When two authors write the same article in Turkey
If you have been living in Turkey for some time you have probably witnessed many amazing things, such as the exact same headline appearing in six different newspapers.
Of course, all those newspapers were tied very closely to the government. Even only this should give you a hint about how ‘“free” and “transparent” the Turkish press is, but yesterday something magical happened: Two columnists from the same newspaper wrote exactly the same article on the very same day.
This is not a joke. I repeat, two columnists from the same newspaper wrote word by word the same article on the very same day. Magical, isn’t it? It does indeed mark a new level in press freedom.
We understand that Turkish journalists now really are very “free” to write exactly the same as each other. Yiğit Bulut and Nasuhi Güngör of daily Star are the two heroes of this story, and the title of the article that they both miraculously wrote at the same time is “Big Turkey - BIG ECONOMY.” Bulut is the man who claimed that Israel is trying to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with telekinesis, so maybe he made Güngör write the same thing with telepathy, who knows? Star has claimed that this was a simple mistake made by both the guys in art direction and the web masters. It might be really so; maybe the people who design the newspaper and the people who manage the website made the same mistake on the same day. But to many, this is solid proof that a central hub is servicing headlines to newspapers and articles to columnists. People believe that this has diminished the dignity of being a journalist to zero.
What is strange about this country is the fact that amid such “wonderful” governance, people and private companies really are doing great things. Just yesterday, Turkish digital agencies won three awards in the Mobile Marketing Association’s Global Smarties Awards, while the Borusan Philharmonic Orchestra was chosen as the world’s 6th best orchestra. Digital marketing spending, meanwhile, increased by 20 percent compared to last year, reaching 650 million Turkish Liras in the first six months of the year despite the economic slowdown.
I have written numerous times that with the current economic strategy, which depends solely on real estate development, Turkey will inevitably go into a recession. The country therefore needs to be more creative. However, the government chooses to oppress free thinkers and reward those who have invested in building “crazy” projects rather than those who have pursued innovation and researched technologies. The end result was Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan’s press conference yesterday, in which he noted that the growth expectations had been lowered and inflation will be higher than expected.
The digital and the creative class of this country will flourish and lead Turkey to a new economic reality if only the government would let them be as they want to be.
If the current government goes on trying to shackle anyone with a different opinion to itself and make journalists print whatever it wishes, then Turkey’s future will be even darker and its economy will be even weaker.
But the question is this: How can a government that appoints the former head of a zoo to the head of the country’s scientific and technological research hub (TÜBİTAK) understand the needs of this century?
I am losing hope as Turkey becomes more hilarious every day.