Reporting From The Churn: Day 1, 2017

Before yesterday night, I was planning to write a new blog post [probably on Monday] about what I’m planning to do in 2017, and keep it cynical but as optimist as possible. But then, at the first hours of 2017, this happened.

It was shocking and devastating, some idiot motivated by delusional bullshit killed at least 39 people just because they were celebrating New Years Eve. But the main problem was, atmosphere for this attack created by many groups together, including some government organizations and pro-government media. Of course, many Muslim groups in Turkey didn’t liked Christmas and NYE celebrations and campaigned against those for a long time. But in the past couple years, especially in 2016, this become something more than that.

That’s why I wrote this tweet. Because even the government’s Religious Affairs Directorate practically approved every protest and attack against NYE celebrations. Those attacks were usually something like stabbing or beating people wearing Santa costumes (some acting with them, some just wearing for money), passing out threatening flyers and using their media to spread those threats. And every year, they’ve become bolder and ready to do more.

The main problem is, government and media close to the government just served them as ‘concerned citizens.’ Beating people wearing Santa costumes delivered as ‘cute news.’ They were just citizens trying to protect ‘our national values.’

But when it comes to the reality, things were not that cute. All of them wants everyone living in this country to act and live like them. Everyone in Turkey must live like a perfect Turkish citizen, which is constructed by the Sunni, Turkish men long time ago, tweaked by every government on the way. They are the ones we should be like and not anything different. And if we’re different in any way, we’re a threat.

That’s why when I wrote the tweet above, some people on Twitter started attacking me. Claiming I’m the one dividing this society, “playing politics over dead bodies.” So I wrote couple more.

The “We” I was talking about there is basically everyone who is not Sunni, Turkish and male living in Turkey. Women, LGBTQ, Christians, Jews, Atheists, Kurds, Armenians, Alevis, leftists and everyone else you can think of. We’re always seen as a threat to their values, to their nation. And every time an attack like that happens and someone like me comes out and says why people are too eager to do things like that, they say we’re dividing this country. We’re playing politics. Instead we should just shut the fuck up and be like them. Every time they say “We should unite against this attack,” they mean “You all have to be like us and instead of talking the truth, you should go along with our conspiracy theories which doesn’t explain a shit but helps us to gain more politics points. And if you don’t, we’ll declare you’re a terrorist too.” 

[Just to make it clear: This isn't something new or specific to AKP. This is the political culture in Turkey for decades. Every government in Turkey used it, just tweaked some parts or added some new conspiracy theories over it.]

I’m pissed off. Every time, every single fucking time, they do everything to divide this society and oppress us and then someone using their rhetoric kills people. And then when I say you’re helping them with doing this and saying that, I’ll become the target again. They cause all of this bullshit and then blame the people got attacked. Two days ago, Religious Affairs Directorate declared NYE celebrations against our culture [PDF], pro-government newspapers ‘warned’ people to not to celebrate, some people put a gun over someone’s head who wears a Santa costume and get away with it [in TUR], many local departments of Ministry of National Education sent notices to all schools to ‘kindly forbid’ NYE celebrations in schools (because it’s not part of our culture) [both links in TUR] and religious sect leaders close to them threatened people celebrating [people like Cübbeli Ahmet etc.]. Then someone decided to kill people celebrating NYE and now they’re acting like all of these didn’t happened and we’re the ones to blame. Just because we’re saying what they did two days ago.

FUCK THAT SHIT! I’m sick of playing the kind and good one against those secretly (and sometimes openly) wishing death to all of us; thinking either we live like them or we don’t deserve living in here; expecting me to apologize for everything I believe and do which they did not approve; doing everything to destroy every culture, art and lifestyle they didn’t like.

This is who I am and I don’t have any plans for a change or apologize just because some idiots didn’t like it. I’ll defend myself and every other minority living in here until those shitheads understand that only thing they should do is shut up. I don’t have any plans to let them get away with turning us into targets just because we want everyone to live however they want, instead of how they want.

