Blocking Minds

by    /  May 22, 2017  / Comments Off on Blocking Minds

Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since April 29, 2017. Image via the author.

Trump Welcomes Erdoğan

The Trump-Erdoğan meeting in the White House will be used to legitimize Erdoğan’s position,” argues Aslı Aydıntaşbaş in Cumhuriyet Daily on May 18, 2017. She adds that Erdoğan refuses the democratic Western values though prefers to keep some sort of market relations in economics and politics. Both presidents dislike criticism, and Trump was thrilled when Erdoğan said the American President had won a historic victory. As for the Kurdish issues, The US proposal is probably this: Let us keep giving weapons to YPG in Rakka; we’ll supply you with vital information about the PKK. As for the human rights issue, only the American priest Andrew Brunson, arrested in Izmir, was probably mentioned, dismissing all the imprisoned journalists.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
  3. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
  4. Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
  5. Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg.
  8. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom.
  9. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

Blocking Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since April 29, 2017. Ankara’s 1st Penal Court of Peace rejected the demand of the Wikipedia Foundation on May 5, 2017. The Transport Minister, Ahmet Arslan, stated that the site featuring “content creating a perception that Turkey is supporting terrorist organizations” was the reason for the block: “The misleading content was not allowed to be edited with accurate information. Since Wikipedia broadcasts in HTTPS protocol, it is technically impossible to filter by individual URL’s to block only relevant content. So the entire Wikipedia content had to be filtered.”

Some users access Wikipedia using tools such as private VPNs. Some activists have created a copy of Turkish Wikipedia on the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS).

Blocking Wikipedia is like stopping the entrance of clean air because of some flies.

ISIS Propaganda

In the meantime, widespread ISIS propaganda has been going on. Istanbul MP Eren Erdem writes, “Some Islamic scholars are publishing videos on YouTube that propagate ISIS or ‘jihad’ (in the sense of faith-based violence). Hundreds of pro-ISIS books or documents have been published. But the government is turning a blind eye.”

Erdem is a leading Muslim scholar who favors secularism and democracy and who is a Member of Parliamentarian on the center-left CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, Republican People’s Party) ranks.

On March 2, 2017, the newspaper Cumhuriyet published a piece on ISIS education centers in Ankara. The police raided a “school” in Ankara and found “organizational documents” belonging to ISIS.

ISIS supporters established “children’s schools” in Istanbul, too. Children were provided with a religious education on jihad and military training on how to use a rifle or submachine gun.

“Given Turkey’s violent crackdown on dissident media, it is getting harder and harder to investigate the criminal activities of ISIS and other Islamic organizations in Turkey,” comments Uzay Bulut in her article published by the Middle East Forum.

Blocking Minds

“The Theory (actually, the Fact) of Evolution” will no longer be mentioned in elementary or high schools. One more example of blocking the minds of children -after getting rid of Philosophy. Thus the Erdoğan-led AK Party Government (Erdoğan refuses to call himself or the government “Turkish”, so I prefer not to use that word) keeps attacking the secularist foundation of the Republic of Turkey.

Hunger Strike

Misusing the Gülenist coup attempt on July 15 last year, the Erdoğan-led AK Party Government has been eager to attack secularists, claiming ties with terrorist organizations.

Refusing the same sort of accusation, translator and academic Ms. Nuriye Gülmen and high school teacher Mr. Semih Özakça have been on hunger strike in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Gülmen and Özakça are two of nearly 4 thousand academics and 40,000 teachers dismissed by emergency decree.

On May 11, 2017, PEN International declared: “The pair has been holding a sit-in in front of Ankara’s famous Human Rights Memorial, a statue of a woman reading the Declaration of Human Rights, since December 2016. They have reported being continuously harassed by police and taken into custody 31 times . . . . [Since 8 March 8, 2017], [b]oth have reportedly lost a lot of weight and have been diagnosed with Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) by medical professionals . . . . Where no legitimate grounds are found for their dismissals, they have the right to be reinstated in their positions and the right to legal remedies.” 

PEN International invited the government to discontinue the misused emergency situation.

Protests mean vitality and hope, which should prove to be more than “a loser’s indulgence.”

About the Author

Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

View all articles by

Comments are closed.

Fearless, Ink.