Those who harm Turkey’s image

Those who harm Turkey’s image

Following the Gezi resistance, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan had said that “incidents” had a very negative effect on Turkey’s reputation and continued: “A serious harm has been inflicted on Turkey’s foreign perception. I don’t think this damage can quickly be repaired. When the perception is damaged, that perception influences investors’ decision.”

Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bülent Arınç had said in May: “Just as everything had reached a peak in Turkey, just as big investments had started and interest rates went down with inflation going down,” and complained that Gezi created question marks over Turkey. 

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu complained about an “image operation” about a country on the rise and said some circles in the international press wanted Turkey’s image to be harmed.

The prime minister, the Justice and Development Party and its supporters were unanimous in the view that the Gezi movement was an initiative of internal and external circles to topple the government and to push Turkey into darkness.

But it was actually they who struck a blow to Turkey’s reputation with tear gas, beatings, lies and fabricated scenarios like the claims that demonstrators had drunk beer in the mosque or that they harassed a women with a headscarf or that there were gay relationships in the tents set up for protests. But the moment they went abroad, they said “Gezi is our honor; it is the proof of our civilizational level,” in order to appear nicer to the foreigners yet they did not see any inconvenience in making a u – turn when they came back and deny their statements abroad.

At the end of the day, the rhetoric of the government was that the Gezi resistance had harmed Turkey’s image abroad. We know that the opposite is true.

Gezi has proven to the whole world that there are still people in this country that run after their freedoms, people who know their rights. While some still keep shouting, “no it is not us but you who made us look ridiculous to the outside world,” we have been witnessing the real scandals for the past two years. Corruption, bribery, interference to the judiciary, all stand next to each other. It is the government that has its signature on everything that damages Turkey’s image abroad.

Our image abroad has taken a drop with the internet law that they have endorsed in order to protect their “private” lives; or rather to cover up scandals.

The United States said “this is a blow to freedom of expression.” The EU stated that the law gives the executive uncontrolled authority. Human Rights Watch said the law was an initiative to increase the power of the executive to silence opposition.Foreign news outlets wrote that the internet law was an alarming, aggressive move and will increase authoritarianism.

Those who have their signatures below this law have taken us down to the level of the third world countries. In order to legitimize the law, its supporters went as far as making ridiculous statements like “those who are against the law are the porn lobby.” 

In this case, when the flow of foreign investment slows down and our currency loses its value, and the more inflation goes up, they can look at the mirror and blame themselves. They do not need to ask “where did we make the mistake.” They have kept making mistake over mistake for a long time already.