This wasn’t how I planned to start 2017 but here we are. Everything keeps going and doesn’t care if you’re hangover or not [I’m, kind of]. It’s going to be a weird and deadly interesting year, as usual. I’m here to do what I usually do, only more and more. And with hope to turn the world into a weirder place with it. Because that’s the only way I know to resist against those who wants us to become the copies of them.

On Newsletters

Don’t know if this is a real thing but I might be addicted to newsletters. Maybe it’s something about the format itself or it’s just I’m mostly following people I really enjoy reading pretty much everything they write. But there might be something more about it.

Something about the newsletters makes it more sincere, makes me want to read it without any interruption and with all focused on. Even some books can’t get that much attention from me.

My guess, it’s related to relationship newsletters creates between writer and the reader/follower. It’s not like a social network follow. I don’t want to miss any installment or any sentence. I asked the writer to send me these anytime they wrote something. And send it directly to me. I guess it feels more direct than anything else because we feel our inboxes are our most private zones online and inviting someone to access there anytime they want to share something with us feels different than anything else.

And it feels kind of free and open, like blogs. You can do anything you want, any way you want. No one can limit what you can do or kick you out just because you tried something. It makes people become more interested in newsletters because they think it’s something new (it’s not) and blogs are dead (it’s not).


I was experimenting with the newsletter format for some time in Turkish and one of my 2016 resolutions (which I kept in my notebook and, honestly, a bit lazy to turn it into a blog post) was use this format more actively. I want to see what can I do with this format. Also I really want to gain the habit of writing regularly and more (especially in English) so creating an English newsletter too seemed like a good idea.

If you can read Turkish, my regular newsletter called Tuhaf Gelecek is out every Sunday evening (according to Turkey’s timezone, GMT+2) and you can subscribe here: http://tinyletter.com/tuhafgelecek

And if you can read English, my English newsletter experiment Weird and Deadly Interesting is here: http://tinyletter.com/weirdanddeadlyinteresting Hoping to send the first episode in this month and hope to make it regular soon.


On the name “Weird and Deadly Interesting”: For some time, I was thinking about how to describe what I’m interested as a writer and couldn’t find any short description for it. I was not focused on couple topics that have marketable names. I’m always an interdiscipliner, needs a bit weird, after the really interesting and dangerous. I never liked splitting the world into pieces which everyone acts like they’re not touching each other. I wanted to see and write about the world, as a whole. And when I looked at the world with these eyes, this name describes what I see.

I first heard the “deadly interesting” from Bruce Sterling, at one of his talks. And it hit me like a lightning. Maybe it’s somehow related to where I live, where I’m looking the world from. But when I added this to weird, it really summed up the world from my eyes.

Anyway, if you’re interested in receiving my English newsletter you can click here and subscribe.


As a bonus, I want to recommend some of my favourite newsletters which definitely worth inviting them in to your inbox. With no particular order:

If you have a newsletter or know a newsletter that you think I might be interested, feel free to recommend via email or just post a comment below.


Updated at 18:05:
Latest Orbital Operations Warren sent while I was finishing this, reminded couple more newsletters I already subscribed and also had some really good recommendations which I subscribed immediately. I added those to the list above.

RE: Spotify but for the Titanic: A Proposal for the Future of News and Publishing by @zeynep

Zeynep Tufekci wrote “Spotify but for the Titanic: A Proposal for the Future of News and Publishing” yesterday to offer an alternative for online media to save themselves from the invaisive and disturbing advertisement models. She offers Spotify-like system for journalists to make money and create a stable enviroment.

This all sounds really good at first glance but there are some really big issues (at least for me) I can’t wrap my head around.

  • Centralization Problem: We don’t want Facebook, Google or other stacks become more powerful, especially when it comes to publishing. But creating a place for all journalism has to deal with all the problems about centralization. For example, who’s going to make the big decisions like who will be the part of this or not? Are they going to censor stuff? If so, how will they decide what to censor or not? Will this system promises us to give everyone a place or will there be limits?
  • Power of Big Media: Spotify-for-Journalism will surely help a lot for mainstream media channels. But they’re going to have lots of power in this system, according to alternative ones and I’m 100% sure that they’re not going to use it for what’s good for all. How this system will stop it and create a balance between them?
  • Making Money: We’ve already seen that Spotify doesn’t really works for indie or alternative musicians to make sone decent money, and not even really gives something decent for mainstream ones, but they already earn well. And we all know that the media who needs money is the alternative or small ones. And this system only helps the big ones, at some point at least. I don’t think something like that will help us to save diverse and free media. Only makes sure the big ones will stay alive one way or another. And to be honest, they already have enough plans for themselves to save itself.

