Rebranding Turkey as a third world country

Rebranding Turkey as a third world country

Turkey has become a country that cannot protect the lives of its own citizens or of its foreign guests, whether tourists or diplomats. It can now compete with Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of the frequency of terror attacks and the intensity of casualties.

This is not the only thing accelerating Turkey’s slide into the category of “third world countries.”

It is not just the feeling of insecurity or instability that surrounds us. It is the feeling of hopelessness - characteristic of badly governed third world countries - that is a key indicator of where Turkey is heading.

 What is particularly concerning is the fact that the feeling of hopelessness is becoming even more widespread among the young generations.

Evrim Kuran is the Middle East director of Universum, a research group active in over 50 countries. According to a survey they conducted among the young generation, the biggest dream most had is to leave the country. 

“The second answer we came across was equally sad,” Kuran said in an interview published in daily Hürriyet last Sunday. “The answer most gave to the question ‘what is your biggest dream?’ was ‘I want to be happy.’ Being happy cannot be a dream. They feel so cornered and so unhappy that they want to be happy. They are trying to overcome the barriers of hopelessness and the lack of opportunities, but they don’t know how.”

Kuran also believes Turkey is becoming increasingly “mediocre,” which is another characteristic of third world countries. “This is not just in art and literature, but even the business community is becoming more mediocre,” she said.

Turkey’s rulers probably have no problem with this tendency, because a society where mediocracy reigns is one that is easier to rule without transparency or accountability.

Only a decade ago Turkey was the shining star of the region. Expats raced to come to Turkey and representatives of different sectors from all over the world were rushing to hold their annual meetings in Turkey. You could not find any rooms in Istanbul’s hotels.

Today, not just expats and youngsters but also older generations from the secular segments of the society want to flee Turkey. Rumors that the government could impose additional special taxes targeting higher income levels is increasing the anxiety, which no one dares to talk about publicly. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rhetoric that Turkey is under attack both from within and from without increases the fear that extraordinary measures, running against the principles of the liberal market economy, could be implemented by the government citing extraordinary  circumstances.

All these fears, which may turn out to be baseless, are in line with the patterns of a third world country. In fact, I have no doubt that many in the West have already categorized Turkey as such. 

As for those remaining in Turkey, as has been said by another colleague, either we will have to resist, run away or just get used to it.