Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Erdogan’s Attempt to Suppress German Satire Has the Opposite Effect (nytimes.com)
444 points by bresc on Mar 31, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 238 comments

These days, most forms of criticism of Erdogan is forbidden in Turkey. During the past 14 years, he and his party turned a barely standing democracy with imperfect rules into a semi-dictatorian state with no rules. Police force fully belongs to him and you can derive many similarities with Hitler's early 1930's. There are no mainstream press left daring to oppose him, no prosecutor can question him for his unconstitutional statements and acts, and his feedback loop consists of garbage people who's only income source is saying whatever pleases him.

As a result, the guy really lives in a bubble where everything he says almost immediately happens, but only in Turkey. This does not stop him to order doing something about that stupid foreign press, and all his advisors think is to ask the German govt to suppress free press in Germany.

Expect more from him in the coming months since he's on a ride to the top of idiocy.

Erdogan is not an idiot for trying to censor German press. He does know that that won't ever happen because he wanted. But most the voters of his party will be excited to see him shouting at the Germany, the US, etc. This is not that obvious to the opposition. I came to know some supporters only recently, and boy, they have arousals when the guy acts like this. I'm a Turkish citizen BTW.

And see, criticism of Erdogan is not really forbidden. Criticism in its every form is forbidden, if you're powerful enough. Criticise Ataturk, and what happens? Lawsuits, and you'll probably be jailed (1). Say that the Armenian Genocide happened, you'll be jailed. Criticise the party leaders, and they sack half of the party, e.g. the recent MHP situation.

Erdogan does not like criticism, but it's our culture that allows him to actually enforce a surpression thereof. There was a guy who reported his own wife because she spoke pejoratively about Erdogan. Here there still is a godly ruling class, the class of devlet buyukleri. Until they become merely the citizens with the duty to decide for us for a limited time and with full responsabilities, the status quo will go on.

(1) A very recent example is the havoc against a documentary that criticised him.

> most the voters of his party will be excited to see him shouting at the Germany, the US, etc.

It's even "better" than that, because it is so easy for a leader to re-spin outside criticism from "attack against me" to "attack against us", strengthening his position internally. And this pattern is not even limited to dictators and the like: when Americans made fun of Bush junior, it was perfectly fine application of of free speech. If Europeans did the same, it was antiamericanism making Americans rally around the flag to protect him.

So in the interplay between international and domestic opinion, there seems to be some kind of inverse Streisand effect. Can we please have a word for that? It would make the whole world easier to understand... (german has "Burgfriedensmentalität“, but that is the resulting state, not the mechanism that causes it)

> Erdogan is not an idiot for trying to censor German press

It hurts your country's ability to leverage foreign minds when you begin to censor the outside world. Plus, with the internet, censorship becomes really impractical. China and North Korea don't do this completely successfully and they spend a lot of effort to keep their citizens on some form of lock down. So not only do you end up missing out on the collective conscience of foreigners, but you also lose some portion of your own population's trust and creativity.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is working together to solve problems in an open, concerted manner. I'm not saying our world is perfect but I think it's fairly obvious that censorship, in the days of the internet, is not the right way to the future.

We need to get over ourselves, stop being so sensitive, and recognize that even when governments make laws to protect people's feelings, people will still say mean and negative things. I don't want to read those garbage comments here on HN because it fills up the thread, but I can tolerate them in the real world because I know I can just walk away. The only time speech should be regulated is when it incites violence, and I'm sorry to all the extremist Muslims, but drawing a picture is not viewed as inciting violence by most of the world, including most of the people who follow similar forms of that faith.

Take Erdogan as a businessman instead of a political figure. Because that's what he does. Since when he started his political career, even before the AKP days, he and his family prospered to an incredible level. That's all the care, and the support comes from the businessmen trying to get some benefit out of the business. So the case of Turkey is the case of a group that fruits the state's resources for enrichment of theirs, and nobody cares if Turkey remains respectable or not. It's business.

> The only time speech should be regulated is when it incites violence [...]

Speech should not be regulated in any ways, or we will have millions of who decides questions. A picture of Mohammad is annoying to each and every muslim, because the religion expressly forbids the likeness of the holy figures. Freedom of speech does not mean irresponsible and banale flow of whatever one thinks. This does not in any way justify the violence, but does not help either. Have you seen the latest cover of Hebdo, Papa où t'es? That's within freedom of speech too, but freedom of speech must not mean that one can be reckless, inconsiderate and demeaning. It is possible to criticise, or even attack in a civil, graceful way. In the end, though, this should be left to the authors will, to decide whether or not it is moral to say what he says. Because when state is involved the slightest, it can be involved more. Who decides what incites violence?

The whole inciting violence question is pretty clear.

If someone says "everybody, let's go kill this person or group of people on Saturday at Noon". THAT, is inciting violence.

It isn't actually. What happens in other countries is, nobody ever says "Everybody, lets go kill this person", rather "Everybody, the other community must pay".

If the courts and police starts prosecuting that kind of euphemism laden language, then they shift further.

On the other hand, keep everything open and people tend to learn and build filters for stuff like this.

No, it isn't clear. Just because you can come up with one obvious example does not mean there aren't many situations that are less obvious.

> Take Erdogan as a businessman instead of a political figure

The US is strong in the business world because they endure differing opinions!

Astute businessmen can see how limiting free speech limits their own success. Good businessmen do not surround themselves with yes-men.

When you limit free speech of a country, you cut off most of your people from certain intelligence. You could argue the intelligence agency has access to everything, however, at some point, the original guys will retire. They will be replaced with people who grew up without consistent access to the entire world picture. They will thus be disadvantaged when engaging in international politics and trade deals.

I guess it comes down to, do you think current and former leaders of the likes of China and North Korea are more or less happy or successful than current and former leaders of the likes of the US and France.

> Speech should not be regulated in any ways

You're not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater. Governments set limits to every right in order to balance public safety. If you think that's wrong, that's your choice. I'd just point out that you grew up in a society that benefited from this increased safety while sacrificing some portion of its people's rights. Unless you were raised in the jungle :-D.

"You're not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater..."

Yes, you are. Look at "Trope Two" in the link below. The post linked is written by Ken White who specializes in the 1st amendment.


Interesting, thanks for the correction. Maybe instead we can say, you're not allowed to threaten someone's life. The point is there are limits to free speech, even in America, though there are less limits there than in Europe where hate speech laws have been introduced.

Certainly, credible threats of violence are certainly a line.

> You're not allowed to yell fire in a crowded theater.

Come on mate, I thought we're talking about political speech :)

With regards to Erdogan as a businessman, the thing is, he is using his position to prosper as a rich man. I repeat, he has no care about what happens to the country. There are no ideologies, no nothing here. He uses the state as a means to cash in what he can. And he has his circle of assistants etc., what he wants is to be able to steer the politics and ultimately the state the way he wants w/o any friction.

> he is using his position to prosper as a rich man

I just said he would prosper more by accepting the diversity that exists in his region and the world. You're not even reading my comment, you're just repeating the same thing you said before.

So he's basically a Ba'athist? That's parsimonious. I think this is the ground state for modern governments. To get anything more than Ba'athism takes a lot of work by a lot of people.

It's probably worth noting that I don't think @gkya is supporting Erdogan. He is merely pointing out that his actions in attempting to censor foreign media have motives which aren't obvious.

When one looks at his actions in the light of those motives his actions make a lot of sense. Without those motives his actions appear stupid.

> It's probably worth noting that I don't think @gkya is supporting Erdogan

Thanks, I see that now. Some of @gkya's words sounded like they take the opposite viewpoint, such as,

>> Speech should not be regulated in any ways

>> Freedom of speech does not mean irresponsible and banale flow of whatever one thinks.

>> freedom of speech must not mean that one can be reckless, inconsiderate and demeaning.

It reads like it was unedited and is very hard to follow

> When one looks at his actions in the light of those motives his actions make a lot of sense. Without those motives his actions appear stupid.

I disagree, see my comments about astute businessmen not using yes-men above. No worries if we don't agree here. Countries are most certainly businesses. They're in the business of acquiring people who generate money.

>> When one looks at his actions in the light of those motives his actions make a lot of sense. Without those motives his actions appear stupid.

> I disagree, see my comments about astute businessmen not using yes-men above. No worries if we don't agree here. Countries are most certainly businesses. They're in the business of acquiring people who generate money.

Right, but that is assuming that Erdogan is trying to do what is best for the country in the long term. Many would argue his primary concern is Erdogan's interests in the short term.

> Many would argue his primary concern is Erdogan's interests in the short term.

Former dictators who censored speech don't generally have happy post-political careers. I wouldn't imagine trying to put a strangle hold on a whole country's speech is exactly stress free either.

Whether he is planning for the short term or for his whole life, Erdogan isn't so bright as @gkya would have you believe. He certainly doesn't have the best interests of his country in mind. However, I'll add something else you may not expect me to believe, which is that I believe everyone does things in their own interests. I wouldn't expect anyone to do otherwise. Erdogan's behavior is simply a matter of foresight. He's not seeing his own future clearly.

Ergo, Erdogan isn't bright.

Ergo, Erdogan isn't bright.

No one - least of all @gkya - is saying he is bright. They are saying his actions aren't stupid.

Former dictators who censored speech don't generally have happy post-political careers.

Plenty have died in office while still holding power, too. Most of Turkey's immediate neighbors have had dictators who died while in power.

Ug, this is so pedantic. What I meant was he is stupid, I was just trying to sound nicer. Anyway, no worries if you disagree. I don't think remaining in power for life is as stress free and happy as you imply. I imagine those who seek such control don't realize this until they've cornered themselves into an intractable position. If you give up control as a dictator, there's no guarantee you're set or even safe for life. I'm sure that is concerning to realize that when you've surrounded yourself with forced fake friends, they might not have your back when you don't provide anything for them anymore.

I'm sorry if I've been unclear. I do not in any ways support Erdogan. Though I insist that freedom of speech does not mean that one can be irresponsible of what he says.

Everything you say and do has consequences whether you accept them or not. Free speech says the state cannot punish you for what you say, with certain small exceptions that vary by country that has free speech, such as libel and direct threats on someone's life.

