Was it wise to conquer the old media?
Yesterday, Dec. 25, three ministers resigned while I was writing this column. So I didn’t know if there would be more yet to come or not. But even three ministers were enough for me to think that yesterday was a day not to forget. Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Muammer Güler and Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar each announced their resignations.
I personally do believe that it is too little, too late, but it is nevertheless an important turning point for Turkish politics. Never before have we seen an authority figure resign for anything but sex tapes. If you remember; Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım didn’t resign after many people died in the first trial of a speed train. No one resigned when coal miners died. In fact, Minister Ömer Dinçer told the press that they died “beautifully without suffering.”
When I think about those events, I believe that the resignations of the three ministers are an important step to return responsibility to our institutions.
However, these things did not happen over a day.
I think that the strategy of the government to keep the old media businesses on a leash backfired immensely.
It did nothing but make people angrier when they saw penguins on major TV stations when there was fire on the streets. Naturally, they were looking for ways to communicate and learn about what’s happening. That’s where social media came into play in Turkey. People disseminated knowledge and organized through various social media outlets. The government did not understand what was happening and recruited thousands of people to attack the opposition on social media. However, it fueled the opposition even further.
Yesterday, one of the largest news stations in Turkey could not initially air the end of Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar’s speech where he resigned and invited the prime minister to resign, too. Only after Twitter and all other social media outlets became dominated with bad omens about NTV did they air the tape.
The government created a monster for themselves by resorting to methods similar to blackmail in an effort to control the old media. I believe that it was a very wrong strategy, but it proved to be beneficial for the country in the end as people are not relying on shackled media outlets anymore.