At least he is right about that. His, and by extension Turkey's, impotence will soon be there for all to see. It reminds me of "Consequences will never be the same"
"We won't allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others"
The people are willingly placing their heads in the mouth of these lions. It is revealing how much world leaders are freaked by the concept of really free communications. Observers of political life already know that while there may be an illusion of press freedom, the collusion between media barons and the powerful (entered into willingly or through the pressure "no interview / early access for you") has a chilling effect.
It is hard to see how somebody could hope to "keep the lid" on all that. There will be more unrest in Turkey.
Erdogan has not been shy about his feeling that democracy is a means to an end, that it is a tool to be used for his convenience, and that such tools can be cast disposed of when their usefulness expires. This will be his downfall.
Which is a great shame. Per David "Spengler" Goldman, it's the only Muslim Middle Eastern country with world class universities (I believe he's defining that region as from Iran to the west), and otherwise had great potential.
Ah, another note from Goldman, both Turkey and Iran are facing core population demographic collapses, e.g. soon enough Kurds will be a majority in the former. They are acutely and publicly aware they have about one generation to do something about this....
So he, Putin, and all known and unknown cronies will wrestle with a lot of insubordination for years to come. The millennial all around the world see government differently. Unlike the elites. So they just cannot grasp why stuff like Gezi happens.
What's the definition of religious freedom?
Islam contains aspects that aren't "religion" from the western point of view. Many muslims will say Shariah law is an essential part of the religion, handed down by god. Shariah does not guarantee religious freedom, nor is it compatible with most constitutions.
So without restricting religious freedom to a smaller "common core" of religious practice, or a bigger part of the muslim world lowering the importance of shariah, there is always a conflict between islam and democracy.
The military interventions are the primary reason for political Islam to have such an influence over the Turkish society.
Look, the military interventions are far from ideal, but if I had a choice between a country with a military that steps in lightly when my country's secular ideals are threatened, and a country ruled by a strict authoritarian religious monoparty that strives to weaken democratic establishments, I know which one I'd choose.
If one side uses god as their method of maintaining power and the other uses the army then neither can claim to be representing democracy, at least as a method of acquiring and maintaining political power.
Outside of a basic democratic paradigm, I'm not sure what choice really means. But, even inside modern democracies the concept slightly theoretical.
And yes, each one of these was a big setback for democracy. It was not my claim that military coups are good for democracy.
But which would you rather have, a big setback and then a chance to rebuild a democracy, or a takeover by a party bent on eliminating democracy and the multiparty system, and turning the country into a permanent, hereditary, sham "democracy" in the style of Syria?
Yet "some people" still get it wrong:
This is hypothesized to be a reaction to a series of audio recordings that were anonymously released over time. These were ridiculously damning, clearly someone is tapping phones without anyone else's knowledge.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/turkish-pm-corr... http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/iw/contents/articles/origina... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_corruption_scandal_in_Turk...
Some highlights from the "alleged" recordings so far:
- PM calling to get news about an opposing party removed from a TV channel multiple times
- Modifying political poll results to manipulate public opinion
- Getting people of opposing opinions fired
- Buying a large paper shredder to destroy documents
- PM calling son to ask how much money there is at home, son replies saying about 1 trillion, then switches to 3-5 kurush (cents in turkish).
- PM calling son to say "they're raiding the houses, zero out the money". Son says there's only 30 million euros left.
- Call to order the judges to be fixed, and says that a specific person is to be imprisoned.
- Trying to manipulate who goes on the supreme court.
- Says "ignore the prosecutor who's running the corruption investigations". Orders documents ripped up.
The official reason for the shutdown is that there were sexual photos of some poor citizen released on twitter against her will, and she complained but twitter refused to take them down. So they decided to shut down the entire website. Yeah, right.
Of course this is ominous that at the end of this month, the local elections will take place. No coincidence.
It's surreal how all this is going down. It's like watching a conspiracy theory movie. Blatant shills everywhere, media manipulation abounds, blatant lies heard on TV from the horse's mouth. We were all skeptical already, it's inevitable when you live in a third world country for years, but wow. When you hear the insiders actually talking to each other, it's a whole new level.
more news on this specific event: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-blocks-twitter-after... http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/03/turkey-erdogan-...
