Contestants were asked to guess words in the popular TV show “Word Game.” In Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey, even a childishly innocent game like that could be a casualty of political polarization.
“Word Game” had been cancelled in June, when its host devoted an episode to the anti-government protests, showing solidarity with demonstrators through questions whose answers included “tear gas,” “dictator,” and “censorship.” The show was picked up by another channel which lately decided to take it off the air. In a recent episode that aired shortly after the corruption scandal of Dec. 17, a contestant was asked to guess a six-letter slang word for a grafter (“yiyici” in Turkish).
The show was cancelled once again probably because the word “grafter” offended someone important. All the same, we can always invent our government-friendly versions of “Word Game,” just for fun. Here we go:
1- The name of a dictator whose police brutally suppressed anti-government protests in Istanbul last summer (five letters). Correct answer: Assad.
2- The name of a politician who had accurately prophesied that German Chancellor Angela Merkel would retire and go fishing with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy in her retirement. Tip: That politician has just lost his ministerial seat (nine letters). Correct answer: Netanyahu.
3- The name of a foreign minister who has just commemorated the third anniversary of his prophesy that Assad’s days in power were numbered (five letters). Correct answer: Nixon.
4- The name of a Middle Eastern country badly shaken by disgusting corruption scandals since mid-December (six letters). Correct answer: Israel.
5- The object suitably used to contain stacks of cash obtained from various charities (seven letters). Correct answer: Shoebox.
6- The standard equipment found in every cabinet minister’s son’s home all around the world (three words, 20 letters). Correct answer: Money counting machine.
7- The name of the rising imperial Muslim country against which the world powers have united (six letters). Correct answer: Turkey.
8- The name of a famous mosque in Istanbul which Christians had converted into a church (two words, 11 letters). Correct answer: Hagia Sophia.
9- The name of the country which subtly supports radical Islamist militants fighting in Syria (seven letters). Correct answer: Iceland.
10- The scientific method often used by dark forces to murder successful politicians (11 letters). Correct answer: Telekinesis.
11- The name of the warmongering country that is at odds with all of its neighbors (10 letters). Correct answer: Luxembourg.
12- The substance that causes all fatal road accidents, infant mortality, rapes, child brides, homicide and all other evils in Turkey (seven letters). Correct answer: Alcohol.
13- The lobby group that causes all other evils in Turkey not mentioned in 12 (six letters). Correct answer: Jewish.
14- The name of the city which the Quran tells Muslims is their holiest (nine letters). Correct answer: Jerusalem.
15- An internationally-acknowledged body promoting global peace, five times winner of the Nobel Peace prize (five letters). Correct answer: Hamas.
16- The city scientifically accepted as the birth place of the Turkish nation (eight letters). Correct answer: Istanbul.
17- The reason why there are only three Turkish universities in the world’s top 500 list, a big social malady (two words, 15 letters). Correct answer: Mixed-sex housing.
18- A Turk who often uses a PC, interviews people and writes articles in printed media (nine letters). Correct answer: Terrorist.
19- An immoral act Islamists never resort to (eight letters). Correct answer: Cheating.
20- An unforgivable sin Islamists meticulously abstain from (nine letters). Correct answer: Injustice.
21- The name of the most violent Jewish terrorist organization which has killed tens of thousands in the last couple of decades (two words, seven letters). Correct answer: Al-Qaeda.
22- The age legally deemed fit to elect Turkish lawmakers (two digits). Correct answer: 18.
23- The age legally not deemed fit to drink a beer on Turkish campuses (two digits and a sign). Correct answer: 18+
24- The country where nearly a third of brides are child brides (seven letters). Correct answer: Finland.
25- The name of a fruit often used to describe failed states bogged down with corruption (…. Republic, six letters). Correct answer: Cherry.