Numerical guide to Turkish editors

Numerical guide to Turkish editors

Belgin Akaltan -
Numerical guide to Turkish editors

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Dear editors in Turkey,  

Never use the numerical phrase “52 percent” in any of your texts, even if it is an economy story. Cancel every written document which has 52 in it. Burn them if they have the complete phrase “52 percent” written in them. This number and this percentage are dangerous in Turkey these days. 

Never, ever use 51.79 percent. Also, do not use 9.76 percent and 38.44 percent, together with their sum, which is 48.2 percent or 48 percent, when it is rounded off. This is because 48 percent may imply the percentage of votes the opposition candidates, one of them being Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu (Remember Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu? We forgot his name again, didn’t we? What a name he has. It’s still difficult to remember. He’s running for office as a Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) candidate from Istanbul.)

I was a bit disappointed that he is a candidate for the MHP, but I have the same respect and value for him, his character and wisdom. And I wonder what happened to the Republican People’s Party (CHP) that they didn’t nominate him. No slots left? Maybe they forgot and never thought of him. Probably the latter. It is also being whispered that he is being touted for the prime minister’s seat in the event of a coalition. I wish. Anyway, end of parenthesis) and the other being Selahattin Demirtaş.

Yes, the percentage of votes İhsanoğlu received in the presidential elections on Aug. 10, 2014, as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s strongest opponent, together with those of the third candidate, Demirtaş, was 48.2 percent. Mentioning this number is also dangerous in Turkey these days. You may be accused of implying a military coup. You may have a court case opened against you for disgracing the president publicly, for implying that he was elected president even though 48 percent opposed him. Do you want a military regime so that he will be sentenced to death like Egypt’s ex-leader Mohamed Morsi? Are you saying that?   

When you think of Turkey and Egypt, they are so similar to each other that the magical number 52 immediately brings to mind the wish for military coups. Are you a coup plotter? If not, then stop using these numbers, 52, 48 and 52 percent.  

There was a time when a “Turkey expert” said there was a 50 percent chance of a military coup in Turkey.
I’m sure she spoke to two sources in the military or a maximum of four sources and then she came up with this percentage. The sad part is that there were Americans who believed her. There are still people who regard her as an expert. 

Americans, please take note. We are done with military coups. In Turkey there will never be any military takeovers, military regimes or any attempts or even the thought of it. The Turkish military is wise, in their own way. There is more chance of them completely resigning than staging a coup. Well, I can say there is a 50 percent chance… 

Anybody who has seen the funeral of coup leader Kenan Evren must have taken the necessary lesson. I mean, really, is there anybody left in Turkey who would ever want, support or have hopes for a military coup? How can this cliché still be used as a political tool? 

Anyways, our topic is numbers. Do not use 52 percent; do not use 48 percent. 

Another number to be avoided in printed matter in Turkey is 13. Not that it is unlucky, but Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the 12th president of Turkey; thus, mentioning 13 will mean that you have plans to topple him and replace him with the 13th president of Turkey. Even the 12 and 13 floors of high buildings should be replaced with 11a and 11b. Stay away from 13. It means a new person will replace Erdoğan whereas the truth is Erdoğan will remain the president of Turkey forever. 

Other problematic numbers in the Turkish language are 31 and 69. I guess “69” is international and everybody knows what it means. But, be on the safe side and do not use it. Round it off to 70. We are passing through critical times. If you round up 69 to 70, or just go with 99, nobody will be hurt. You will keep your peace of mind. Do not anger the press prosecutor for nothing.  

I know my non-Turkish readers are wondering what 31 is. It is the sum of 24 and 7. As the joke in the television comedy series “Two and a Half Men,” Jake as well as Herb, in a later scene, added the numbers in 24/7 and came up with 31. It is a good joke in English, but I told you it means something else in Turkish. I can’t write it here, because of reasons cited above. Ask a Turkish friend. It has something to do with treating monkey badly or something to do with Justin Bieber. Oh sorry, Bruce Willis. Anyway, google or yandex it. Write down the words “Turkish equivalent for masturbation.”   

Are you asking which cell number I would prefer in Silivri? I wish to be in 205E. Next to 204E. (They were the safest numbers I could find from 1 to 1,000,000.)