Those are the ones comes to my mind at the first place. We all want writers, journalists and everyone works in this area gets paid but I’m not really sure if this is the way we should choose. I’m sure that advertisement isn’t the one but maybe we should look for some way that also makes sure that we’re not creating another “for every X you’ll need” stuff. We need to find a way that will save us from centralization. If we’re not offering newspapers or magazines to merge together to save themselves, we shouldn’t do that on internet too. We need more and diverse stuff, not everything in one place things. That’ll only help who’s already powerful right now.

[Where is Ahmet] Investigative Journalism Conference, July 22, Istanbul

davet1

Transparency International Turkey is organizing “Investigative Journalism Conference” in Istanbul at July 22nd. I’ll be participating in this conference as the co-spokesperson and senior editor of Jiyan, Turkish online news-analysis website.

I’ll be talking at the part named “An Alternative to Traditional/Mainstream Media: Internet Journalism” and will talk about how internet gives new powers and abilities to journalists, how internet journalism and internet itself powers up freedom of speech and what Jiyan does and will do in that perspective.

Conference will be in Turkish but will translate the text later for publishing in here or maybe in Jiyan too. Conference program can be found in here.

Hope to see you all there.


Şeffaflık Derneği Türkiye’nin organize ettiği “Araştırmacı Gazetecilik Konferansı”, 22 Temmuz’da İstanbul’da gerçekleşecek. Ben de bu konferansa Jiyan’ın eşsözcüsü ve editörü olarak katılıyorum.

Konferansın “Geleneksel / Ana-Akım Medyaya Yeni Bir Alternatif: İnternet Haberciliği” kısmına katkı sunacağım ve burada internetin gazetecilere sağladığı yeni yeteneklerden ve güçlerden, internet gzeteciliğinin ve internetin kendisinin ifade özgürlüğünü nasıl güçlendirdiğinden ve tüm bunların içerisinde Jiyan’ın konumundan, yaptıklarından ve yapacaklarından bahsedeceğim.

Konferansın programına buradan ulaşabilirsiniz.

Hepinizi orada görmek dileğiyle.

A Personal Take on Turkey Elections: Hopeful But Really Tired

“I can rest, finally!”

To be honest, this was my first thought when my brain started working at June 8th. I was feeling tired, worn out. And still feel the same. My guess is the elections affected a lot of people living in here similarly.

Yes, I’m also an digital activist, including lots of other things I’m doing. But politics, especially daily politics in Turkey is nothing but a total mess. It’s not my area, I can’t fit in. I can comment or report some basic news but I’m not doing it with joy. It felt like a duty, I have to spread (translate) what’s going on in here. It was an abrasive experience, just like last two months in Turkey.

Especially in May, politics seized everyone’s life in here. I don’t know about other people, but it was unbearable for me. Lots of meaningless fights on media, roaring election vans and booths everywhere. I was able to see stress around me. There was no place to hide from it. And it was blocking you to do anything else or even think about anything else.

It felt like there was no end.


But finally, election is over. I know that there are lots of political uncertainty and these will probably continue at least for couple of months. But even though I feel more hopeful about the future of Turkey, I don’t have any more power to follow this much anymore.

I have my own interests, things I enjoy following and arguing. Things I wanted to write, create. There are lots of things I have to handle in my life. But my brain was blocked, mesmerized by the elections and now I feel like it’s filled with nothing but crap. I have to clean all of the junk and I have to take a lot of things back from where I left weeks ago.

Of course I will follow what’s going on, but as long as it’s not about technology, internet, censorship, surveillance and freedom of speech; I want to be a follower, not a commentator. I feel like I don’t have enough power for any other stuff for now.

