WTF is going on with Turkey?

Twitter is gone.  YouTube is gone.  I am wondering how many more posts I will be able to get out before the death sentence is handed down on all social media applications.  Facebook?  Definitely.  Google?  Probably.  WordPress?  It has been blocked before so no doubt it will happen again.  Why not just close down the internet?  Even as I type this I realise that this is no doubt something that the Turkish Government has considered.

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I have had a lot of emails and messages from friends and family worried about our welfare.  I do not know what the news channels are telling you back home but Turkey is perfectly safe right now.  Mersin is safe and we are still safe.

Will it be safe tomorrow?

I just don’t know.  Council elections are expected to go ahead on Sunday and I think the outcome of those elections will bring much of what is going on here in Turkey to a head.

Also if you are interested in a little conspiracy theory with your breakfast go ahead and Google “Tomb of Suleyman Shah”.  This should keep you occupied while you are eating your Corn Flakes. 

So what do we do?

Get on with daily life.  School, home, friends, family. 

My thoughts?

Better to keep my trap shut!

We are watching history here folks.  The destruction of a country that has been blessed with so much but thanks to the corruption of a few I expect many more lives will be put in peril.  

Right now I can still blog.  I can still get onto Facebook.  My emails are working.  I will continue to update the blog over the coming days so keep checking back for updates.  

Don’t you dare Mr Erdogan

In February the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put to vote (and was subsequently passed) a law that would enable the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate to block websites if they are determined to violate privacy. 

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He goes on to say:

“We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook. We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way. . . . These people or organizations encourage every kind of immorality and espionage for their own ends. And there are no boundaries. Such concept of freedom is unacceptable.”

These social networks have become the place to go to for those who oppose the current Government.  Comprising information about Erdogan are easily distributed via the internet and email in our 21st century life and it all came to a head with the recent release of telephone conversations between Erdogan and various political allies including his son.  But who is really at fault here?  Telephone tapping is not unusual or new.  The US Government was recently caught phone tapping the German Chancellor.  The information is already out there and in fact he basically admitted (in a very obtuse way) that it was in fact his voice on the telephone.  Corruption is part of daily life here in Turkey and I expect that had Erdogan admitted to it quickly this latest scandal would have disappeared instead he steadfastly denied any involvement in the scandal and pointed the finger at others.

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The Turkish Government previously banned youtube and WordPress back in 2008 and despite the ban the website was among the top 10 most accessed sites in Turkey.  Savvy internet users skirting around the regulations.  I recall my old place of work banned Facebook for a while but that didn’t stop the younger employees setting up proxy links.  Kids can pretty much do anything these days.

Erdogan needs to understand that his time as Prime Minister is limited and that the younger generation of Turkey are realising that social media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc) are learning to have a voice and to stand up for what they believe is right.  Looking back at Gezi should have been a warning sign for Erdogan to listen to the younger generation – he may just learn something.

If Janeyinmersin goes silent you will know why.  I imagine I will have to start sending smoke signals to you all if that happens.

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Feeling Inspiration

We lost the internet for a couple of days – 4 days to be precise.  It amazes me how much time I waste sitting on my laptop aimlessly clicking on pages.  It numbs the mind.  It stops you for achieving what you intended to do so for the past few days I have actually achieved quite a lot.

I have been in a bit of a bubble since I have arrived here – it has been more than three months.  Did you know that?  Yep we have been here on the other side of the world on the crazy train for over three months now.  Things are different.  It is not the same.  New home.  New language.  New food.  New faces.  New life. 

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Daughter has started a new school, The Turk is finding it difficult to settle and I am the paste that holds this family together.  But yes three months of living in this rural village in Turkey.

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I have not made friends.  I have family – yes.  I have social interaction.  There is my sister in law Songul who is possibly the sweetest person you could ever meet.  I have laughed with her on a good day and have cried with her on a bad one.  I have a mother in law that is kind and generous – not everyone is as lucky as I am.  There is my brother in law Umit who has helped me wade through the bureaucracy that is the Turkish Government and helped me obtain my Yabancilara Mahsus Ikamet Tezkeresi (Residence Permit for Foreigners).  There are people in the village that always say hello or Merhaba and ask me in for cay but friends?  Well not really.  So last week I reached out to a couple of ladies who live in Mersin and are in a similar situation as I am. 

