular elites and the traditional leftist opposition, who both despise Erdogan. But the AKP has pushed their agenda too far and their crackdown on the media has been pretty atrocious. But they were especially foolish in misjudgoing what the reaction there would be to this particular instance of deploying the always violent police against peaceful protestors. If nothing else, one can hope that all this will result in the police being brought in line since they currently act with impunity.

        • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @08:51PM (#43892735)

          He's not a dictator in any sense. A majority of Turks are very clearly supportive of him. There is very little doubt about this.

          The issue here is the conflict between the urban and rural folks in Turkey. Rural areas are not really developed, thickly populated and essentially exist in conditions that modern urban dweller would find atrocious, similar to those found in early 1900s. But to them, that is normal existence and all they know. Also to them islam is the way of life, like christianity was a way of life to farmers of late early 1900s in USA. These people will vote for islamic parties and they are in a clear majority in Turkey. As a result, every attempt to institute democracy in Turkey led to rise of islamist movements. Western dogma has for long been suppression of democratic movement in order to prevent this through installation of various dictators.

          Essentially Turkey is going through the same thing that Arab Spring nations went through, but instead of requiring a military/rebellious deposition of installed leaders, they succeeded in stripping power from the guardian of secular society (army) via democratic legislative process after a few tries.

          The people protesting are the urban minority who learned to enjoy the pleasures of secular Turkey that doesn't exist outside large cities. Ergodan is representing his constituents in his actions, as a democratic leader should.

          That is the reality of democracy: it's the image of the people. If most voting people of the nation are rural farmers that live in a strict religious society, then democracy will eventually evolve into society that favors them over everyone else unless certain safeguards are in place to prevent this. Because in its core, democracy is nothing but dictatorship of majority.

          And in Turkey, majority is currently clearly calling the shots and wants secular elements of society that it views as degenerate removed.

          First of all, I am Turkish and I have been living abroad for longer than 10+ years. What I am telling you here is probably not even mentioned in the Western media which is just as crooked as the Turkish media is right now. You have no knowledge of the facts and what you are saying does not even make sense.

          RTE not a dictator "in any sense"? Give me a break. This is a ruthless dictator who had so many reporters, university professors and high command of the Turkish Army/Air Force/Navy arrested and jailed with frivolous lawsuits all the while telling people that he "would be the prosecutor of these lawsuits" (in his own words).
          To give you an idea, more than 50% of the Navy high command is in jail. There's about 100+ reporters in jail and the professors in jail are too numerous to name one by one. Two of the accused (one was the editor in chief of a major newspaper and the other one was a professor of medicine) were elected as Members of the Parliament (for whom there is immunity with the exception of murder) and despite that they are still in jail after 5 years with no proven guilt whatsoever. The prosecution is asking for a lifetime sentence for almost all the accused and all they can present as evidence is a bunch of fake CDs with totally inconsistent bizarre documents (already proven to be fake) allegedly proving that there was a plot to overthrow the ruling government and these folks were the masterminds of it. To top it all of, they were given a mere two hours to defend themselves for the final "closing arguments". Think about it: someone is asking you to be thrown to jail for life and all you've got is a mere two hours for your defense!

          Just search for "Ergenekon" and/or "Balyoz" on Google and you will see what I mean. Before becoming the mayor of Istanbul (which was a long time ago), RTE and his family was just another low to middle class family and now he is richer than the Queen of England. Of course, that must all be by the sweat of his brow ;). How else would that be possible? Before being elected a member of the parliament, there were s

          • 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:38PM (#43890975)

      You mean islamic dictator ... Turkey has been a secular country since Ataturk, the people see this moron trying to re-islamicise them and don't want to give their freedoms up. The islamic leaders know that the inevitable outcome of freedom means that their influence wanes - they them try to brutalise the people back into line... hardline islamic scum - the biggest threat to world peace that there is

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      Not a dictator, and he is right in many ways.

      so many people use facebook and twitter as an echo chamber, only associating with those with similar views and beliefs, much like normal life, but to a far more extreme degree. in real life you still must interact with those of more rational, or different views. in FB/Twitter you can completely tune it out, and all you get is a constant feeback loop of BS and deception. its actively helping people to become MORE partisan, MORE extremist, LESS rational.

      so really,

    • The side-effect of free speech is people are gullible and stupid, and so you can spread lies and half-truths. Manipulation of how you cover issues is a good way to confuse people.

      For example, here in my city we had a mayor hire a contractor to run business process analysis on the school system and figure out how they can spend $13,000/student/year and yet have half as many books as they need, no technology in classrooms, decaying desks, underpaid teachers, and a 50% graduation rate. When it came time to

  • 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.
    • Re:To me... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:38PM (#43890977) Homepage Journal
      He was once jailed for opposing religious extremism (albeit somewhat crudely), ended a war with the Kurds by enacting laws encouraging tolerance, opposes the Syrian regime, and improved relations with Greece. Turkey is bizarro land: the conservatives are interested in relatively secular Westernization, and the force of change it opposes is religious. Even if he's forceful or brutish, I think most people here would actually support him.
      • ...nevermind; total mixed bag. Still, he's done a couple things right.
      • Thats what happens when your a country who serves as the gateway between modern, progressive, secular and enlightened thought, and backward, conservative, theocratic, & medieval thought.
    • 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.

