Erdoğan tells the truth but not the whole truth
There is a small percentage among the most educated, the most equipped people of this country who want to leave, and some of them do actually leave. Because they are the most equipped people of this country, if this country is to develop, it will only develop with them. Their departure is some kind of a punishment for those who stay.
For this reason, no country in the world would say, “My engineers, my master’s degree holders, my university graduates, my capital owners; they are free to leave if they want to leave.” They would do anything to keep them in the country.
I was talking to an important person last week whose name I cannot disclose. We talked about how Turkish scientists abroad can contribute here. The person I was talking to is quite close to the government and also has an affiliation with one of our universities. He said, “We have contacted many people. All of them were ready to come; however, about one and a half or two years ago, they suddenly changed their minds. They gave references to the changing climate in the country and that the country was growing away from democracy and freedoms.”
Yes, climate… The climate of freedom, the climate that generates, “Yes, I can look for my future here, freely.”
Two days ago, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also mentioned the same climate. He spoke of the development of science and the return of those brains from Turkey who are abroad.
Look what President Erdoğan said, “Instead of boasting about the past, we need to ask ourselves in every opportunity the question “Why doesn’t it happen? Why don’t we have scientists who guide world science today? What we lack, first of all, is the climate, the atmosphere, in other words, the circumstances. If today brains in several countries in the world, including Turkey, leave their countries and flock to scientific centers in the West and find what they were looking for over there, this is because of the loss of the climate. If a scientist is not free, if scientists do not feel secure, if scientists care about their maintenance more than science; then they would migrate to more convenient circumstances. We need to reconstruct this climate, build it again. We have to save science from the intervention of the state and politics, as well as from neighborhood pressure, provide an even freer platform for it.”
When President Erdoğan says “If the scientist is not free, if he or she does not feel secure,” he is making a correct diagnosis.
But, there is one factor missing: Why does the scientist not feel free? Why don’t they feel secure? Why do they think of not returning to Turkey or if they are here, why do they think of leaving?
President Erdoğan, in the same TÜBİTAK award ceremony, also said Turkish was not a “scientific language.” He said, “Let alone science, it is not possible to study philosophy with the current vocabulary of Turkish.”
These words are not completely wrong, but they are not new either.
Not being a scientific language is not the problem of Turkish alone, but for the last 60-70 years it has been the problem of all non-English languages.
We had held this debate in the 70s. President Erdoğan’s targeting the letter revolution and his criticisms are not new either.
We are a country whose intellectual environment, debate topics even discussion sentences have not changed for 40 years.
Why don’t you take a moment and evaluate it yourself, the depth and the shallowness here…