> Freedom of speech does not mean irresponsible and banale flow of whatever one thinks.

Actually, it is. Freedom of speech can't be whatever seems civil to each person, it's a binary issue. Either you have it or you don't.

For example, France, which seems freer than Turkey, actually just fined a comedian that have insulted the prime minister of half retarded Musolinni. That's not okay and it's not fundamentaly different of what's happening in Turkey.

So according to this binary definition of free speech, what countries actually have it?

It seems like many countries have limitations on free speech, which according to this definition would mean they do not actually have free speech.


Quoting my grandparent comment:

> In the end, though, this should be left to the authors will, to decide whether or not it is moral to say what he says. Because when state is involved the slightest, it can be involved more. Who decides what incites violence?

So to this I agree:

> Actually, it is. Freedom of speech can't be whatever seems civil to each person, it's a binary issue. Either you have it or you don't.

What I say is, the individuals should be considerate when using their freedom to speech. Freedoms bear responsabilities. One cannot say anything and go by. If what you say is lies, or pure insults, or if it's provocative, there will be consequences, or else it conflicts with the right to human dignity of the one(s) at the receiving end of your speech. One should be responsible and mindful of what he says.

"One cannot say anything and go by."

Yes you CAN. Nobody has a right not to be offended. You don't have to be mindful of what you say. That's not freedom of speech.

GP isn't talking about taking legal action against offensive speech. If you're offensive, it is entirely reasonable for people to take social action against you - like branding you an asshole - but you should never be arrested or punished by the state.

You have to be mindful of what you say, that is, you mustn't say things you can't prove. You mustn't lie. Or else, you'll be disproved, and announced publicly as a liar. I don't say that you are not free to lie, though, what I say is, in this case, by lying, you accept such consequences. By saying something, you're responsible to its truth.

You're free to insult, but you don't have to. If you do so, people will get offended, and you'll be excluded, ignored, or insulted back at. Again, you're free to insult, but there will be consequences, and by insulting you take the responsibility, and accept being excluded, or insulted at.

And everybody has a right to not be offended, which has to protect them from bullying, demeaning, racism, etc., called the "right to human dignity":



> Human dignity is inviolable. It must be respected and protected. (Article 1)

> Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity. (Article 3/1)

> The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right. (Article 10/2)

> Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. (Article 11)

> Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited. (Article 21/1)

> Within the scope of application of the Treaties and without prejudice to any of their specific provisions, any discrimination on grounds of nationality shall be prohibited. (Article 21/2)

You can't go around talking about how people are "free to insult" but that other people have a right not to be insulted. That is BS double speak.

Either you believe in free speech or you don't. Don't pussy foot around it.

If you believe that people should be arrested for insulting people in the wrong way then SAY it! Dont hide behind some human dignity double speak.

@gkya doesn't have the American or even European understanding of free speech. He's got his own definition and I doubt we will be able to convince him via the internet how simple the issue is and how complicated he is making it. I'm totally with you, by the way.

That's the predominant American view, which is pretty... extremist.

Sure, "free speech exactly like in the US" is a binary issue.

Free speech, as sensibly construed, is a whole spectrum.

The US has a higher tolerance for hate speech, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to say anything. The bar is comparably low to sue for defamation and libel, for example. Pretty much only the UK (perhaps France?) is less free in that particular aspect for comparable countries.

And free speech is not very useful unless you have access to ways to practice it. In a country where mass media practice active censorship voluntarily (against "wardrobe malfunctions" and swear words) in order to avoid state sanctions, that absolutist view gets a bit problematic.

We have lots of problems, but "extremist" speech ain't one of them.

Lol. According to some, speech justifies mass killings. And the world keeps spinning..

Thanks for explaining this. I was struggling to understand Erdogan's tactics. On the surface they seem simply idiotic: the Streisand effect is hardly news, so the result of protesting this video is utterly, utterly predictable whose been paying attention to the world at any point over the past 20 years.

But however much I might disagree with Erdogan, I know that he probably isn't actually be an idiot: people who can grab and hold that much power rarely are. Your explanation of how he's manufacturing this kerfuffle for a domestic audience makes a lot more sense.

>There was a guy who reported his own wife because she spoke pejoratively about Erdogan.

What are divorce laws like in Turkey? I'm betting this guy just wanted to get rid of his wife, and found this to be a convenient way to do so.

Sound and modern. No need to pull a divorce italian style.

criticism of Erdogan is not really forbidden. Criticism in its every form is forbidden, if you're powerful enough

So it really is forbidden, just not enforced until you actually start making an impact?

The figure of Ataturk and the Turkish national identitiy are immune to any pejorative terms de jure. The rest is forbidden de facto, that is, if you are strong enough, you can try to silence the opposition with lawsuits for hate speech, public insulting, and treason, and laws for detention can be abused to keep them at lenght in prison. See the recent Can Dundar-Ekrem Gul case for treason and publication of statal secrets.

So it's mostly an abuse of the law via installed judges and misuse of the constitution. The parliamenters are immune to lawsuits during their duty, so it's easier for them to act so.

It's almost like an Ottoman revival, except less inclusive.

I wonder, will Erdogan bring back Janissaries? Or has he already through his full control of the security forces?

Ottoman? Janissaries, for a time, were so active in deciding who would be the sultan that, they were abolished by, IIRC, sultan Mahmud II. Erdogan has subjugated the police and the army, which were in the past very active in the political scene (frequent coups d'état, many parliamenters from veterans).

And I guess if we preserved the ruling house like the Brits and the spaniards did, and also some form of the Caliphate that acted like Vatican, maybe the things would be easier (I'm a secular agnostic, and I'm completely anti-nationalist). Nowadays there is no entity that is respected as a unifier of the Muslim world.

And further, maybe the Empire was better for middle-east. Here, the nation failed, for the bindings among people are mostly based on kinship, belonging to the same mahalle and memleket, and ultimately religion. But in Turkey you'll find many adjacent mosques and churches, for, AFAIK, it wasn't until nationalism took on that the major conflicts started. Under the Ottomans, yes, the muslim were a bit more advantageous, but not less subject to the sultanate than the christian subjects.

"Under the Ottomans, yes, the muslim were a bit more advantageous, but not less subject to the sultanate than the christian subjects."

Only if you ignore the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians and other minority Christian groups.

Think before you write.


Put your reading glasses on. And mind your language. There are many armenian citizens of turkey, maybe I'm one of them? Where do I say that I'm ethnically turkish? Think before you write.

I say this, in the sentence before the one you quote:

> AFAIK, it wasn't until nationalism took on that the major conflicts started.

The genocide happened during the late nineteenth-early twentieth century. Armenians were under Ottoman rule since long before, so were Greeks.

A preview of what's in store if the U.S. somehow manages to elect Trump.

Rather, a thumbnail. The US actually does have the power to f*ck the world up, unlike our guy, who can only aspire to do so.

Trump is primarily playing off a base of xenophobia and isolationism, for which Americans have always had a certain luxury due to our geographic isolation from the rest of the world. For our one neighbor to the South, he wants to build a wall. I see nothing that would indicate a stifling of the press, individual rights to free expression and assembly, rigged elections, and all the other problems facing Turkey today.

I disagree, I believe there would definitely be effects to freedom of the press and free expression. Trump's opinion of the press is well-documented[1], as well as his opinion on free speech[2][3].

1: http://www.politicususa.com/2016/02/27/trump-freedom-press-n...

2: http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2016/02/donald-trump-...

3: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/25/business/media/25trump.htm...

Thank you for listing these; one of the most shocking observations I've had is how absolutely up-front Trump is about saying he'd basically gut the First Amendment because he doesn't like journalists. Having sources like you've provided is quite helpful. Why 'the press' hasn't savagely been aggressive and hostile toward him the way he has to them doesn't inspire confidence in me unfortunately.

My cynical opinion is that, unfortunately, "trump stories" == "clicks/viewers" == "more ad revenue", to the point where no news organization can afford to _not_ cover every ridiculous story about Trump.

No disagreement, I'm familiar enough with media revenue streams and what-not that I understand the "appeal" of coverage. It does kind of remind me a bit of the way media members 'covered' for Tiger Woods for all those years. As in, if you wanted access to him for interviews, content, etc, you'd better keep certain things out of print (so to speak). Skewering Trump would "curtail" access, or, more than likely, result in a lawsuit threat.

Donald Trump reminds me more of Silvio Berlusconi than Erdogan, personally.

Berlusconi was nowhere near Erdogan's style of strongman politics, but unfortunately, during his term, Berlusconi did stifle press freedom somewhat in Italy... primarily via questionable libel lawsuits against any critical outlet if I recall.

It's easy for me to see Donald Trump following a similar pattern, of attempting to sue any critical outlet into silence.

Absolutely; he's stated as much flat out. "I want to make it easier to sue the press." As Trump so clearly shows, it's very easy to sue somebody in the US (or use it as an empty threat) - there's lots of avenues for recourse.

Unfortunately for Trump, the courts have consistently sided with the press when they report accurate and factual statements, even if they may be unflattering. This doesn't seem to register with Trump. If asked to define what "treating me fairly" actually, genuinely means, I'm pretty sure he couldn't.

So let him sue and let the courts deal with it.

Do you think the media needs to be a little more accountable or the hysteria is good?

Accountability for accuracy is desirable. But with strongmen leaders, "accountability in media" tends to be "toe the party line", regardless of accuracy.

Practically I don't think Trump would get very far with any sort of libel lawsuits. Even in Italy, Berlusconi's "sue into silence" strategy was not 100% effective -- and Berlusconi is a much more dominant player in comparative national medias than Trump is.

Even so, my gut feeling is that Trump would be perfectly okay with a Putin / Erdogan style strongman media takeover if he could get away with it.

To answer your question, yes, I do think the media needs to be a little more accountable, and to clarify, I fully believe it should be to a person or entity of character and with a steadfast reaspect for truth - qualities of which Donald Trump's behavior and statements certainly do not reflect.