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A plan was hatched.  A date of set and a destination was decided upon.  Saturday morning came and I left the house quite early, firstly to ensure that I arrived at the destination (Starbucks) on time but also so I could do a little sneaky Christmas shopping on the side.  I never drink coffee, never have, but Starbucks is known the world over so where better a place to meet people – and meet people I did.  It was with pleasure and a lot of joy that I met Alannah and Melis.  Alannah is from Northern Ireland and works as an English teacher and Melis is a beautiful German lady (of Turkish decent) who is married to a local fellow.  We fell into conversation easy – there was no lull which I think showed the genuine friendship that was being formed.  Time flew quickly and then it was late afternoon – I could not miss my dolmuş (shared taxi) home. 

After being revitalised by these ladies (how I have missed having a chat) I rushed off to catch my first dolmuş.  One of the things I love about Turkey is the dolmuş.  Dolmuş means “apparently stuffed” and most of the time they are.  You climb aboard and hang on for the ride.  In Mersin the dolmuş all have a set route and as long as you are on the route you can wave them down as they pass.  No walking to the closest bus stop for us here just put out your hand and they will come.  The driving is usually excellent, well as long as you do not mind that your driver is smoking, or talking on his mobile, yelling at a customer, counting out change, swerving recklessly though traffic, dodging people on the road or generally disobeying every traffic road rule known to man.  A marvellous way to get around. 

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As I arrived in Atas it was quite clear that I was going to have to walk home as this small industrial area (where I connect to a dolmuş to Karaduvar) was quiet.  All the businesses were closed and there was not a soul to be seen after all it was cold, very foggy and in the dark Atas is a little bit intimidating.  I had started trudging down the dark street, slightly nervous, when I realised that I was being followed.  Crap!  Danger!  I walk a little faster (difficult in the boots I was wearing).  The footsteps behind me kept pace.  Buggar.  I glanced over my shoulder but it was too dark and too foggy to make out a figure.  Where is the bloody dolmuş when you need one?  Now I could hear breathing, wait, no.  It is panting.  I stop and spin around to find a large dog sliding to a halt behind me.  The big black dog looked at me quizzically, “Woof.  Why did you stop?  I was enjoying our walk.  Are we not going to your house where you will feed me?” he seemed to ask.  As I am more scared of the kopeks (dogs) than the people I was thankful that a dolmuş came along and I jumped on arriving home only slightly later than anticipated . . . however . . . The Turk had been waiting and was worried (everyone now goes “Awwwww”).  Yes he had stopped a few dolmuş.  He had let his family know I was missing, possibly dead and had his cousins searching the streets for me.  I jumped off the dolmuş oblivious to his concern and saw him standing, waiting for me. 

“Where have you been?”

“With friends.”  I like to be a bit vague, make him worry a bit (not realising that he had sent out the cavalry looking for me).

“It’s late.”

“No probs.  I’m here.”  Realising there was something afoot I asked, “You ok?”

“No,” he yelled, “I’ve been waiting for you.  I was worried.”

Again – awwwwww.

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Anyway back to the lack of internet.  Yes I had no internet for four days and it sucked.  I had no internet.  No electricity on Saturday night or all day Sunday and no telephone until Monday.  I have decided that I could disappear of the face of the earth and no one would know – well not until people realised I had not blogged for a while anyway.

But having no internet meant I did get other things done.  I made soup – oh my most exciting news (how sad do I sound – this should NOT be my most exciting news).  I found butternut pumpkin and made a delicious pumpkin and ginger corba (soup).  The Turk’s family have never had pumpkin soup before so I was inundated with people trialling my concoction.  I think it was good.  Daughter says it was good (although a little peppery).  The Turk’s family made lots of noises and said lots of things.  I am not really sure what they said but I am going with the fact that they thought it was delicious.  Wonderful.  Best corba ever!  Cok guzel!

My other news is that as many of my personal friends know I do love to write.  I have started and discarded many novels over the years.  With no internet, Daughter at school and The Turk going off with his brother to deliver maydanoz (parsley) to the restaurants I was taking my Hurley Dog for a walk and was inspired.  Not JK Rowling, become a billionaire inspired but inspired enough to open the laptop and type.

This is a good thing. 

This is what I want to do.

It has begun.