I might write another blog post soon to what I’m planning to do in near future, what my plans for summer. But for now that’s all I want to say.


In case you’re wondering my takes on the election results, there will be an detailed post on Global Voices, collecting all Turkey authors’ comments on that. I wrote my general opinion and I guess most of it will be included. I’ll link it here. But shortly: I’m mostly happy with the outcome, like Louis Fishman said, hope is the real winner of this election. I’m just hoping that ‘the hope’ will stay in the air and we can start long-term changes in here. Otherwise, some groups (some already started to work on that) will do everything to wipe out hope to get their power back. I hope Turkey won’t let that happen.

[Read] Rapture of the Nerds

rotn-cd-cs

Rapture of the Nerds – Cory Doctorow, Charlie Stross

If you’re a science-fiction writer and you want to write about Singularity, you have to know how people and civilization works. If you don’t, your story doesn’t mean much and it’ll be impossible to read. Thankfully, both Doctorow and Stross knows this very well, plus, they have a very good sense of humor.

Other than making sense at technical level and telling their story beautifully, those two points at the paragraph above makes this novel a perfect one. If you’re interested in technological singularity fiction and you want to read something ‘absurd’ but makes a lot sense (like Douglas Adams’ ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ books), you have to read this.

RotN captures the current situation of our civilization and gives us a very plausible possible future with technological singularity. If you read the book and laughing at the “plausible” part, just think about it. Do you think a civilization messed up like this one (don’t get me wrong, I love our civilization but we have to accept that) can do better than that? For me, RotN build on a very realistic ground and this is the main reason why story seems absurd at first glance.

If you want a clue about the book, just look at this quote:

As you can see, the genome of the said item is chimeric and shows signs of crude tampering, but it’s largely derived from Drosophilia, Mus musculus, and a twenty-first-century situationist artist or politician Sarah Palin.

Or this:

“Turns out we gotta prepare the way for holy war in cyberspace,” Sam says. Huw boggles. “Cyberspace? Who even says ‘cyberspace’ anymore?” “The Prophet, that’s who,” Doc says.

You can find a lot more like these in the book. Go get it. (Buy or Download CC licensed version.)

[Read] Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, Shivering Sands

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free – Cory Doctorow

This is one of the books that we’ll need more in the near future. Doctorow collects his ideas and short writings about the copyright, future of computing and future of artists and creates this handbook for anyone interested in any of these topics. And Cory shows us a clear picture of the problems we’re having right now on that ground and how we can start working to solve these.

If you’re an activist, writer, artist, publisher or just someone curious about the computers and the culture and economy growing onto; you have to read this book and always keep somewhere easy to reach. Because I’m sure that we’ll talk more about this book and what Cory says in it for a while, we have to. (Link to Buy)

Shivering Sands – Warren Ellis

Well, if you know me for a while, you probably know that Warren Ellis is one of those people that I can really worship if he starts a cult. He still doesn’t, so I’m just reading and enjoying everything he writes. And recently bought his blog post collection “Shivering Sands” and finished today. Now I’m waiting a couple months to re-read again.

To be honest, if you know and like Warren Ellis, you’ll love this book. If you don’t know him, I’m not sure if this can be a good start point. I would recommend couple of his comics first. And if you don’t like him, I’m really sorry for you. (Link to Buy)

National Security is Not An Excuse For Censorship and Surveillance

“If what we’re living through in this country is normal, we are all crazy.”

On my latest Global Voices article, I wrote about the latest censorship bill proposal and soon to be voted Security Bill in Turkey. I talked about what those bill could do and why and how Turkish government uses “national security” as an excuse for these.

The security bill proposed by AKP leaders looks scarier still, offering unprecedented powers to police and governors. The bill would authorize law enforcement to conduct telephone wiretapping for up to 48 hours without a warrant, authorizes police to arrest and detain anyone without a warrant up to 48 hours and stop and searches legal wherever police can find “reasonable doubt” of innocence.