    • Going the way of Egypt, but what or who will follow if and when he falls?
  • Forget the plans to replace the park (the last remaining public park with trees in the city) with yet another shopping mall. That's all the protesters want! It's all over real estate developers wanting to bulldoze a park.

    JUST LET THEM HAVE THE PARK!

    • I have to wonder who green-lighted the plan in the first place. Especially in the summer heat, it's not the sort of city where you find yourself going "Damn, this place is plagued by trees, where can I find a good, soothing mall?"

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        I have to wonder who green-lighted the plan in the first place. Especially in the summer heat, it's not the sort of city where you find yourself going "Damn, this place is plagued by trees, where can I find a good, soothing mall?"

        the pr.. the dic.. the PM probably saw someone drinking with a blonde in the park..

    • by rvw (755107)

      Forget the plans to replace the park (the last remaining public park with trees in the city) with yet another shopping mall. That's all the protesters want! It's all over real estate developers wanting to bulldoze a park.

      JUST LET THEM HAVE THE PARK!

      GIve them a finger, and they'll take an arm! A real dictator cannot give in. They stepped on his penis, now he needs to show his power. He doesn't give shit about that park. Democracy is just like a busline for him. I don't remember the proper quote, cannot find it, but it's all about playing along till the right station comes along. Hopefully the Turkish people realize that it's still possible to throw him out?!

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      but then they have won.

      but you know something about social media? there's so many people now who don't read news unless they're on social media as well. it's kinda sad and ridiculous.
      but well shown over the weekend when I've seen 20+ posts about how big media is supposedly having a blackout on the turkish protests.

      they are not. it's the number 1 international story right now. even fox news has articles about it and everywhere else it's front page stuff.

      • The Turkish media is said to be under reporting it, those 20+ posts just got their facts ballsed up and are now telling everyone how much news they read.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Well no. That's what the original protesters wanted. These protesters want something else. Probably for cops to not kill people over a protest about a park.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:22PM (#43890891) Journal

    Is this magical alternate reality where twitter is the most menacing issue of the day accepting applications? It must be pretty nice to have solved so many actual problems!

  • 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.

      • 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.

      • by ianare (1132971)

        I seriously doubt Turkey will be made into a bad guy. They're a NATO member and the only muslim majority country in the region with a healthy economy and political stability. They are also a needed conter-weight to Iran and are crucial in resolving the civil war in Syria. Never mind that Erdogan was democratically elected.

    • by Teun (17872)
      Just to be sure I checked the Internationaland Europe homepages of CNN and yes, this news is on top.
    • by silviuc (676999)
      Well, the US gov. sure liked the Egyptian dictator too. At least they are consistent...
    • 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.

      picture galleries on foxnews. THIS IS THE BIGGEST FUCKING LIE OF THE WEEKEND! THAT THE MEDIA WASN'T COVERING IT! THEY FUCKING ARE!!
      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!

  • As and deceiver with thirst for power finds out, knowledge and information is the enemy. No surprise.

  • Dammit... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeNut (85398) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:29PM (#43890933) Homepage

    Now I have to like Twitter :(

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:30PM (#43890939) Homepage Journal

    ... he'd have had support from a substantial portion of the Slashdot readership.

    • by Longjmp (632577)

      If only he'd said "Facebook" ...

      I know you are joking, but he wants to silence free speech and people spreading it.
      Maybe even slashdotters would vote for facebook in this case.

      • Maybe even slashdotters would vote for facebook in this case.

        Quite seriously, given the virulent hatred many /.ers seem to have for FB, I wouldn't count on it.

  • Every society... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eirenarch (1099517) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:39PM (#43890981)

    Every society that can be destroyed by social media should be.

    • 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.

    • Every society that can be destroyed by social media should be.

      B-but? Isn't that all of them? Moderation is key.... I would revise the statement in the light I think you meant it:
      Any power hierarchy that can be destroyed by factual information should be.

  • Dictators don't like it when people can communicate.
  • by Anarchduke (1551707) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:43PM (#43891007)
    Ha, wait till he visits 4chan
  • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:45PM (#43891017)

    I suppose its only fair to link to some of the social media photos [tumblr.com].

  • Obviously for different reasons.

    It creates zombies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 02, 2013 @03:56PM (#43891089)

    Last week, at a metro station in capital city of Turkey, a couple who we were hugging and kissing, warned by officers. Next day, about 50 people protested it, one of them injured with a knife by an extreme islamist.
    Today in the same speech with his comments about twitter, to a question about this incident, he replied as "yes, i support officer; people must obey moral rules!"