Its not Trump that you should be so concerned with but rather the current safe-space culture of colleges. That will be a greater threat to free speech in the coming years than anything you will see from Trump


Please don't do this here.

Erdogan showed his face to the world (or at least to me) when police violently dispersed the Gezi Park protesters in 2013. I suspect that the situation in Turkey only got worse since then and now the terrible terrorist attacks only add fuel to the police state's fire.

And Europe is helpless as it braces for the massive waves of immigrants coming its way, with Turkey winning big political concessions in exchange for "stopping" them. I can only imagine how Erdogan handles that.

But it's not just Turkey.

I'm afraid this can be said about more and more leaders in lots of countries around the world. Most of the former USSR has developed such political systems/leaders, with Putin leading the pack.

Corruption is growing all over the world and these types of leaders are consequences of that.

In the end it's up to the people of all this countries to use the still remaining democratic levers to bring new people into power.

From a domestic affairs perspective, it all started with the Gezi Park/Taksim Sq protest and then the revelations about the AKP corruption scandal of the same year that really set Erdogan on the defensive mode and made him very paranoid to the point of staging a mini-coup in Turkish politics and coming up with the silly accusations of a Fethulla Gulen led conspiracy of a "parallel state" within the state to justify the purge of any opposition or independent figures in the judiciary and police to secure a more docile political system that won't challenge his authority going forward and it went from bad to worse from there for Turkish people and as time goes Erdogan's paranoia seems to get stronger with no signs of abating any time soon.

>Corruption is growing all over the world and these types of leaders are consequences of that.

Don't worry, we'll join those other countries later this year when we elect our own queen of corruption, Hillary.

A few comments on your statement..

- Erdogan's intolerance for satire or criticism is very disturbing indeed, but the law that is used in these cases was introduced in 2005, during Ahmet Necdet Sezer's presidency (TCK 299), being an expert in constitutional law, he should have vetoed it. Erdogan knows that media eroded his predecessors power,(e.g. Turgut Ozal) and unlike them, he will do anything to not allow that for himself.

- Police force had always been controlled by internal affairs ministry. There is nothing new there.

- That "barely standing democracy" was actually also a semi dictatorian state as well, only controlled by military and minority bureaucrat elite.

- In the end, it still takes a single election to take him and his party down, I have faith in Turkish people, they did it before to others, they will do it to him as well.

I think Erdogan lost his cool after the affair with Gulen cult, has too many yes mans around and apparently does not care about streisand effect. I don't see him in power for long time.

That is misleading. Erdogan was prime minister at the time - it is his law.

Also he will be in power for a long long time - he has a big core of pious Turks that support him. The recent elections were always about him getting a supermajority.

    In the end, it still takes a single election to take him and his party down, 
    I have faith in Turkish people, 
    they did it before to others, they will do it to him as well.
But didn't this just happen? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_general_election,_June... )

  - In the end, it still takes a single election to take him and his party down, I have faith in Turkish people, they did it before to others, they will do it to him as well.
I wish I had your faith. There are lots of manipulations in voting process though. Be it illegal (like stealing the votes, making fake votes) and semi-legal (buying votes). I don't know if these are enough to tip scale or but it is harder to do with plain democracy.

Not to mention that his voters are the religious people and mostly not the most educated type. They get easily manipulated by the media. We are at brink of civil war and our international relationship is suffering but he still gets the votes because "he is so charismatic and religious"

From the other hand, we as Greeks, have enjoyed a time of relative peace of mind during the Erdogan rule. In the past, every time Turkey had internal instability issues there was tension in our relationship which even brought as at the brink of war (notably the Imia/Kardak incident in 1996).

As a german I really have to wonder what's wrong with our government if we continue to cozy up to Erdogan's turkey.

I really don't think having turkey as a migration buffer is worth paying the price of making the european union look like a club you can buy your way into regardless of ethics. What's the use of values if we're starting to ignore them so easily?

It just goes to show that politics is really really hard. You never get to hear about the decisions that are easy. If it's reported in the media, it's almost by definition an issue with multiple viable options (or, in this case, only bad choices).

Having seen a bit of German politics from the inside, I can assure you that everyone grapples with choices like this. I've witnessed ministers of finance changing their opinion on life-or-death (for Greece) matters three times in a day. Not because they lack conviction or idealism, but because they have a set of believes that are sometimes conflicting. Plus lack of sleep, incomplete information etc.

I wish more of that process could be shown on TV, but politicians who actually voice these ambiguities are unfortunately seen as weak and thus at some point a decision is made internally and is then communicated with absolute confidence publicly.

Regarding Turkey: rest assured, they're never going to be an EU member if things don't change dramatically. Medium-term, Turkey does actually belong in the EU: it's got enormous economic potential, could be a bridge to the middle east etc. Maybe that should have actually happened in the 1995-2008 timeframe and we'd have a different Turkey today. But EU leaders closed the door back then, possibly b/c Turkey was too poor, probably also because there's always one EU head of state who's a fucking racist.

We should count ourselves lucky Turkey didn't join the EU in 1995-2008. I'd rather have an authoritarian Turkey outside of the EU than inside. We have enough trouble with the likes of Orban and Kaczynski already.

And I don't follow the arguments for Turkey joining. Yes, it may have enormous potential; but nobody would say Mexico should join the US just because it has potential.

>> "We should count ourselves lucky Turkey didn't join the EU in 1995-2008. I'd rather have an authoritarian Turkey outside of the EU than inside."

On the other hand wouldn't they be subject to certain laws to prevent or reduce the authoritarianism if they were part of the EU?

The EU was designed with lots of hops that a country had to jump threw but because for political (even idiological reason) those things always gets ignored if they are in the way of the larger planes. Greece for example should never ever have been able to join the EU given the rules that existed and we can see how that turned out.

The EU simply has very little oversight of internal politcs of countries and because there is no way you can be kicked out, once you are in, you can do pretty much as you want. That is, as long as you don't need massiv amounts of financial aid.

The EU is not the eurozone. Greece entered the EEC in 1981. Get your facts straight and please spell check.

Poland is steering a very problematic course, but who cares when we don't even act on Hungary, which is much closer to a dictatorship than Turkey.

Good luck enforcing it

Remove privileges. No democracy? Fine, no freedom of movement. Turkey would need the EU a hell of a lot more than it needs Turkey. Of course I'm not sure whether legally they can agree to sanctions like I suggested.

When I have political discourse with people the aspect that makes me the most irritable is the implication that it's simple. Politicians are corrupt, stupid, or both - and if they'd just do "x" everything would be better.

Even when politicians do the right things (get a panel of experts to write a detailed report, and then try to act on the findings) - headlines contain only the barest hint of the depth of the analysis and the findings are chastised by various ill informed commentators who don't even bother to read the damned reasoning.

I actually feel sorry for those trying to govern.

Trump makes it sound so simple.

It only because he hasn't governed yet. Wait until, say, a year after he has become president, and made some mistakes he had to pay for ...

It is interesting that you insult everyone that disagrees with you: "Fucking racist".

It looks like you are so unsure about your own arguments that you need insulting them to feel better.

The main reason EU closed the door to Turkey had nothing to do with race(their race is the same of Europeans'), and everything to do with culture and religion, specially religion.

You could disagree with them and their arguments, but insulting them is not ok.

Turkey is a Muslim country. People like Erdogan don't like Western values, he is very clear about that, they prefer a Muslim theocracy in which every part of life is controlled by this (non sense) book written 1500 years ago.

To think seriously about the consequences of letting a hundred million Muslims entering Europe is not racist, it is the politicians' job.

Blaming this on 'racism' is a poor argument. Maybe it has something to do with the incompatible cultures and values.

"incompatible cultures and values" are almost exactly the words these racists have always used to keep Turkey out. Britain, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia are all compatible, but Turkey is a step too far?

The easy post would be to point out that "racists once made that argument" is basically a slightly cloaked ad hominem attack trying to accuse your opponent of racism, without doing it clearly in a way that could be denied.

But the more interesting post is to point out that if you allow racists the power to destroy an entire line of argumentation for all purposes forever by using it, you are ceding to them enormous power to control the discourse, even accidentally, by completely determining the bounds of acceptable debate.

Racism is bad, but the way we treat it as radioactive waste nowadays has itself become a danger to society. It's merely bad. It is not the One True Sin, it is not the cause of all life's problems, it is not the One Temptation in life that if resisted means we can stop worrying about our moral status, it is not something that permanently twists everything it touches into an eternerally-unredeemable black goo, even ye unto a dozen generations. It's merely a bad thing that hurts people. Giving it the power to be those other things is an error too.

So, yes, it is perfectly valid to address the question of "incompatible cultures and values". Of course, it does require one to admit that cultures have values that can differ from one another, which is, admittedly, a door that once you walk through does suddenly make a lot of the prepackaged really "nice" answers in current discourse suddenly obviously too oversimplified to be useful for any purpose, but such is reality.

In Germany Holocaust denial is illegal and you can get imprisoned for it. In Turkey it is required to deny the Armenian Genocide where the Turks killed a million or so Armenians, an act the word genocide was invented to describe. In Turkey you can get imprisoned for saying it happened. That's a fairly major incompatibility to deal with.

you can deny holocaust in many european countries...

But you can't get arrested for saying it happened in any European countries.

In France you can get imprisoned for holocaust denial. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_against_Holocaust_denial

Art 9. – As an amendment to Article 24 of the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press, article 24 (a) is as follows written: <<Art. 24 (a). - those who have disputed the existence of one or more crimes against humanity such as they are defined by Article 6 of the statute of the international tribunal military annexed in the agreement of London of August 8, 1945 and which were a carried out either by the members of an organization declared criminal pursuant to Article 9 of the aforementioned statute, or by a person found guilty such crimes by a French or international jurisdiction shall be punished by one month to one year's imprisonment or a fine.

While I don't agree with that law, it's the opposite of what I was talking about.

In Turkey you literally can't admit that a genocide happened.

Those countries do not have a state-enforced opposition to historical facts.

yes we all know history is hard science. not talking about the genocides here.

I, for one wouldn't be welcoming a country in EU that is now committing genocide against the Kurds for almost 3 generations.

