HURRIYET

He Is Not Our Father - A Message For Erdogan, And Those Who Oppose Him

Father doesn't always know best
Father doesn't always know best
Ismet Berkan
ISTANBUL - Dozens, maybe hundreds of articles saying more or less the same thing have been published by the Turkish media: "The Prime Minister doesn't understand the street..."
This sentence (and the sentiment) continues as such: If he ever could properly understand it, he would also realize that he is in the wrong and will stop acting as such!
A friend of mine identified this as the: syndrome of a teenager seeking the approval of his father. But what if your father does not understand you as you like to portray yourself to be, but rather as he perceives you? What then will you do with your father?
Of course, the actions of the politicians are important in democracies; those actions also determine the behavior pattern of those who govern. But it seems the situation is different with us.
Our faith in Erdogan’s word being law is so deep that we expect everything to be done by him.
However, there are plenty of examples that justify our expecting so. He is a leader who sees an unfinished statue while passing by, calls it a “freak” and has it demolished. He is also the one who determines the fate of a small Koran school behind the Piyale Pasha Mosque. There are bigger examples. He is the one who does not like the prices offered in state bids and cancels them. He is also the one who says ‘we will do this no matter what you say.
Such things do not, cannot happen in countries that call themselves states under the rule of law. The preferences of the Prime Minister affect the course of events to a degree; they cannot, however, be the sole factor.
Dozens of lessons can be learned from the events which started with the Gezi Park protests and turned into a situation that nobody knows how to resolve by the abrupt assault of the Istanbul police (probably after consulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) against a tiny protest group.
If the energy originating from that park would do any good, it should be this. It should save us from the destiny of being children trying to explain ourselves ‘correctly’ to the prime minister-father. Everything should have limits according to the rule of law; including the actions of a nation's leader.
But probably before anything else, we ourselves must see that we are not the prime minister’s children who must try to win his graces.
Because Erdogan continues to perceive us the way he knows and wants us to be.
Why the fury ?
Professor Nilüfer Göle had an article on this matter on the T24 internet site. I will take a quote from that since it answers the question in the title very well:
“The start of interventions into living spaces in the name of morals raised suspicions among the public, which is being rearranged within the scope of Islamic values; just like it happened with the warning to young people kissing at the Ankara subway. The law to regulate alcohol sales caused reactions especially because of the moralist jargon formed around it."
Erdogan’s personal brand of power, his habit of dictating his own vision made people lose power over their own lives, surroundings and cities: from the statue in Kars to the AKM project in Istanbul.
Public life transformed into an arena with a single gladiator.
His AKP party, its deputies and local governors got left out of the game; and simply became his audience. The calming words of the Istanbul Mayor on the Gezi Park got lost in the shuffle. All of the intermediary mechanisms: press, politics and civil society having retreated, and explains why all the anger is voiced towards Tayyip Erdogan himself
The people do not accept a singular morality, a singular point for good-beautiful-right; at least not the ones in the streets today. This is the struggle going on right now in Turkey.
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Future

How China Flipped From Tech Copycat To Tech Leader

Long perceived as a country chasing Western tech, China's business and technological innovations are now influencing the rest of the world. Still lagging on some fronts, the future is now up for grabs.

At the World Semiconductor Conference in Nanjing, China, on June 9

SIPA Asia/ZUMA
Emmanuel Grasland

BEIJING — China's tech tycoons have fallen out of favor: Jack Ma (Alibaba), Colin Huang (Pinduoduo), Richard Liu (Tencent) and Zhang Yiming (ByteDance) have all been pressured by Beijing to leave their jobs or step back from a public role. Their time may be coming to an end, but the legacy remains exceptional. Under their reign, China has become a veritable window to the global future of technology.

TikTok is the perfect example. Launched in 2016, the video messaging app has been downloaded over two billion times worldwide. It has passed the 100-million active user mark in the United States. Thanks to TikTok's success, ByteDance, its parent company, has reached an exceptional level of influence on the internet.


For a long time, the West viewed China's digital ecosystem as a cheap imitation of Silicon Valley. The European and American media described the giants of the Asian superpower as the "Chinese Google" or "Chinese Amazon." But the tables have turned.

