Acrobat, thieves, deception

Acrobat, thieves, deception

Advances in VOIP (voice over IP) communications technologies not only made local or international connections far cheaper than land or mobile lines could make possible, but brought audiovisual capabilities to such levels as if the entire world is meeting in the study room or at the breakfast table.

Advances in the telecommunications and electronics sectors, of course, made it far easier for people who make a living eavesdropping others and the tyrannical regimes obsessed with learning what each and every subject is doing, how and with whom. All through the past many years I wanted to believe in the city legend that by typing in a certain code and my mobile number that I could detect if the almighty sultan’s men have their ears on me. Alas, I discovered that such “detection methodologies” were indeed made-up city legends to make we mortal pitied creatures relax and pour out our most private things on the lines. VOIP connections, including the services allowing text and voice messages or live connections, are no exception, should the sultan’s men want to listen to what you are talking about with your darling, they could do it so simply as if turning on the switch of the desktop lamp.

Friends called, some from as far away as Copenhagen and beyond, even across the Atlantic. The friend in Copenhagen was writing an article for a British newspaper on what’s continuing on in Turkey. How come? Well, like most people with taste and capability, his family has a home in Turkey as well. That is he is a part-time Turk or a part-time Dane nowadays. He would not mind being eavesdropped on electronically, we were discussing what’s happening in the country and the probable results, anyhow.

Well, my friend, who was almost declared persona non-grata in the pre-Justice and Development Party (AKP) era because of his criticism against systematic local massive corruption, was trying to learn whether the government could distract attention from the “Theft and Corruption Week” – the first anniversary of the scandalous exposures last year, which swept four ministers from the government and climbed to the extent of implicating the absolute power holders.

How could I answer that question? Is it possible to cover up anniversary remembrance of alleged massive and systematic corruption by ministers, their sons and daughters just because some journalists and top cops were detained? Of course detentions were important and reflected the determined muscle of the president to crash whatever resisted his absolute rule. Freedom of expression, press freedom and the very notion of justice were all in peril. Yet, could it be possible for Turks to forget the shoeboxes, chocolate boxes and the millions of dollars smashed into them? Or could it be possible to forget the banned voice recordings in which, allegedly, the absolute ruler was instructing methods of “zeroing money” to his son?

Unfortunately, such problems existed all along in this country and often the Turkish media perhaps overreacted to claims of corruption. For example, in view of the present-day allegations or the amount of corruption Turkey has been talking about for the past year, was it indeed a necessity to grill a prime minister in the 1990s just because he discussed with a businessman the privatization dossier of a state-owned bank? Now, there is a new mentality. Can there be a mentality such as “Go and grab that man. If the prosecutor objects, grab him as well. Should the laws don’t allow it so, we are the government. We have the majority in Parliament. Arrest them, will legislate the law allowing the arrests” in state administration? Now we have it and the absolute ruler is asking us to concentrate on the “parallel coup attempt,” rather than seeing such extraordinary examples of arbitrary governance.
The parallel structure, the government is now saying, was eavesdropping on everyone, gathering information to be used when needed against everyone. Many people working the news are so allegiant to the absolute ruler or bowing so much in front of power that they lost the fundamental tool of the profession and are no longer asking questions. Did not Turkey have the same single party government since 2002? If whatever happened over the past decade was because of the Fethullah Gülen Islamist fraternity, what was the government doing?

This methodology of distracting from attention may help to fool people and pickpocket their money, or their intellectual conclusions, or both, as has happened through all of the past 12 years. But eventually people will wake up to the reality that they have indeed been robbed while watching the acrobat. In this age of technology, nothing can be kept secret for long. Even if people at home might be politically obsessed for a while, it might be wise to remember either the “Sun cannot be covered with mud” proverb or the famous quote of Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”