I also wouldn't be welcoming a country that refuses to acknowledge the full independence of another EU member state (Cyprus).

If you want to play the racism/xenophobia card and pretend that these are not the big issues we have against Turkey in EU go ahead, but I can't tell you that you are not convincing anyone.

>I also wouldn't be welcoming a country that refuses to acknowledge the full independence of another EU member state (Cyprus).

Really? Because Cyprus would:

>Cyprus is in favor of Turkey's Accession to the EU with the hope it will facilitate a viable and just solution of the Cyprus Problem. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_relations_of_Cyprus#Tu...)

Nah, it was the German govm'ts fear of public backlash due to the fucked-up integration of Turkish immigrants. Public opinion in Germany was not Turkey-welcoming at the time.

The current situation is just Erdogan having his revenge on Europe for dropping Turkey.

If EU were decent, they'd delist Erdogan's enemy the PKK from the terrorist list. The PKK could teach the EU how to improve European society: (http://edition.cnn.com/2016/03/30/opinions/rojava-kurds-syri...)

Not to mention the PKK would obviously help end ISIS.

This is pure nonsense. Are you kidding me ? do you have any idea what you are talking about ?

Even Iraqi Kurds trying to ban PKK because they know what's going on in that organization. Even Kurds in turkey are not happy with PKK. They want a reform , but most of them wants stay in turkey, while the "being Turkish citizen definition changed".Look at how popular HDP is in Kurdish areas in Turkey.

You have no clue what are you talking about. for further reference , please read/listen to Henri Barkey from Woodrow Wilson which is well respected political scientist.

This comment, and others that you've posted (e.g. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11399333) break the HN guidelines badly by calling names and being personally rude. We ban accounts that do those things, so please don't do them. In particular, please edit phrases like the following out of your posts to HN:

  This is pure nonsense.

  Are you kidding me?

  do you have any idea what you are talking about?

  You have no clue what are you talking about. 
  wasting people times in HN
Notice how much more substantive your current comment becomes if you take out all these rude bits? That's what we're going for here.

Hard politics isn't a great fit for HN to begin with, but if you're going to contribute to such discussions as inevitably arise, it's important to follow these rules—particularly when others are being wrong and provocative.

(None of this is a comment on your politics, only on how you're presenting them. The same applies to all HN users.)

Thanks for notifying, but I don't have editing option on those comment. I would be glad to edit them but I don't have option to do (I don't know why).

Editing of a comment is only possible for 2 hours after posting. This is to prevent people from trying to "rewrite history" at any time in the future.

But in a case like this, dang may be happy to let you edit or delete the comment.

You should email hn@ycombinator.com to request this.

Rather than mislead everyone, why not quote what exactly you disagree with, and offer evidence?

- "How could Isis be eliminated? In the region, everyone knows. All it would really take would be to unleash the largely Kurdish forces of the YPG (Democratic Union party) in Syria, and PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ party) guerillas in Iraq and Turkey. These are, currently, the main forces actually fighting Isis on the ground. They have proved extraordinarily militarily effective and oppose every aspect of Isis’s reactionary ideology." (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/18/turkey-...)

- Erdogan went apeshit after HDP deprived him his parliament majority: "The cynicism behind Erdogan’s calculation to launch a full-scale war against the PKK is stunning." (http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/21/erdogans-deadly-ambition...)

- “'Kurdish people are fighting for our rights, and Turkey is trying to finish us off,' says 53-year-old Ramazon Sakci as he stands in the garden of his home, which is riddled with bullet holes.” (http://www.thenation.com/article/turkey-is-fighting-a-dirty-...)

> Rather than mislead everyone

That's a form of personal attack which is inevitably provocative of a much worse thread. Please edit such rudeness out of your posts here. Your question would have been fine, and less self-undermining, had you done so.

When faced with abusers [1], it may be mentally healthiest to briefly indulge in slightly-unpleasant words like: "Rather than mislead everyone..."

Why? Abuse stays with people during the day, and it is better to ever-so-slightly reflect it back on the abuser, than for it to come out on your employees (or friends, children, dog...)

[1] "You have no clue what are you talking about", "how much people can be stupid and naive", etc.

That degree of finesse could justify anything on HN. Please just be civil.

You don't have clue what you are talking about.Read and listen to serious scholors instead of wasting people times in HN.

Irony: I recall your recent post telling everyone to read Chomsky. He recommends supporting and de-listing PKK too! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vbkqk5WLbLs)

It is fascinating you didn't watch your link at all.

The big irony is here , how much people can be stupid and naive. My claim wasn't against Chomsky , It is quite opposite , Chomsky is completely right, But you don't know what you are talking about, Chomsky does not support PKK as he multiple times stated PKK have done seriously bad things. but at the other hand Turkish government have done so many bad things too, this is your shallow understanding about politics, which you think in every case there should be Good vs Evil. That is not the case at all . please come to the real world. you don't have clue what you are engaging to. Most of the time (almost 99% time) it is Evil vs Evil and only people got hurt is simple ordinary people.

There is a narrow line between "Erdogan is dictator (which is absolutely correct and turkey law is ridiculously weak in human rights) and PKK is good" and "Erdogan is dictator and PKK does use this opportunity to improve its position, and PKK does not give fuck about Kurds" (which is Noam Chomsky position in this video too, look at how he condemn PKK at to ordinary people, but he dos not attack PKK because he knows establishment media in west will make great deal of it to prove their point which is Chomsky fighting against it). Sadly people like you are incapable of understanding these tactics used by politicians.

if you want to check real protector of Kurd's people, look at HDP (if you do know turkey at all) and don't waste people time.PKK is not popular in east turkey, I have so many friends lives in northern Iraq north-west of iran and east of turkey and most of them (all of them Kurds which do want their rights) don't give fuck about PKK. At the other hand look at how HDP protects and fights for Kurds in right way.

look at this part. it completely proves my point! https://youtu.be/Vbkqk5WLbLs?t=453 How much people like you can be naive.

Nice that you skipped past where Chomsky explicitly recommends we "support" PKK (and incidentally is for delisting):

Chomsky: They’re killing Yazidis. So what do you do? You support the people who are saving the Yazidis. Who happen to be on the US terrorist list.

Hasan: The PKK.

Chomsky: Yes. They are the ones who are primarily responsible for saving the Yazidis.

Hasan: If the Americans say, "We will drop bombs, and they have been working with various Kurdish groups." Do you support that? I’m just wondering. You, as a critic, do you support that?

Chomsky: Support working with the Kurds? Yeah.


Chomsky: To the extent that they are supporting the Kurds in Rojava, as they call it, so the Kurdish area of Syria, have defended their territory, seem to be developing, as well as you can under these conditions, a fairly decent society, very different from anything else in Syria, they certainly merit support.

Turkey, unlike most of the middle east in the news, descends from a multicultural, religiously tolerant empire (Ottoman). The culture is not far different from Greek. There is a regression to islamism with erdogan, but i don't think that's a permanent thing now. There is definitely some racism here.

> "descends from a multicultural, religiously tolerant empire (Ottoman)"

Where the terms "multicultural" and "religiously tolerant" apparently mean something quite a bit different from today (just like Athenian democracy from ours, for example).

I don't think they are that different. Even romans had multiculturalism. Tolerance was not invented in the modern West.

Well, Romans, from what I can tell, had better multiculturalism than Ottomans centuries later. They did not split the society into religion-based classes. So "the West" was quite a bit more progressive centuries earlier in some ways.

No, I don't think it's racism. It's islamophobia, specifically a hostility towards the conservative trends within Islam that have become so much more dominant than they used to be. And faith based hostility absolutely goes both ways.

I know this is a taboo subject, but we should stop acting as if religion was a racial attribute. It's not. Religions are opinions, and people will have to accept that others will take those opinions into account when it comes to forming a political union.

The difficult thing is that only individuals can hold opinions but only countries can join the EU. So we are forced by the very nature of this decision to make a summary judgement that ignores individual opinions and therefore will be very unfair to some.

This is something I am personally struggling with when it comes to Turkish EU membership.

A major reason is that Turkey has invaded and occupied part of an EU member (Cyprus). Granted, this issue may be solved soon, but many EU politicians hide behind issues like this to avoid stating the major issue: avoiding mass influx of turkish citizens to EU countries. Most european countries are not ready for this (Turkey has population similar to germany) and turkey has large young population.

For all intents and purposes, Turks are white (i.e. the same race as the rest of Europe).

The issue, however, is religion. EU has enough problems as is with religion (less than the US, and less than it used to have, but still), but still people are wary.

Although IIRC Turkey used to be less religious than it is now, under Erdogan.

The "race" of Europe, if you could categorize it into such broad terms, would be better suited as "Western", "Eastern", and "Mediterranean", but even that isn't apt.

For most Turks, you couldn't tell the difference between them and Iranians, IMO. Nonetheless, you can definitely tell them apart from a Western white European, a Eastern Slavic-Rus European, and a Mediterranean European.

Permit this Iranian born to disagree. Turks are generally paler, and have hard eyes.

Armenians, due to historic ties going back thousands of years, look far more Iranian.

Duly noted.

Plenty of Greeks, southern Italians and Spaniards are darker than e.g. Erdogan (I don't really know many Turks, he's just an example from TV).

(Sorry if I am reading too deep into this) There are Mediterranean Greeks, Italian, and Spainards, and there are "White" Greeks, Italian, and Spaniards.

(Pardon the invocation of Godwin's law here) When Hitler envisioned his Aryan race, a source of influence was the classical "Athenian Greek." (Another random tidbit, as the story goes, he had such respect for the Greeks, it was with great reluctance that he invaded /greekpride ) Many Greeks still have Blonde hair, blue eyes, and hardly any hair, like my mother and her side of the family. Compare that to my father, who is from an island in Greece, we are basically darker than most Arabs you meet (and indeed thats how I came out. I am more easily passed as an Arab, specifically an Egyptian at times)

(To continue on my random tirade, sorry) If you basically draw an oval around the Mediterranean, from the Greek Islands, Sicily, to parts of Morroco, and such, you could basically pick a few people at random and we would all look related like brothers or cousins to most Americans.