No Western equivalent to WeChat

The Asian superpower has forged cutting-edge business models that do not exist elsewhere. It is impossible to find a Western equivalent to the WeChat super-app (1.2 billion users), which is used for shopping as much as for making a medical appointment or obtaining credit.

The flow of innovation is now changing direction.

The roles have actually reversed: In a recent article, Les Echos describes the California-based social network IRL, as a "WeChat of the Western world."

Grégory Boutté, digital and customer relations director at the multinational luxury group Kering, explains, "The Chinese digital ecosystem is incredibly different, and its speed of evolution is impressive. Above all, the flow of innovation is now changing direction."

This is illustrated by the recent creation of "live shopping" events in France, which are hosted by celebrities and taken from a concept already popular in China.

10,000 new startups per day

There is an explosion of this phenomenon in the digital sphere. Rachel Daydou, Partner & China General Manager of the consulting firm Fabernovel in Shanghai, says, "With Libra, Facebook is trying to create a financial entity based on social media, just as WeChat did with WeChat Pay. Facebook Shop looks suspiciously like WeChat's mini-programs. Amazon Live is inspired by Taobao Live and YouTube Shopping by Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok."

In China, it is possible to go to fully robotized restaurants or to give a panhandler some change via mobile payment. Your wallet is destined to be obsolete because your phone can read restaurant menus and pay for your meal via a QR Code.

The country uses shared mobile chargers the way Europeans use bicycles, and is already testing electric car battery swap stations to avoid 30 minutes of recharging time.

Michael David, chief omnichannel director at LVMH, says, "The Chinese ecosystem is permanently bubbling with innovation. About 10,000 start-ups are created every day in the country."

China is also the most advanced country in the electric car market. With 370 models at the end of 2020, it had an offering that was almost twice as large as Europe's, according to the International Energy Agency.

Photo of a phone's screen displaying the logo of \u200bChina's super-app WeChat

China's super-app WeChat

Omar Marques/SOPA Images/ZUMA

The whole market runs on tech

Luca de Meo, CEO of French automaker Renault, said in June that China is "ahead of Europe in many areas, whether it's electric cars, connectivity or autonomous driving. You have to be there to know what's going on."

As a market, China is also a source of technological inspiration for Western companies, a world leader in e-commerce, solar, mobile payments, digital currency and facial recognition. It has the largest 5G network, with more than one million antennas up and running, compared to 400,000 in Europe.

Self-driving cars offer an interesting point of divergence between China and the West.

Just take the number of connected devices (1.1 billion), the time spent on mobile (six hours per day) and, above all, the magnitude of data collected to deploy and improve artificial intelligence algorithms faster than in Europe or the United States.

The groundbreaking field of self-driving cars offers an interesting point of divergence between China and the West. Artificial intelligence guru Kai-Fu Lee explains that China believes that we should teach the highway to speak to the car, imagining new services and rethinking cities to avoid cars crossing pedestrians, while the West does not intend to go that far.

Still lagging in some key sectors

There are areas where China is still struggling, such as semiconductors. Despite a production increase of nearly 50% per year, the country produces less than 40% of the chips it consumes, according to official data. This dependence threatens its ambitions in artificial intelligence, telecoms and autonomous vehicles. Chinese manufacturers work with an engraving fineness of 28 nm or more, far from those of Intel, Samsung or TSMC. They are unable to produce processors for high-performance PCs.

China's aerospace industry is also lagging behind the West. There are also no Chinese players among the top 20 life science companies on the stock market and there are doubts surrounding the efficacy of Sinovac and Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccines. As of 2019, the country files more patents per year than the U.S., but far fewer are converted into marketable products.

Beijing knows its weaknesses and is working to eliminate them. Adopted in March, the nation's 14th five-year plan calls for a 7% annual increase in R&D spending between now and 2025, compared with 12% under the previous plan. Big data aside, that is basic math anyone can understand.

https://www.lesechos.fr/idees-debats/editos-analyses/la-chine-est-desormais-une-fenetre-sur-notre-futur-1347064
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