  • To be fair, this is out of context... the Berlin Left Part member Hakan Tas is not even Turkish, participated in the protest, and wasn't arrested. How many countries allow foreign nationals to protest against the government of a country for which they are not a citizen?

    In addition, the thing that's pissing most people off there is not that they are removing trees, it's that they plan to build a mosque in the area.

    • by prefec2 (875483)

      He is born in Turkey and migrated to Germany at the age of 14. No doubt he has still strong ties to his old country and feels as much to Turkish as German. Actually why make a big fuss about it? And especially about his nationality. If German laws would not prohibit double nationalities (there are some exceptions), he would be most likely still Turkish and German.

    • by Teun (17872)

      How many countries allow foreign nationals to protest against the government of a country for which they are not a citizen?

      As long as it is peaceful all civilised countries will allow such or any other protest.

    • How many countries allow foreign nationals to protest against the government of a country for which they are not a citizen?

      All of the free ones. Including the US.

  • Social media is a tool no different than any other tool. People who go out of their way to understand the tools they use rarely encounter problems with them. But like an inexperienced driver climbing behind the wheel after having "only a few" drinks, too many people browse social media sites as if every word is fact, unaware that nearly everything written online should be taken with a healthy dose of skepticism. But there's no helping people who will believe a FB group about the moon landing being fake w
  • Social Media is a tool that can be used by both sides.

    What this guy has done to stop a bunch of people defending a park from destruction deserves prison time but a bigger offense is how little western media is reporting on it as they could have stopped this already. Because of this he will win this battle through force of arms alone, already a number of his people have died hopefully the number will remain low but 1 is already too many.

    He will in the end loose the country and be forced to answer for h
  • I'm sure that what he really wanted to say was: "Social media is the biggest threat to my government".

    Because in that case, I agree.

  • by Pecisk (688001) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @04:35PM (#43891337)

    Because it destroys artifical fabric of society they try to create - as they would have any chance in this. In same time they enjoy their social networks (trough websites and tv) which allows them to live in bubble of selective memory.

    Also for what I have heard for last five years, quite big part of Turkish society has all reasons to hate current goverment. Yes, they are democractically elected, but that doesn't mean they can't listen to opposition. They have to - if they want to stay longer in their place.

    And using full blown police against peacful protest will fireback any time. Trust me.

  • 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.

  • Say what you will about reddit, they're just another community information outlet. This post explains what's going on pretty well, [reddit.com] and gives insight as to why the issue won't easily be resolved.

    See, it's not all idiots. There users have the capability classify and sort and let good discussions and explanations bubble up, without the daft as rocks editorial approval required (like here), but you have to know where to look. [reddit.com]

  • I imagine most dictators don't like any tool which gives people the power of communication.

  • Having elections doesn't mean you have a democracy if your elected representative behaves like a dictator.

  • by dclydew (14163) <dclydew@gmail.com> on Monday June 03, 2013 @04:41AM (#43894279)

    I live in Turkey currently (American living abroad) and its not at all an "Islamic" country. The people are very tolerant of pretty much everything and most (not all) of the Muslims are extremely liberal/secular when compared to many other Islamic social groups. For example, I've seen Imam's, Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis sharing coffee and conversation with each other and a couple of gay men that had nowhere else to sit in the coffee house. Maybe 20% of the women in my area wear headscarves, no burkas or anything like that... and they'll happily have conversations with women in mini skirts and bikinis (hey its a beach town :) ). Most of the Turks drink alcohol, they have some good beers and almost everyone drinks raki (anise liquor). When the mosque calls for prayers, most of the Muslims around here go about their daily life. Many don't ever attend Mosque.

    That being said the AKParty acts much like the GOP in the US. They stay in power because there is a strong Anatolian middle class of conservatives and the AKP constantly make noises to maintain their support. A few months ago they made a lot of noise about outlawing abortion, nothing came of it, but the AKP poll numbers went up. The same for the recent anti-alcohol law... "no shop sales after 10 PM and before 6 AM" but you can still go to restaurants and bars with no problem until 5 AM or whenever they finally close.

    While the CHP (the left wing, secularist) party is setting itsself up as the 'secular' alternative to the AKP... they tend to be ultra nationalists. The military has, more than once overthrown the government via a coup and taken control of the country, because the military didn't like the way the government was acting. The CHP tend to be Kemalists (following Ataturks views), but they have a pretty poor track record with other kinds of human rights. Kurds, for example, were treated worse under the CHP and military lead governments than under the AKP. The CHP would have no problem jailing people for speaking against Ataturk or Turkey... and actually kicked an author out of the country for writing a book that included support for the claim that the Ottomans in the beginning off the 20th century were responsible for the Armenian genocide (the nationalist position is that it was a war and lots of people on both sides died).

    For some the AKP has provided more freedom. For example, until recently, women were not allowed to wear the headscarf in public institutions (schools, colleges, etc.) and women who kept the headscarf had many fewer job options.

    Basically the situation in Turkey is a question of balancing extremism on both sides of governance with the more moderate public. There is no simple answer.

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