Zeynep Zileli Rabanea writes: When it comes to being resourceful to overcome challenges, Turks always find a way. They have the humour, quick wittedness, and a soul rebellious enough to make their voice heard. But most importantly they have experience with censorship and bullying intimidation tactics by those in power.
On March 20, Facebook was full of numbers posted by Turkish users. The call was for Twitter users to change their DNS settings to 188.8.131.52 – 184.108.40.206 in order to continue having access to the widely used social media site in Turkey, which had been shut down upon Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s orders. Twitter’s “crime” was being the platform where audio recordings showing corruption in Erdogan’s inner circle were circulating.
With a week left before municipal elections in Turkey, Erdogan’s decision is not a foolish move politically. Erdogan had come to power in the first place by cleverly playing on Turkish people’s sense of pride, and now relies again on the same “us against them” strategy.
Although Erdogan has many critics because of his actions of intimidation, he has just as many supporters who get off on his talks that tap into the country’s long felt inferiority complex against the West, and at home against the western half of Turkey.
One of Erdogan’s talents is knowing how to play on the weaknesses of his public. This was exactly the message in a speech delivered one week before the elections: “Twitter, schmitter! We will wipe out all of these… The International community can say this or that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.”
A statement which received cheers from a frenzied audience. [Continue reading…]