Turkey Cites National Security as it Cranks Up Internet Controls | Global Voices

İnadına #JeSuisCharlie

Charlie Hebdo 1178Türkiye’de ifade özgürlüğü diye bir şey olmadığını hepimiz biliyoruz. Bugün olanlarla birlikte bir kez daha çok güzel anladık. Özetleyelim:

  • Cumhuriyet gazetesinin dağıtımında sıkıntılar yaratıldı, yukarıda kapağını gördüğünüz sayıdan sadece 4 sayfa yayınlamalarına rağmen başlarına gelmeyen kalmadı.
  • Uykusuz, Penguen ve Leman’ın “Je Suis Charlie” kapaklı sayılarının dağıtımında sıkıntılar olduğu söylentileri var.
  • Tüm bu yayınlar tehdit ediliyor. Sadece “hassas vatandaş” değil, bildiğiniz gazeteciler, hükümet temsilcileri de bu tehditleri destekleyenler arasında.
  • Tam da bu sıralarda MİT’in Suriye’ye silah götürdüğüne dair belgeler yüzünden Twitter ve Facebook için sansür kararı çıkartılıyor.
  • Ben bunları yazmaya başlamadan önce gelen mahkeme kararıyla yukarıda gördüğünüz kapağı yayınlayan tüm sitelerin engellenmesi kararı çıkartıldı.

Madem öyle, bu durumda ifade özgürlüğü için inat etmekten başka çare kalmıyor. Kapağın tam versiyonu yukarıda, tıklayıp indirebilirsiniz. Aşağıda da internetlerdeki bir güzel insan tarafından Fransızca versiyonun tamamının taranmış hâli var, İngilizcesini bulur bulmaz buraya yükleyeceğim onu da.

Cumhuriyet’in 4 sayfalık ekini de burada bulabilirsiniz.

Güncelleme (16:54): T24 büyük bir adım attı ve sayının tamamını Türkçe olarak yayınladı. Kendilerini tebrik ediyorum! Buradan okuyabilirsiniz.

Hatta Türkçe kapağı da yükleyeyim buraya:

uncut_charlie-hebdo-kapak-sayfasi_117611638

Dünyadaki en özgür basına sahip ülkeden sevgilerle!


What happened in Turkey today:

  • Newspaper Cumhuriyet wanted to published 4 page selection from the latest Charlie Hebdo. Police raided the trucks delivering newspaper and checked what has been printed.
  • There are rumors about latest issues of satire newspapers Uykusuz, Penguen and Leman are having distribution problems and some places selling these refusing to sell. Also AFAIK Cumhuriyet having same problems too.
  • Lots of “concerned citizen” threatens these newspapers and also people defends Charlie Hebdo or these newspapers, including some journalists and government officials.
  • Court ordered block for Twitter and Facebook because leaked documents from Turkish Intel MİT claimed that MİT delivered guns to jihadists at Syria.
  • And another court order banned publishing the cover of latest Charlie Hebdo issue and all websites publishing the cover will be banned.

UPDATES

  • 17.00: A Turkish news-site, T24, decided to publish all of th latest Charlie Hebdo issue in Turkish, despite the threats to Cumhuriyet. You can see it here. Also lots of people uploads the cover on their accounts too.

Of course, after all of this, a stubborn like me would not waste any time to post this on his blog :)

Cheers from the country which has the most free country in the world, according to Erdoğan.

I Was On TV (at Sweden)

Aktivismens Tid screenshot of Ahmet A. Sabancı

(Türkçesi burada.)

Yes, that happened.

Long story short: Two lovely people, Sara and Tigran, came from Sweden last March and said “We want to make a documentary about activists around the world and we want to interview with someone from Turkey too. We’ll talk about who you are, what are you doing, what’s your views about topics like this and that… Do you want to join?” And I said “Well, okay. Let’s try and see.” And this 14 minutes happened.

I’ve talked about a lot of things and did a lot of stuff like walking, sitting, showing places and a little security education to my friends at university. I guess I wasn’t so bad.

I’d like to hear what you’re thinking about so give it a shot. And feel free to comment about everything, even about my hair :)

Sadly, video doesn’t allow embedding so you can click my photo or the link below to watch.

Aktivismens tid: Kunskapen – UR.se