And yes I am one of those crazy people who advocates Mediterranean as a different race than "White." All my life filling out forms, and applications, and throughout schooling, I had to mark down "White" and feel as if I was fraudulent. I am not sure what exactly the US uses as its criteria for a "race" but we are as different from a Anglo-Saxon, Western European type as Native Americans are. We have our distinct features (usually big noses, pronounced foreheads, and lots of hair!), share common values, and even have our own diseases!(see Mediterranean blood disease)

Racism in Germany is not the same as racism in the US or necessarily other parts of the EU.

"Südländer" ("people from Southern countries") are effectively treated as an ethnic group, although this includes Italians and Spaniards alongside Turks (but in some cases also Arabs and other non-"whites"). There's also the racist slur "Ölauge" ("oil-eye"), which while ostensibly about eye colour is typically used to refer to "Südländer"s.

There are also "Osteuropäer" ("Eastern Europeans"), which effectively refers to Slavs but also "Deutschrussen" (i.e. descendants of German settlers in Eastern Europe who migrated back to Germany recently but are culturally distinct from "native" Germans).

I do agree however that "racism" in Germany tends to be less about specific "foreign" ethnicities (as in the US) but more about nationality (or nationality of the parents/ancestors) -- there's no denying that well-adjusted black Germans face discrimination in Germany but so do less well-adjusted Italians. It's more of a blanket ethno-nationalism than the typical racism you hear about on the anglophone interwebs.

It's not really surprising if you think about the historical roots: while Germany has a colonial history and thus isn't a stranger to mistreating brown people, our history is overshadowed by the Third Reich and its ideals about nationalism and racial purity (blonde, blue-eyed "Aryans" being distinct from mere "whites"). The US OTOH had an entire civil war about slave ownership and even then carried on a long tradition of racial apartheid.

US racism used to be more variegated like this, but more and more ethnicities got folded into "whiteness" over time (and along with the rise in the fear of blackness.)

White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race by Ian Haney Lopez covers the legal history of whiteness in the US.

That's not entirely what I was referring to, though. The race construct (for an example with horrible consequences look up the history of the ethnic tensions that let to the Rwanda genocide) seems to be largely based on colonialism.

German racism tends to be based largely on anti-immigrant nationalism and xenophobia. It's closer to American racism towards Latinas/-os (and people who fall in the same mental category) than to American racism towards black people.

But maybe we do have the kind of racism black people experience in the US and we're just culturally less aware of it because our ethnic demographics are different.

Without delving too deeply into armchair sociology I think that two major events defining our biases are 1) the attitude towards (predominantly Turkish) immigrants in the third quarter of the last century and 2) the immigration of Russian Germans after WW2.

The Turkish immigrants were greeted as "guest workers" during the post-war boom of our economy and at the time largely filled the kind of badly paid low prestige jobs that became available en masse as our industry grew. Because we only considered them temporary we never acknowledged them as German and were utterly surprised that they would decide to stay and live in "our" country.

The "German Russians", as I described earlier, were (for the most part) ethnically and culturally German settlers who had of course culturally diverged over the course of a century or so before they migrated back to Germany in the aftermath of WW2 and the post-war tensions between Russia and Germany. They were Germans to the Russians but Russians to the Germans they came home to.

All in all it's a huge mess based on a decades long attitude to immigration that could be at best described as sticking your head in the sand and hoping the migrants just go away again rather than adapting them into our culture or even allowing each other to influence each others' cultures to find a common ground.

But looking at the poverty-stricken immigrant districts around Paris and Brussels I guess we didn't do that badly. Though that relief likely won't help anyone looking even remotely foreign if our ethno-nationalism gets any stronger (for a nightmarish outlook consider the recent election results of the AfD, the German nationalist party).

I'm guessing a better word for this would be "xenophobia".

Okay, a semantics argument.

There's one concept most people (especially those who haven't studied sociology) call "racism". It's a mechanism that used to be very useful for our survival 40k-odd years ago when people who looked different were likely not from our tribe and likely hostile to us or at least had no allegiance to our tribe and could thus not be trusted. They're different, they don't know us, we don't know them, they might hit us over the head with a rock, we should be cautious or even chase them away. In a modern society this instinct is still present but obviously far less helpful and tends to make things difficult for us.

The other concept is also called "racism", although I'd prefer to call it "Racism" (with a capital R). This is what feminists try to talk about when they tell people they're "racists". It's not necessarily about the actions or thoughts of any individual and certainly not about mere acknowledgement of the differences between two cultural or ethnic groups of people. It's about the systemic effect (lowercase r) racism can have in a society, making life hard for people in groups that are already disadvantaged and preventing them from achieving equality.

You could argue that the "technical term" for the former type of racism is actually xenophobia. You could argue that academia gets to define semantics and everybody else please should stop using the terms incorrectly thank you very much. But it's more productive to acknowledge that widely used terms have well-established meanings in colloquial English and communication can ultimately only work if the majority can agree on what they are talking about.

I disagree. Feminists intentionally use a word, loaded with so much (negative) emotion as "racist" specifically for its emotional impact. Another example of this is when left-leaning media writes "anti-abortion and pro-choice" while right-leaning media writes "pro-life and pro-abortion".

Their purpose is not to win arguments with logic. They try to win the spectators over using emotion. They use "racist" to smear their opponents, for allegedly being discriminatory, but they're just the same themselves - they just target other underprivileged groups (e.g. nerds, poor conservatives, ...).

This is elaborated in this post: http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything...

wheres the phobia?

In the same place where there's a horse in a seahorse.


It was always as religious. Just the army and the secular order it imposed prevented the religious people from rising trough the society ranks.

Which of course fueled Erdogan support ...

Well, the religion and religiousness are very complex concepts in Turkey. We (in this case you, the westerners) tend to treat the other as a homogeneous entity, with prejudices based on the extremes (like treating the Catholic curch as an organisation of paedophilia because some members are guilty of it).

Erdogan and AKP do not have that much of actual support, but the conjecture helps them. An oppositional government can only be forced with these: The secular CHP with about 25 percent support, the nationalist-racist MHP, with about 15-20 percent support, and with the kurdish-nationalist, leftist HDP. Last summer the outcome of the elections allowed these to form a government, but MHP, on the night of the ballot declared that under no circumstances would they have an accord with HDP. And somehow, the sleepy, cease-firing PKK started tumultising southeast again, out of nowhere, and people voted for AKP instead of a crisis in which we live with temporary minority governments or with no actual government at all.

> Medium-term, Turkey does actually belong in the EU

German here, I completely agree. I don't necessarily think Turkey would be a good fit for the EU, quite the opposite. But I do believe in the near future Europe will have to solve problems on a large scale that Turkey poses to a way lesser extent. If we cannot handle the Turkey situation, I don't see what future the European way of life (whatever that is supposed to be) has 100 years from now, in an ever changing world.

I'm a Turkish expat (read: immigrant) working in Germany as a software engineer since 7 years.

This situation disturbs me two folds: 1) For the reasons you mentioned already, 2) The power gained through this dirty game being used to suppress the already heavily weakened opposition further in my once democratic country (However, I feel more attached to Germany, to be honest).

> However, I feel more attached to Germany, to be honest

As a fellow German, it's encouraging to hear that immigrants sometimes still feel they can identify with Germany as their new country, despite all the obvious hurdles.

My ex girlfriend's parents moved back to Turkey recently after spending pretty much their entire working lives in Germany, which got me thinking a lot. They said their primary reasons were that they could do more with their retirement money in Turkey and that the weather is nicer - but at the end of the day it means a liberal, secular couple felt like they would be better off moving into a country with a failing democracy, increasing religious fundamentalism, with a wannabe Putin in charge, as opposed to staying where they spent most of their lives.

I never felt unwelcome, but I think there are some incompatibilities between German and Turkish cultures (and I would rather not generalize them as Western vs Eastern) which one needs to overcome before feeling totally comfortable. Another reason could be overzealous repetition of the word "integration" making the same effect on immigrants that the word "rule" makes on teenagers.

Also, I wouldn't discount monetary, climatic and religious reasons so easily. I'm a theological noncognitivist and have thankfully no serious financial issues but sometimes I think about moving to somewhere with a nicer weather - especially in those depressing-weather days =) The best candidate would be then Spain but well, I really like it here.

That's because Turks are treated in Germany the same way Moroccans are in Netherlands. Both parties are to blame, but no matter what a Turk does, it will at least be another 50 years before they're accepted as Germans. Just look at the German media. When somebody with a migration background would get some award, they're quick to point out (s)he is from Germany, hiding the background. But when (s)he does something people disagree with, they're easy to isolate the person as someone with a migration background. I've always seen this as a way of the German Germans (aka Christians and Jews) to feel better, being able to separate those people's behavior from their German German behavior. This basically goes back to the defeat in Vienna, basically. The mistake most of non-Turkish German population does is to conflate descendants of Turkish immigrants with Turks from current day Turkey. It's almost like comparing an African-American from Georgia with someone from Nigeria.

So, I can totally understand why the parents would want to move to Turkey for their retirement. And to be fair, there are many English and German retired couples who move to Turkey just as they do to Spain or France.

> That's because Turks are treated in Germany the same way Moroccans are in Netherlands.

I think the experience of this particular group-based conflict varies wildly depending on life circumstances. In particular, living in a nice neighbourhood and purposefully modelling their lives on middle class Germans, my ex' parents didn't see a lot of conflict or direct hostility. But I can still see how they may have felt isolated or unwelcome in a thousand little ways that simply added up over time.

To make it extra clear, in case that didn't come across in my original comment: I totally understand why they're doing this. They probably felt alienated and badly integrated. Heck, I'm a native-born German and I feel culturally alienated too, even though my cultural perspective is entirely different than theirs. If I think Germany is a cold place in general, that impression must be even more amplified from an immigrant's perspective.

