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ERSU ABLAK > We must STOP it and we must do it now

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The current government is really doing well on many fronts. I have some doubts about it but this seems to be the consensus among the intellectuals. Many think that this long-running economic boom is due to a single-party government. People believe that Turkey is not fit for anything other than a single voice, action-oriented governance style. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP, fit this bill perfectly. The Prime Minister is extremely action oriented and it helped Turkey on many fronts. However I believe that what Turkey needs right now is a more collaborative management style. Right now we need many voices and we need to ensure their safety and anonymity.

That’s where I strongly differ from the government, as most of their actions are geared towards classifying people and creating a single voice out of them.

That’s where technology comes in. The database is a holy thing. It helps the modern cooperation to file, sort and mine all the data they need. Naturally individuals are able to reap benefits too as we search for whatever from Google’s servers, for example.

Governments use them too. They have become very effective thanks to modern server and database structures. We as citizens can get our passports much easier, anything in the MERNİS database (The Central Civil Registration System) can be retrieved instantly so that we can deal with bureaucracy better. Some countries are doing it better than us but still Turkey is on the right track.

I urge governments to use state of the art technologies to help their citizens.

What I don’t urge is governments piling up information that should be kept private. The AKP government is using technology to gather private information that should be of no use to any government. And I am against it.

They gather the private information from many channels but their favorite is the family doctors. Recently we learned that the government is asking mothers about the religion of the baby, the father of the baby and whether or not the baby was conceived within a marriage or not.

Think about it. If we don’t oppose, 10 ten years later the government will have a database of those who are not Muslim, who are conceived outside of a marriage, and whose fathers are unknown.

The question is: what will the government do with this information, and why do they ask for it?

The state of the art government project MERNIS, and the information gathered from the mothers, will enable them to do cross searches into families to see who has a non-Muslim branch in their bloodline. I am furious that they can do this because of high technology. For years I promoted the use of seamless integrated web-based services to be used by government institutions but if this is why they want to use it, I don’t want it anymore. Things were better when the government didn’t have sophisticated database mining solutions.

I don’t know how, but as citizens we must stop this and we must stop this now.

April/04/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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B Medic

4/9/2013 10:48:00 AM

@Blue: What has the TPP got to do with Turkey? TPP is a trade agreement between countries that border the Pacific Ocean. Turkey is very far away from those states. How could a trade agreement between states of the other side of the World have an impact on Turkish citizens' integrity?

Blue Dotterel

4/8/2013 7:38:48 PM

With the passing of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), democracy will finally be put to rest and the world will come under corporate/banker control. The internet will be censored, and government and people put into a kind of debt servitude to the financiers. The technology to control any politically independent individuals are being quickly obtained by the global financial oligarchy that created our current crisis. It is not our governments that are the problem. They will merely be for show.

mara mcglothin

4/8/2013 6:11:08 PM

Spot on ARYEH!

Aryeh Rapaport

4/4/2013 10:18:37 PM

Dogan, You dont see religious questioning in hospitals when woman give birth! You may see other information which can later be used to market but religious questioning is not happening. In developed economies the interest is geared to locating target markets - religious has nothing to do with anything. In Turkey the interest is to find our whether they are Muslim, good Muslim or not. This is messed up and should be stopped.

dogan kemal ileri

4/4/2013 7:36:31 PM

Great article Ersu for highlighting the nanny state apparatus being enacted by the government to store statistics about its citizens, You will find however even the so called advanced democracies are also guilty as charged and in fact not only do they store more detailed information but they also market it to make material gains.Yes this has got to be stopped. We now have an ombudsman and a very good president I call on them to step in and resolve these issues.

sam stevens

4/4/2013 6:33:52 PM

I couldn't agree more Mr Ablak. It should worry you & all Turks. As an outsider looking in, I see this as another step towards an Islamic state. I fear for you & that you are a lone voice , you need to get your message out to a wider readership .

Aryeh Rapaport

4/4/2013 6:25:20 PM

Like everything technology can be used for good or bad. Turkey is using it for good & bad. I agree with your concerns- using technology to find out who is Muslim & isnt- cant be good. I would worry if any govt has such a track record. Though im worried I cant be surprised. Turks govt & policy have become Islamic- If its building more mosques, religious schools, supporting Islamists in Syria or Hamas, confronting Israel or building a database of Muslims. Turks should stop all this & NOW!
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