Related old post here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7189577
edit: Erdogan stated a few days ago that he didn't care what the world thought, and he would eradicate twitter. He said "how dare they listen to our encrypted phone conversations". It's expected that on the 25th, something huge is going to be released that might sway the elections bigtime. Whoever is posting these are doing it slowly and deliberately, a few days at a time, building up anticipation. So people think that twitter getting shut down is probably related to this.
edit2: All recordings were put on youtube by someone: https://www.youtube.com/user/haramzadeler333
I just want to add few things:
Most of the leaking tapes are from the corruption investigation that was effectively blocked by the PM. His son was to be detained too but he shuffled or dismissed any prosecutor or police force that would dare to. Later he restructured the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors and did everything to stop the investigation and arrests.
The son of the Interior minister was arrested too but the Interior minister himself remained in power till he helped out Erdogan to restructure judiciary and law enforcement forces.
The legal files were leaked too. Turns out the Interior Minister knew about the ongoing investigation,so he created a team in the police to surveillance the other policemen who were after his son.
Isn't there any secular, non-nationalist political movement in Turkey?
Sure, such movements exist, but the conservative school is the most powerful; they possess most the money and media, and thus silence things.
> Clearly, Turkey is not really a democracy anymore.
Turkey's democracy has been buggy from the start. I believe the election system allows for situations like today, where one party can gain the absolute ruler status.
If a large chunk of a country can leave the country based purely on a vote then I'd say we do have democracy in the UK. It might not be perfect, and we have a lot of problems but to say we don't have democracy at all is just plain silly.
(in case I sound like I'd prefer an elitist administration instead, I should say that I wouldn't have it any other way. least worst, and all that.)
If a large chunk of a country (like Crimea) can leave the country based purely on a vote then I'd say we do have democracy in Ukraine.
As far as I've noticed, guns and deaths have been absent from the debate around Scottish independence.
Mind you, mentioning that there is an Irish guy called Gerry Adams might be - but that's getting a bit off topic.
Bullshit. After Mario Monti's govern we got elections. The Democratic Party won. It put Letta as PM. Then Letta resigned and another man from the same party continued to govern. Since we do not elect the PM directly, what's the problem? We elected a party, and the party is still there. Is your concept of democracy "nothing is right unless my party wins"?
> Napolitano, Italy's President should commit suicide out of embarrassment IMHO)
I hate this defeatist, cynical bullshit about "there are no democracies" - it only plays into the hands of those who want people to sit down, shut up and not get involved.
That said, my comment didn't wanted to sound like it did. I should have been a little more careful and detailed... What I mean was that it's very relative on how one perceives democracy. For sure in Greece there's no democracy in the way most of people of a democratic government. On the other hand of course we're not banana-democracies either.
But I feel that instead of going to a more democratize governance worldwide, we're moving towards xenophobia, intolerance and uncertainty.
Anyway wanted to just clear out a couple of things.
Nearly 20 years of Berlusconi says otherwise, along with the large proportion of the vote that Beppe Grillo got during the last election.
Imperfect democracies? Yes, of course. We need to be constantly vigilant and fight to improve things. No doubts about that. But "woe is us the US is a dictatorship" is silly talk. It is, like it has always been, an imperfect democracy in need of constant improvement.
I think most western nations got more democratic over the past decades, rather than the opposite. It's just that we have reached a point were current dirt can be discovered in bigger quantities than past dirt.
You won't find a lot of antidemocratic scandals in Russia... No TV Stations is going to point out that the Krim-Referendum was a little hasty and done under russian guns. Does absence of transparency mean Russia is more democratic than the west?
If you define democracy as something where every citizen can participate equally you can easily come to the conclusion that all these countries in fact are not democracies because clearly these governments often do things that the population does not want. You can verify this easily by looking at some poll results. As soon as there are lobbyists who influence the elected representatives, there is an inequality in the power between different interest groups. This leads to less democratic societies. In our current societies not every citizen can participate equally, therefore these are not democracies. Compare it to a mathematical definition of equality... You cannot say 0.9 is equal to 1 just because it is almost equal. In a direct democracy everyone has almost equal possibilities to participate... In a representative democracy this "almost" get's a little weaker. In a representative democracy with powerful lobbyist groups this "almost" becomes even more weak so that you cannot even call it equal anymore.
So I completely agree when people look at current democracies from an idealistic point of view and say that they are not really democracies. My personal opinion is that a much more ideal democratic society is actually possible with the advances in IT. Direct democratic participation could be possible using end-to-end auditable voting systems with cryptographic methods.
The definition of democracy continues, pretty significantly:
"... either directly or indirectly through elected representatives"
Direct democracy is practised essentially nowhere (about 50,000 Swiss) and every other democracy in the world is representative. Clearly, when someone refers to 'democracy', with no other context, they're referring to a representative strain, and therefore the UK, USA, etc. are functioning democracies. If you want to discuss whether a representative democracy is worse than a direct one, we can have that debate, but don't try to distort things by making outlandish, untrue statements right off the bat.
When laws are passed, they are both compromises between major stakeholders (and aggregates of minor ones) and a relatively thought-through propositions. You just don't have a clue how much work it is to get laws in a shape that is technically, legally and politically feasible.
When you hold referendums for minor points of policies, you will get a package of policies that may not be workable, or worse: Because of the combinatorics of opinions, the final policy disagrees with the majority of the voters - just as in the current systems.
In fact, no PM was effectively ever elected by the people, since we do not vote for the PM, and the role of choosing it is in the hands of the parliament.
In the history of the italian republic, no single PM was in charge for the duration of a whole legislature (the record holder before the '90s was a year and a half), there is literally nothing new in the current state of the government, other than propaganda by the parties (majority and minority both).
Also, between mr monti and mr letta there actually were elections.
It's interesting to note that in Denmark, the system is almost completely proportional (the threshold to get into Folketing is 2%), but this, oddly enough, does not lead to unstable coalitions (maybe due to the Nordic culture of consensus). I'd say that Denmark (and presumably the rest of the Nordic countries) are good examples of functional democracies (though I strongly disagree with their close ties to the US in terms of security, this has nothing to do with the fact that the system appears to work).
And while you can't expect democracies to be perfect, there is a big difference between a less-than-ideal system with mostly independent institutions, and a nation where the key institutions are in the hands of various political networks.
Let us fervently hope it does not come to that.
I personally don't see Putin as this evil dictator... He plays a very old game, yes, but this also means he's very predictable. He didn't get into Crimea because "he wanted Crimea", he did it because the alternative (his only major Southern port in NATO hands) would have been a disaster from a strategic perspective. As I keep repeating, would the US let Panama slip in Russian or Iranian hands? Of course not.
The danger of Russia as a neighbour is not its size, wealth or military power - the US+Europe have more of that - but the willingness to play rough.
Neutrality for Denmark and its neighbours means no benefits from alliances and all the negative aspects of regional competition...
 I assume by democracies, you would also include constitutional republics.
Lawrence Lessig talks about it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/lawrence_lessig_we_the_people_and_t...
Also, the problem Lessig raises is sort of weird from a democracy perspective as it arguably stems from too much free speech. That is, when speech is not free as in beer but is free as in freedom, in a market economy, the wealthiest speakers tend to crowd out the rest and disproportionately influence campaigns and politicians. So I'm not sure I'd file that as "democracy is dying" so much as "democracy is hard".
But the basic tenet of a functional democracy is that it is functional (duh). I have some doubts if the swiss model will stay both functional and democratic, in the mid-term future.
The referendum about quotas for EU citizens has shown a few disturbing tendencies: It is now possible for a referendum to issue a constitutional crisis where the government does not see a way to implement the referendum without damaging the country.
And if I listen to swiss people, they are completely not in agreement over whom they want to oust. Somehow almost all EU citizens are employed, and they want to oust the unemployed like they could even before the referendum.
But if the government doesn't oust anyone, it can't implement the referendum.
Another danger is that there have been increasingly xenophobic referendums. If this escalation maintains, democratic freedoms will suffer. If anything, referendums do have this tendency of distorting "public opinion" toward the emotional and down right hateful side.
It does occasionally result in (in my views) appalling choices, but that doesn't make it non-democratic.
And then democracy is not democracy without civil and human rights, even for minorities. The reasons are too many to discuss here. For starters someone who is in fear of the state or who fears for his property because the state doesn't protect him, can't vote or be elected freely.
But that also means that the majority can't vote to violate these rights for a minority. That's a point about democracy that is increasingly lost in the European democratic tradition and it will lead to ugly results down the road.
The extremists are capitalizing on this misconception: They want to restrict the rights of minorities by having referendums. And because of ignorance on the side of the voters, this actually "looks" more democratic...
It's Diebold hardware and closed source software. Diebold had it's voting machines banned in the US.
The new mandatory biometric identification system to prevent fraud is completely 'side-steppable', just as before. Voters are required to re-register for voting again, and upon registration have their fingerprints taken (all ten digits) and a high resolution picture.
The software used to hold and manipulate all this biometric data is the same used by our Federal Police, which is the same used by the FBI.
The STE (a department which manages ALL aspects of elections) has an agreement to share all this data with Policia Federal, and which in turn have an agreement with the FBI!
The biggest bribery scheme discovered here, the 'mensalão', used government money to pay out bribes to the oposition. One of the heads of this criminal organization, José Dirceu, is serving time in a semi-closed regime.
He got a job as a hotel manager during the day. The previous manager, who he replaced, had a salaray of R$1,800. Dirceu has a R$20,000 salary. How absurd is this? It reaks of collusion with former associates.
Sorry for the rant, and any typos.
What is the alternative? Yes we are NOT all equal. Some of us are more rational and intelligent than others. But how would you go about determining one's intellectual and moral worthiness? (Education? IQ?) And who gets to decide the criteria for superiority?
If you were as smart as you think you are...you would have considered these issues before making such a shockingly elitist statement.
My original comment was to point out that "Democracy" is not some perfect utopia that every country should strive for.
Also, I can't tell if you're being facetious or if you truly believe we would be better of with dictatorships...because there are plenty of real-world examples to choose from and they're quite horrible.
YES - that's exactly what should happen. Your "political degree" gives you no right to decide for other people what's good for them. If I like my leaders to have nice eyes, then I am entitled to my vote just as you are entitled to yours based on your "political degree" nonsense that I don't care about. You don't get to decide if having nice eyes is important or not. If enough people think it's important - then it is important by definition.
Shop floor assistant at an Apple store gets the same say as the VP legal, about whether or not to sue someone for trademark infringement? One person one vote! yay democracy.
> If enough people think it's important - then it is important by definition.
Your logic is bad. If enough people think that vacinations cause autism, does that make it true? The majority is often wrong.
In a representative democracy, a clerk in the social security office doesn't have the same authority and scope of power in the day to day operation of government as the Attorney-General. They both have the same say in, say, electing a member of Congress, just as shop floor assistant and a corporate VP who both had equal holdings in the relevant company's stock on things that go to votes of the shareholders.
> > If enough people think it's important - then it is important by definition.
> Your logic is bad. If enough people think that vacinations cause autism, does that make it true?
Your logic is bad. You draw a false equivalence between a matter of objective fact (causality) and a matter of subjective preference (importance). The two are not parallel.
That's the point - in that logic, the amount of votes you get in a democracy would be tied to how much land you own. Which IMHO seems a probably better way to do things.
No, land is something you own subordinate to the nation, not an equity stake in the nation.
Though the idea that the problem with our government is that its not plutocratic enough is, well, amusing.
I have a Political Science degree, and I see no reason why this would be a problem. Could you clarify why you think this should not be the case?
Citizens of a country run by representative democracy are like equal-equity shareholders in a corporation.
> You wouldn't give a checkout assistant the same say in a company as the CEO.
You would in things done by vote of the shareholders if they were each equal in that regard. Of course, those kind of things are mostly (1) ratifying or rejecting certain major decisions proposed by other equal members or by management (like the initiative/referendum process in many US states and some national governments) and (2) choosing the board of director and certain officers (like the proces of normal elections in most representative governments.)
Which covers, pretty much, the things done by elections in most representative governments. So, no, I don't think the difference you claim is at all valid.
Nobody would ever attempt to run a monastery like a bar, either.
One problem is that referendums have to follow a very detailed process to actually mean something. As can be seen in the Crimea. Putin essentially asked down the barrel of a tank: "Do you want to join?" Of course he was somewhat more subtle, but in essence...
In Switzerland severely different conditions prevail. It's a small country with around 10 million inhabitants, quite a few of that non-voters. Try doing a referendum every couple of months with dozens of millions of voters! The potential for abuse abounds!
And then, don't think that referendums will be about important or at least relatively sane issues. No, no, most moderate parties are content with the way parlemantary democracy works. The referendums will be issued by the most right-wing and most left-wing parties there are, with each crack-pot idea becoming at least marginally possible for a time. In Switzerland there is the "concording principle", which tries to remedy some of that uncertainty and chaos. Try that in France, Germany or Italy...
"- PM calling son to ask how much money there is at home, son replies saying about 1 trillion, then switches to 3-5 kurush (cents in turkish)."
The phone conversation goes like this:
+son, tell me what do you have at home? is there anything...
-no dad, what can I have?
+how much money do you have at home?
-only left overs from my own money, just few cents((3-5 kurush is an idiom to describe small, almost neglectable amounts of money)), you know about it...
-about 1,000,000 Turkish liras(he says 1 trillion, in old currency - Turkey dropped 6 zeros from it's currency but people often use the old numbers) dad...
1,000,000 is about 450,000 USD
you can listen to the recording here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJwlEpShpTM
here are some photos from the raid, leaked to the press : http://i.imgur.com/mqBxsRB.jpg
Well, this part makes sense. If some international company doesn't comply with local laws and customs, what's left to do? It's not like Twitter, a private company, is above all law, and is some kind of essential need for humanity.
Earlier this morning, a judge gave an interview to CNN Turk, saying that the court did not issued a complete shut down order bu the body who regulates the internet used the court order to do this.
edit2: The prosecutor, quoted by the regulatory body as the reason for the shut down, denies such an order: https://twitter.com/e_altn/status/446953513839767553
This is like taking whole telephone network down because somebody is spreading lies on the phone.
blocking Google because it can be used to find child pornography.
Cutting the electricity in a whole country if somebody complained that he is being electrocuted.
What should have been done is to prosecute the person who is doing it.
It's not like these photos went mainstream or anything. Nobody knows who is that person or have seen these photos. Even if that was the case, you still have to punish the offenders, protect the victim without shutting down a fundamental service to everybody.
"How do I report that my private information is posted on Twitter?" https://support.twitter.com/groups/56-policies-violations/to...
"reporting abusive behavior" https://support.twitter.com/groups/56-policies-violations/to...
"How to make an emergency disclosure request", followed by "requests from non-us law enforcement": https://support.twitter.com/groups/56-policies-violations/to...
The problem is that there is no evidence that such a case even happened and even if it did, that they notified twitter and asked them to take it down. On the flipside, it's too much of a coincidence that this happened 10 days before the local elections, and almost immediately after the PM said he would eradicate twitter.
edit: Also, I don't have the time to translate from turkish but it seems that the court that ordered the site blocked was officially taken off duty two weeks before this event even happened.
https://twitter.com/av_akinatalay/status/446792494907686912/... order from the government's official newspaper, taking "heavy crimes" (e.g. terrorism) courts off duty
https://twitter.com/av_akinatalay/status/446783831254003712/... twitter takedown notice showing that the court which ordered this was appointed due to the TMK (law to combat terror) article #10, and this should have been shut down already
It's dubious that this court case even happened!
There are regional elections in Turkey at the end of March. The governing party is expected to receive a major blow. Latest scandals have certainly not helped their cause.
I wish changing government were as easy as changing DNS settings.
US government is one of the few reasons that Erdogan's regime is still illegitimate, because the opposition against them is minimal in the Western media.
(though not an ally on Irak and Iran)
Coming to a screen near you.
Since a while the whistleblowers are talking about it, giving teasers and so on.
 - http://torproject.org/
 - http://lahana.dreamcats.org/
Does anyone know of websites that dedicate themselves to find corruption in US politicians?
See also Berlusconi. The wonderful thing about the combination of democracy and transparency is that the majority of the population gets exactly the leaders they deserve.
Perhaps some foreign power or some large interest group, that seeks to replace them with some equally scum candidates, but who will be more willing to cater to them, and who will not have leaks on him...
Leaks are not providing transparency, but the illusion of it. You only have transparency if you either have leaks for everybody and all their ill actions (which you don't have a way to check if is the case) or if you also know who makes the leaks and why.
The situation in Turkey is much more worrying though. That's different competing conspiracies.
Hard to believe isn't it? He's expected to get 20 to 30% of the votes during next week's regional elections.