To expand on this, it's exactly a thousand little ways that add up. In your day to day business, like an an African American, there is no visible discrimination, but in any case of disagreement one party quickly pulls the you're-from-the-other-tribe card. Goes for both sides. I stood by when a Turkish friend got accused by a German-German to be a sleazy Turk who lives off the state (which he clearly does not), just because he was trying to reach consensus in a conflict. I don't know if I could have stayed calm if it had been me being singled out as a lesser German citizen. In essence, a thousand little and unremarkable experiences do add up, and this is a major reason why the youth would seek refuge in groups that accept them fully but like Neo-Nazi campfire events it's mostly Rattenfaengertum.

I like to think it's all because of missing proper education (not mis-education), which has to start with the parents.

Rattenfaengertum is a word which can be summed up with Pied Piper, if you know the story. Sorry to English readers who had been wondering. Ratte = rat, fangen = to catch, tum = utility suffixed almost like dom but more as in ness like somethingness.

I'm really positively surprised how observant you are to these issues. Thank you for your insight, especially great to hear from a German.

Heck, I would be scared if I had to deal with Munich police. So, even for German-Germans it's not the same in each part of Germany.

That's because Turks are treated in Germany the same way Moroccans are in Netherlands.

But I fully agree with your observation. But I think there is hope. For instance, the mayor of the second-largest Dutch city (Rotterdam) is a Moroccan immigrant. Such people are role models for people with an immigrant background (you can make it in The Netherlands) and a Dutch background (in terms of acceptance).

Rotterdam is actually the largest Dutch city, though second in rank (Amsterdam is the capital, but it's smaller than Rotterdam).

The ironic part of Netherlands or France is that they had been major colonial players, and in the case of France, are now not accepting people from places that were made to be part of the French Empire as real French is baffling on first sight. But then again people from Bretagne distance themselves from those in Paris, and let's not mention Corsica :-).

The only way to counter all of it are cold hard scientific truths, not sentiments out of existential scares due to too many "others" being around.

I've always wondered how the Brits managed to integrate people of African heritage so well. Maybe it's just that they're for the most part Christians. But that would be too simple an explanation me thinks.

The integration of Indonesians in Holland seems to have gone pretty well. Could there be any kind of similarity there?

Wikipedia numbers:

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam : 834.119 inhabitants

https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam : 630.383 inhabitants

Maybe you are confused with The Hague, which is smaller than both, but the seat of the parliament and government? (Or perhaps you are looking at the surface area, which is not really interesting in this context.)

Well whaddya know. I was actually thinking of the city agglomerate, FAFAIK the metropolitan area of Rotterdam breached 1M population before Amsterdam did. But I really haven't kept up with the last ten years of city developments.

>That's because Turks are treated in Germany the same way Moroccans are in Netherlands.

I don't know anything about Germany nor Morocco. I am a Turk. I lived in Spain, Finland one year each and I'm now in Sweden. I felt that treatment against Turks in Finland. No matter what you do, if you say something about your origin, make sure yourself that something is going to be bad. Spain was awesome and I was totally accepted and respected by the society but NO IT jobs. So, I had to move to Sweden. From what I have observed so far, Sweden has a big immigration problem. I'm sure they will solve this somehow. But, the best I love about Sweden is that they are more open to foreign culture or people with foreign background comparing to Finland. They can also notice the difference between a kebab guy and a computer scientist. I'm not saying kebab business is low level job. It is more about mind-set.

What I've heard from Swedes during my last visit, when I wondered about the beggars sleeping in front of building in the city is that it's a taboo that people do not like talking about. I hope this is not the case and you're right that they're open in that regard.

>That's because Turks are treated in Germany the same way Moroccans are in Netherlands.

Despite being here for decades they have made no effort to assimilate, in contrast to some other groups. 40% (!) of Moroccan youths has a criminal record. They speak poor Dutch. They don't consider themselves Dutch. Let us not pretend the effect was the cause.

So you are suggesting that they have it in their genes? Such a wonderful way to approach immigrants. /s

Also, same arguments have been brought up against Turkish, Romanian and many other large group of immigrant in other countries. It also has a name: Racism.


>So you are suggesting that they have it in their genes?

Don't put words in my mouth, I said no such thing. You offered no rebuttal to what I said, only slander. Explain to me why Moroccan immigrants have not assimilated and why they are so grossly overrepresented when it comes to crime. To say this is all the result of the natives being racist towards Moroccans in particular, that they are forced into this bad behaviour by us, is absolutely ridiculous. They are problematic in France, Belgium and other countries as well. Any negative views towards them are the result of their own actions rather than some grand conspiracy to keep them down.

> Explain to me why Moroccan immigrants have not assimilated and why they are so grossly overrepresented when it comes to crime.

Here, you are implying something. Why don't you just tell it?

> Don't put words in my mouth

I'm just asking, as I can't think anything else on their side that would put them systematically at fault here, which you suggest is the case.

> To say this is all the result of the natives being racist towards Moroccans in particular, that they are forced into this bad behaviour by us, is absolutely ridiculous.

I really don't understand. I bet you are a nice person, and I really like the Dutch culture - people seem to be really nice over there but there's a problem which applies to people of specific race in your country and you try to deny the blame. Why? Who else can you blame? It's like hearing some people in my country say "you know, I like Kurds and all, but most of the terrorists are Kurdish. There are many minorities in Turkey but only Kurds have so much problems." Do you understand what's wrong with those sentences?

Maybe you really have no bad intentions but didn't really anyone tell you that what can be deduced from your words ends up being racist?

You are the only one bringing up race here and steering the conversation towards it. To me it seems obvious that the problem is their culture (islam included). It just doesn't lend itself to blending in with a liberal western society. The multicultural dream is that you can put people of completely different backgrounds in one place and they will naturally form a progressive utopia. The reality is less ideal - thus far I have yet to see the mutual benefits from all this needless friction.

I don't see the problem with making the statement that most of the terrorists in Turkey are Kurds, when that is the case. It's not an irrelevant statistic, it's indicative of some problem somewhere. The Moroccans in the Netherlands are nothing like the Kurds and Turks though - there is no (historical) feud, they simply came here and never changed their ways. In my opinion the responsibility to adapt lies with the immigrant, not the host. The only things I fault the native Dutch people for in this case are their naivety and short-sightedness.

> You are the only one bringing up race here and steering the conversation towards it.

No, from your previous comment:

> in contrast to some other groups. 40% (!) of Moroccan youths has a criminal record.

This is also interesting:

> To me it seems obvious that the problem is their culture (islam included).

So you actually think Moroccan/Islamic culture directs people towards crime? Incredible. I really don't like religions but this is... I actually don't know what this is.

> I don't see the problem with making the statement that most of the terrorists in Turkey are Kurds, when that is the case. It's not an irrelevant statistic, it's indicative of some problem somewhere.

Yes, in this particular case it indicates that a significant part of the population is being suppressed into assimilation and they rightfully want to keep their identities.

> In my opinion the responsibility to adapt lies with the immigrant, not the host.

"Hey guys, being such angels, we allowed you, all potential criminals because of your culture and Islam into our great country which has only the right values! Now, please be perfect citizens and speak our language because we have so many things to share. Thank you." With this elitist attitude, you expect them to "integrate"? And why should only they integrate? Why not present it as a "meet in the middle for mutual benefit" kind of thing?

"in my once democratic country"

The ironic thing is that a few years ago, when the generals still kept the government in check to ensure the secular nature of the Turkish state, the streak in the European left was "Turkey is not democratic because the military has too much power", and the 2002 reforms were heralded as a major improvement. Something about a frying pan and a fire comes to mind...

I actually thought about putting democratic in quotes but then decided that could steer the discussion further off topic. Rest assured that the irony is not lost on me.

It's really weird to think of you as an expat, because we are used to thinking of the turkish in ways that are improper.

Most expats are expats because the grass was greener where they went. Why are some of us expats while others are merely "immigrants"?

Just using that word makes it seem filthy for people from the middle east to come to europe. How are they different from europeans leaving their countries behind? Language is powerful.

Do you feel welcome in germany? Just curious.

> Do you feel welcome in Germany? Just curious.

Yes. After living even in a "conservative" town, I feel more welcome than I feel in the city I was born - Istanbul. In my first 5 years, I usually had to ask people to speak to me in German, they usually switched to English to make me more comfortable. Sure, I can give many examples of racism but the great thing about Germany is that racists aren't significant threats to my rights as a resident. Also, I think back in Turkey, there were many more cases of racism - it's just that they don't get any attention among "bigger problems" (what being a bigger problem is another topic I'd rather not dig into). After all, I'm happy that here people are ready to discuss such things.

> Why are some of us expats while others are merely "immigrants"?

I would guess if you came here to advance your career, then you are eligible to be an expat. Of course I'm kidding. I think many people, for not-so-evil-but-still-a-bit-disturbing reasons, would not like to be called an immigrant. I actually do not care and am happy with the word.

The difference between an 'expat' and an 'immigrant' is that an expat made their choice from a position of strength and an immigrant made their choice from a position of weakness.

That's really all there is to it, everything else is exactly the same. Though usually people from wealthy countries would not like to be known as 'immigrants', they are expats, of course.

Yea, but that's just definition. In reality, we call people we consider undesirable "immigrant". Everyone else gets to be an expat.

I wouldn't call refugees expats, but their intentions aren't any different. They just do what's in their best interest.

It's all relative - I've moved to the US from NL (relatively wealthy I'd say) and I have never considered myself an expat. I'm an immigrant.

A lot of the cozying up is for military reasons I think. Turkey is part of NATO and has 612,900 active personnel against 180,676 from Germany and 205,851 from the UK and also a strategic position bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran so we're kind of forced to be a bit friendly in spite of Erdogan's failings.

Keep in mind that Turkey has often and for long stretches been a buffer/ally between the west and middle and far east. Right before the French and English invaded Turkey in WW1, it was used as a friendly buffer state. So, it's not some place that can be ignored easily.

The fear of Turks in Europe solidified after the defeat in Vienna and left a deep mark that predisposed the idea of Europe as a Christian club. Go look around statues and stuff in Vienna to see what I mean. I have Turkish friends in Germany who, given the treatment, experience being called a Turk as a racial slur. In some sense it's good that so many real arabs are in Germany right now, which should show the broader population the difference between Anatolians and Middle-Easterners. The Turkish population is of quite a mixed ethnic background, even today. This is normal for a place that's not tiny and partly due to cross-pollination too.

