Laughing for all the wrong reasons

Laughing for all the wrong reasons

Yesterday was April 23, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Cabinet members delegated their seats to children as part of the national Children’s Day tradition, letting young children take the floor on their behalf.

According to Hürriyet Daily News, when asked whether he knew about Twitter, the day’s honorary Prime Minister Göker İnan responded “yes,” but added he did not use the social media network.

“My family does not allow me [to use Twitter]. They say I am too young,” he said. Erdoğan, who has become known for taking particular aversion to the website, responded with laughter.

“Are you waiting for me to applaud?” Erdoğan asked, before clapping his hands and laughing
A prime minister who becomes jubilant after hearing a child is not permitted by parents to use a social media channel is also the person who directs Turkey’s investment strategies.

Is it possible to hope for a second Whatsapp in Turkey?

Is it possible for Turkey to produce technology and innovation to match the USA, where the president openly suggests that the youth should be involved in social media discussions and learn about technology?

I ask to myself, why is Erdoğan laughing so hard? Is he happy that the parents put such a ban, listening to his words, making Twitter the hub for evil, or is he happy that he saw a member of youth just as he would like to have, in this child, a youngster who does not question, but obeys, a youngster who is not connected to his peers around the globe. Or is it because Erdoğan believes that he won a battle against Twitter because Twitter accepted filtering content that is shown to Turkish IP addresses?  In his eyes, I saw the pride of a man who thinks he is the victor.

I believe that he is happy and laughing about all the wrong reasons. We will see its effects in the near future. When the Eastern EU countries acquire more skilled global manufacturing jobs out of our hands, when the biggest conglomerates leave Turkey for lack of critical know-how, when there will be no more forests to burn for construction companies, he will also understand that he is laughing in vain, but in the meanwhile, the technology gap between Turkey and its northern neighbors will be so large that it will take generations to catch up.

To verify this future outlook, all Erdoğan needs to do is talk to WV executives who chose Poland instead of Turkey for their new factory.

Actually in the EU’s Turkey attractiveness report in 2013, it is also written under which conditions the FDI will likely move faster than Turkey. Among many self-satisfying comments from Turkish authorities, there is one paragraph in the report that is really objective. It goes like this: “Turkey’s future looks bright, but it needs to remove some barriers on investment. Businesses are more likely to invest in Turkey if it improves its education system, boosts innovation and makes its tax administration more efficient. To sustain its economic growth in the long term, the country needs to spread regional development beyond its traditional centers.”

The real question is this:  Would a prime minster who is happy that a child doesn’t use Twitter move towards boosting innovation, improving the education system or spreading regional development beyond its traditional centers? The answer is going to define Turkey’s future.