The way the EU has evolved is highly questionable and the memberships of many are even more dubious to say the least, so there are much deeper problems than whether another place like the UK, just with almost no Christianity, should get laxer trade agreements or not. Think about why some very central European Christian countries don't use the EURO or in the case of Iceland aren't even fully in the EU but could have been.

Sorry, but you are wrong.

Turkey was the hearth of the Ottoman empire with whom most of Europe had been at intermittent war for centuries until it was dissolved already after WWI (in fact, because of the outcome of WWI).

They were certainly not a friend and the main historical current is that the rulers of Europe accepted the dangers of the existence of the very powerful Austo-Hungarian empire exactly so that they would act as a military barrier between the Ottoman empire and Europe, otherwise the other European kingdoms would never accept the Austro-Hungarians to have such power inside Europe.

Of course they were at war and did things that were deemed acceptable for the time. Today we do other things that you and me might see as acceptable but our grandchildren will view as atrocities. That's humanity.

What I meant is that after the defeat in Vienna the fate was sealed and it put the final nail into the box for votes of acceptance into the Euro club. It wasn't as clear before. The UK doesn't fear Turks because they didn't have the experience Hungary and Austria had for example.

WW1 and WW2 are both the result of mainly one mis-educated and ill-suited German ruler as the main initiator of the conflict(s), funny enough. WW1 it was the relative of the English king who was just plain stupid and thought war is better than economic dominance and didn't wait a couple days longer for some Austrian correspondence I forgot the details about or it would have been avoided in that year at least.

WW2 was funny enough initiated by Austria, who have always wanted to rejoin Germany.

The way I see it it's a family of monarchies across Europe and Russia who had their quarrels and caused the world devastating losses.

Go look around statues in Ankara or Istanbul to see what you mean?

Turkey was a Muslim Empire, or as you say, club. They took Christians and enslaved them or made them fought their wars with exclusive privileges only to Muslims.

Let's not forget history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_genocide

Christians were expelled from Turkey or simply exterminated not that long ago. There is people alive that remembers it. From 1 person in five being Christian to 2 in a hundred.

UK has almost no Christianity? Ohhh, dear, everything in UK is Christian. I have lived in UK and in a non Christian country(China, Japan or Korea)to know.

I'm sorry you somehow think I was defending atrocities. I didn't mention any of it, and if we wanted to discuss that we'd surely come up with past and present genocides in all parts of the world that haven't been accepted as such and apologized for. Yes, Turkey is one, and there are many others. If your grandpa did something terrible, and there's proof, just own it and distance yourself from it. Nobody walks around in Germany and accuses the population to be Nazis, but it's hard because I know many Germans who feel like they're still having to apologize and defend themselves for WW2.

While it's important to process past atrocities, we need to prevent current ones, and I'd include many state sponsored activities of major forces in the world in the list atrocities. Modern genocide may look vastly different than a mass shooting. This is something where we can (without a time machine) make a difference.

And the thing with genocide is that some countries get away with denying some occurrences and only a select few are getting accused of it vocally. If all atrocities in all places were treated the same way, we might have better chances of processing them officially. I mean these aren't crimes where you can make a deal with the DA and remove some items off the list.

> UK has almost no Christianity?

I meant "a UK without Christianity".

It's still a long way for turkey to join the EU. You don't want to alienate the turks against the EU however. It's one of the few relatively peaceful muslim countries in the region and still very much looking westernwards. Erdogan is also alienating his own people so hopefully he won't be there for long.

It might have something to do with all those German-Turkish corporate joint ventures in the Balkans. I can't remember a 6 figure corruption scandale in Kosovo and Albania that did not have a German-Turkish corporation involved.

Turkey cannot be really migration buffer.

But for Germans - i think that the internalized guilt that was whipped into the German society after WWII just prevents them from thinking - EU and his people/interests first, Germany first or criticizing foreigners.

We all will pay dearly for supporting "religious freedom" Erdogan against his army in the early 00s

I can't disagree with you at all. The rise of religion in government does us no good. However, we have to face reality as it exists. There'd be someone else if not him. Turkish people are clearly religious Muslims. While it would be nice to have a secular army in control of Turkey, we know the situation wouldn't be viable long term. I for one am glad when politicians take roads sustainably in the long term rather than a band aid until the next election.

As much as we all hate the growth of Islam, we can't really do much about it. If we suppress the Islamic populists for too long, we risk creating more caliphates around the world.

The army upheld the secular character of Turkey for nearly a century. That is long term-ish enough. And they would have deposed Erdogan again in 2004 (I think), when it was clear he had no respect for the secular values of Ataturk. But the coup failed due to a preemptive strike.

It was Kemal Ataturk himself that set up the things that way.

What do you expect from a government run by to former East German state security members (IMs)? IM "Erika" and IM "Raupe"

Erdogan is an idiot. He overplayed his cards and does not realize it. I hope Turkey stays out of the EU forever.

Why is this getting downvoted?



There is one famous picture, showing Merkel at a very young age in the outskirts of Berlin in front of a house of a dissident that was under observation. WTF was she doing there? And why did she forbid any further publication of this picture, after is was shown by a Magazine from Switzerland?

I saw this picture myself and it is not available anymore in the internet.

Google translate:

The case Havemann

A concrete clue look at the Merkel-critics for their presumption that it does not take quite as accurate the Chancellor in describing their past with the truth. It concerns Robert Havemann, a famous regime-critic who had to live under house arrest in the GDR since 1976 and was under permanent Stasi observation. The authors of a television documentary for WDR met in 2005 at the Search for a film about the Stasi secret to the Act of Robert Havemann - and in there was a controversial detail: a photo of Angela Merkel. The picture was in a series of Stasi shots that people showed who were staying around the plot of Robert Havemann over the years or those visited. What did Angela Merkel there? Was she the officers conducting the observation? Visited them the critics of a harmless reason? Not likely, because the access to the house only selected people were allowed. Visited they him so in an official capacity to pump him? From Merkel herself there to little enlightening. She was taken by a fellow student from the Havemann Family with the plot. That was all, no further comments. Spicy is in this context, however, a fact that is occupied. During her time in the Academy of Sciences she shared an office with Havemann's son, also worked as a physicist. Just a coincidence? Angela Merkel claimed that it had practically to do with Havemann Junior hardly anything. Merkel prevented publication

Assuming the already discussed WDR documentary "In the Eye of the power the images of the Stasi" in any case wanted to disclose the relevant Merkel photo, but got from the Chancellor office a rejection. For "reasons of protection of their privacy" permission was refused. In the film, then the photo of Merkel has shown herself but defaced. In some Swiss magazines, however, the controversial photo was published. There you suspect the Chancellor in numerous articles then, more practically, to have been active as a Stasi informant. A claim that would establish the authors of the WDR-Reportage otherwise not in their documentation. For this process to derive a spying activities Merkel, is quite wrong and untrustworthy, the author wrote Holger Kulick to the makers of the "Chronicle Berlin", had constructed such a relationship. Indeed, Merkel did Posted therefore not agreed to, because they do not want to fall in the back her political mentor Helmut Kohl, who at the time publicly against it struggled to publish his Stasi file. But is this statement? Is that really the only reason? Here alone is Angela Merkel's words.

I wonder how much more of this sort of thing has to go on before the media begins widespread use of the word "dictator" for Erdogan? Illegal criticism, seizing opposition media, violent oppression of minorities, potential election shenanigans - I can imagine next he'll appoint himself President for Life and rename the it the People's Republic of Turkey.

I feel the same thing applies to Putin, but we'll never see the term used due to the immense power he and his Russia wield internationally when compared to small fry Turkey

Turkey is considered a US ally. We don't use the term dictators for our allies. (see Saudi Arabia for example).

The correct term for the leader of Saudi Arabia is 'king', though, so it is quite understandable that dictator is not used there.

Which of course doesn't make the situation any better.

And Saddam Husseins correct title was 'President' and Hitlers correct title was 'Führer' or 'Reich Chancellor', but they were still dictators.

He is the Turkish Putin.

I find it worrying. Turkey seemed to be such a success until a few years ago. A booming, increasingly western economy, seeming stability. Somehow you expect dictatorship to come with a revolution, but it seems it can slowly creep up on you. All it seems to take is a strong, popular leader.

People think they like strong, popular leaders, but I find them a threat to democracy. They tend to think they're doing everyone, the country, a favor by latching on to power and never letting go again.

Putin does not take orders from America or EU, Erdogan does. Putin's got a PhD, Erdogan's got nothin and can't speak any English. So it's ridiculous comparing them two.

There are a lot of similarities though. Both trying to be president for life, having huge palaces, throwing reporters in jail, corrupt, somewhat popular at home and so on.

What, do they have to be identical to make the comparison? I could refer to Putin as the Russian Erdogan, but Putin was there first.

Because, it was all fun and games until a hacky "arab spring" like attempt in 2013 summer and later Gulenists decided to take government down at the end of 2013. Even though Government won the battle it was a strong blow. Government went into deep paranoia and now doing things like paranoid fools.

Putin is quite the authoritarian, yet I don't think you can compare Erdogan to Putin. They are not even on the same level.

I agree they're not on the same level - but I think this is more Putin have a superior intellect and grasp of subtlety and Realpolitik than Erdogan. I'm fully expecting Putin to pull the old President/Prime Minister switcheroo again in 2024, after winning the 2018 election.

Putin subtle? Like the switcheroo? And a second one would be subtle? The guy's an outright buffoon.

It's not that Putin is subtle. It's that Erdogan is much less so.

I'm not sure about that, in 2030 he'll be 75 years old, he might have different perspective at this age.

you clearly underestimate the man. erdogan is a brilliant politician probably the greatest of our generation with putin and do not worry he does not need europe. actually joining europe will be bad for turkey on so much levels that it does not make sense

Same hunger for power, different stages of progress.


And they want to join the EU...!

And why wouldnt they? What really bugs me is that probably will be let into EU.

I think Turkey won't become a full EU member for at least 20 years. Turkey is childishly sensitive about its military past, and still refuses to acknowledge Cyprus, which is a full EU member state.

I've found the following 2013 status report [1] which is surprisingly readable. From this document (my interpretations, not quotes):

As a prelude to EU membership, the EU and Turkey entered a Customs Union in 1995. The formal accession process, which requires that Turkey ratify and comply with 35 chapters, was started in 2001 but put on hold in 2004 by Turkey's refusal to accept Cyprus (a new EU member) as part of the Customs Union.

Between 2006 and 2011, hardly any progress was made, with the EC and EP basically playing good-cop bad-cop with Turkey: the Commission would highlight the few positive steps made, while the Parliament kept slamming Turkey over the slow pace of change. This made the support for the EU changes wither in Turkey.

In July 2012, Cyprus gained presidency of the EU and Turkey halted all formal talks, although the EC (again playing good cop) did continue negotiations about visa requirements between Turkey and the EU. Then the 2013 Gezi park protests happened, and that only soured the relationship more.

As of today, only 15 out of 35 chapters in the accession process have even been opened, and only one (Science&Research) has been completed. Since Turkey's first application for EU membership in 1987, 17 states have completed the full membership process, while Turkey's PM keeps making clear that he doesn't even understand the fundamental principles underlying Europe's free society.

No, I really don't see Turkey moving closer towards the European Union. Maybe when the AKP loses power...

[1] http://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RS22517.pdf

Turkey has been useful for the Germans to keep Merkel from fulfilling the promise that she doesn't want fulfilled: which is, getting 800000 refugees there. Why? partially because they might have an integration problem (there was criticism of immigrants before) why is that? either intolerance, a bad integration program, too many immigrants, or a mixture of all those. So, for now, Turkey is useful, and the EU heads of state play along with a dictator

The (funny, in my world) reaction of the show on Twitter is translated literally in the article:

Mr. Erdogan brandishing a fire extinguisher at a laptop, while threatening, “Either you erase this video, or I will extinguish the Internet.”

In German 'löschen' does mean to extinguish a fire (as the cartoon implies with the fire extinguisher), but more generally this is what you'd use for 'delete' in most/all cases.

So while the translation is certainly correct, the double meaning of 'I will delete the internet' is lost.

1: https://twitter.com/extra3/status/714804805798068225

German here: I think extinguish works very well in this case because it translates into a genernal "auslöschen" which is not limited to flames and fire, e.g. "Die Dinosaurier wurden durch den Einschlag eines riesigen Kometens ausgelöscht".

I agree that it works better in German but it translates surprisingly well into English.

I'm always wondering, how does a country that venerates Atatürk (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Kemal_Atat%C3%BCrk) and was concious of the values around which he built modern Turkey, can retrace its steps back and undo all that took so much effort to get.

Modern Turkey was built on openness, education, strong secularization and liberal values (in 1934 already they granted women full political rights, way before many others). Now we see a country which has drifted towards the most rancid nationalism and authoritarianism.

It's a pity really. Turkey enjoys so many geographical and cultural advantages (being the door between Europe and Asia), that had it steered towards the modern democracy path by keeping Atatürk's legacy alive, it would have easily become a notable member of the EU and a major player in the stability of the region.

How were the Ku^H^HMountain Turks supposed to enjoy all that openness and liberal values when they were dead?

The satire show is reacting with more satire. Extra 3 made Mr. Erdogan employee of the month.


Oh and the song with english subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2e2yHjc_mc

More important: the video has been released with Turkish subtitles:


English subtitles:



Pretty hard to translate, most jokes are lost in translation.

I came here to say, "How do you say 'Streisand effect' in Turkish?"

Is there anybody discussing that there may be a logic behind this decision? E.g. Erdogan pressures German publicly to gain advantange in some other discussions with Germany. Or maybe he wants to gain a stronger following among his people and they like when he starts a fight with a stronger country, and he needs that stronger following because his political opposition is quite strong. Something like that?

I can't believe that he really expected Germany and/or German people to back down about such a topic.

> Is there anybody discussing that there may be a logic behind this decision? E.g. Erdogan pressures German publicly to gain advantange in some other discussions with Germany. Or maybe he wants to gain a stronger following among his people and they like when he starts a fight with a stronger country, and he needs that stronger following because his political opposition is quite strong. Something like that?

Yes, that in fact, minus the strong opposition. His power is not that big, but the conjecture allows him to keep on: The three strong opposition parties cannot form an alliance against his. See my other comments.

I'm not sure how closely you follow the Turkish news, but this is an everyday level of stupidity by Turkish government standards.

He really is dumb enough and believes his own hype enough to think that Germany will back down if he threatens certain things, such as ending cooperation on Syrian refugees.

Something i haven't seen mentioned much is that the tv station this show is on, is a public broadcasting station paid for with taxes via the german government. While it turns out there are laws in place that ensure the government cannot influence program, it is fairly easy to understand how Erdogan could take this combination of being mocked by a state tv station wrongly, and get the impression that contacting the ambassador is the right step.

No, the "Rundfunkbeitrag" is no tax and Government isn't involved in collecting this. This is a bit of a juristic nitpicking but they are to some degree independent from government in financing, while the payment is mandatory. Politicians are however members of the supervisory councils (along with church representatives, worker union members and so on)

> is a public broadcasting station paid for with taxes via the german government

Not exactly. Germans have to pay the Rundfunkabgabe which directly funds the TV stations, it's not a position in the government's bookkeeping.

I don't think Erdogan cares whether journalists are working for private companies, public stations or government media.

Either they are for him or against him. If they are against him, he is going after them - regardless of who employs them.


> While it turns out there are laws in place that ensure the government cannot influence program

Well those tv stations are controlled by boards on which members of the ruling political parties are, so the influence thing is kind if ridiculous, but that's the official version, yes.

There is quite a difference: The station isn’t paid for by taxes from the government, but the station has the right to collect its own taxes, ensuring it can act independently.

Moreover, this right is established by a treaty between the German states, rather than by a law of the federal government.

So there's basically a media bureaucracy that can decide how much money it wants to earn, without asking any customers. Awesome!

But they can not decide their own wages, can not carry profits from one year into the other, and can not hoard excess money.

Side note: as someone who pays that fee, I would never think of myself as a 'customer' of public broadcasting, since it's a public service -- just like I wouldn't think of myself as a 'customer' of hospitals, schools, communal waste disposal, the fire department or law enforcement.

That may be true, but it's irrelevant to my point, which was that the Rundfunkbeitrag is a matter of state (Land) law, and thus even further away from the hands of the federal foreign ministry.

Go satire! I think Turkey briefly had the record for most journalists jailed around 2013 but has been overtaken. I'm glad the internet makes such things less effective.


Are we already at the same point of history, as it was 1933?

Western democracies are unable to protect democracy or even stand for democratic rights. Instead they are more fearful about some refugees.

Who does not learn from history, is doomed to repeat it.

It has particularly nasty resonances when Erdogan is alternately threatening to unleash massive population flows of middle eastern migrants into Germany and the rest of the continent, and offering to help "solve" the problem for the right payoff. https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/eu-and-turkey-reach-tenuou...

Rather reminiscent of "Finlandization" during the Cold War. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finlandization#Self-censorship...

How can you be a leader of a country and not be aware of the Streisand effect or whatever it's called in Turkey related to whoever try to pull those stunts last time.

Why should he care? The twittersphere are not the people voting vor him. His posturing against the satire got him some nice articles in the local press (probably with the added spin that it's all about Europe belittling Turkey), job done.

Erdogan is loving this New York Times article right now.. This is exactly what he needs.. A so called non-muslim enemy to rally his supporters against her. Somehow he made his supporters believe USA Russia Iran and Israel are all supporters of PKK (Kurds) at the same time. Turks on average read 1 book every 10 years. I don't blame Erdogan, I blame the generation came before us not to educate themselves.

I generally agree with your point. However, I have to nitpick a bit:

> Turks on average read 1 book every 10 years.

How did you end up with this conclusion? http://mentalfloss.com/article/55344/which-country-reads-mos...

> I blame the generation came before us not to educate themselves.

Do you really believe that your generation is properly educated?

Turkey is literally the United State's worse ally of the last quarter of a century besides Saudi Arabia. If it weren't for the geo-strategical importance and a base for US tactical nukes Turkey would be 3rd world if the US stopped it's unconditional support of Turkey's shenanigans

Maybe I'm reading too deep into this, but something about how the writer put this story together makes me think it is an allegory for what could happen if Trump becomes president.

We do call Trump "America's Erdogan".

The Streisand Effect is very powerful. Erdogan might get a clue.

I don't hold as much hope for people on who, counter to their stated aims, Streisand people into prominence by no-platforming them.


Screaming “Terrorist Erdogan” and displaying homemade signs, a group of protesters are approached by members of the Turkish president’s security detail, who then proceed to comically yell and drown out the negative chants.

Funny how this seems to be the first thing in the refugee crisis that reunites the right and left-wing bandwagons. Even if the right-wing wagon should support Erdogan but they can't since he's turkish/muslim/whatever.

Böhmermann killed that freedom today with his song though ;)

Funny how someone like Erdogan can be so eminently stupid.

Oh he's said some stupid things over the years. You'd be surprised but the US knows they don't want to lose him even though he's pretty much a dictator but takes orders

The Streisand Effect in action. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

why show me nyt on my smartphone a login, but on desktop nothin'?

because of a 'nytimes protection' that only allows you to read 10 articles/month. You're supposed to be a 'hacker' so ask yourself, how does the WWW allows one to be tracked (don't think of the more advanced methods [HSTS, WebGL and the sort] think of how the actual vintage WWW protocol allows one to do that).

PS: for a quick solution, use incognito mode.

>> think of how the actual vintage WWW protocol allows one to do that.

Thank you for your inspiring comment.

Why is it hard to understand that islam and western values just can NOT coexist?

Why is it hard to understand that "real" muslims are convinced that western values are simply weaknesses that must be quickly exploited to destroy the western civilization?

Those Orthodox and Catholic countries sure had a grand old time with democracy before the positivists came about, huh?

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact