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Turkey

How Did Turkey Become Isolated So Quickly?

It wasn't long ago that Turkey was a nation envied around the world for growing freedoms and a growing economy. Things have changed fast.

Turkish police restrain demonstrators on Feb. 10
Turkish police restrain demonstrators on Feb. 10
Asli Aydintasbas

-OpEd-

ISTANBUL For Turkey, the door to Europe is shut and will not be opened again anytime soon.

I'm saddened less for myself than for the generations to come. Today we taste only dark and bitter days. But at the start of this century, our nation stood as an example for others: Yes, Turkey not long ago was seen as a rising country, envied by all.

The harsh reality is that those days are far behind us. The process of becoming more European came to a stop in the year 2010. After 2013, the Turkish government prioritized fortifying its power instead of its people. Every democratic gain began to be reversed, leading us to this present situation of oppression.

We often find ourselves wondering, "How did this happen so fast? How did Turkey turn into an authoritative Middle Eastern regime this quickly?" There are plenty of answers to those questions but no single one of them can explain the pace at which Turkey quickly slipped into isolation.

I feel the urge to shout, "Was everything a lie?" like some melodramatic character in an old Turkish movie. That's because I feel duped by the development, accomplishment, and "democratization packages' that are no longer relevant. Maybe they were only a result of a Western push. Would you have been able to predict, during those golden days of democratic Turkey, that one day we would be on the verge of a terrible precipice? Did any of the people who led us to this moment — the leaders of yesterday and today — or members of society ever really have a longing for democracy?

Harder days await the Turkish people.

I don't know the answers to these questions. A voice inside my head keeps telling me, "No, of course the change in Turkey and the request for democracy came from Turkish society itself." But then I find it hard to explain how the majority of people, which we call "society," has consented to what's going on right now. How does this society approve the collapse of institutions, sit quietly while universities are weakened, and passively watch the Kurdish problem return to the way it was in the 1990s? How does it let the media get ridiculed? How does it tacitly approve the rule of only one man?

The questions, for which we don't have answers, don't end there: Are people silent because they think they don't have a better alternative or is it because an atmosphere of fear dominates every corner of Turkey? Or is the quiet because it simply doesn't care about the issues listed above?

One thing I know for sure is that harder days await Turkish people. As our freedom grows more and more limited, the economy shrinks. For us, the Chinese model of authoritarian capitalism is not possible. As our nation keeps stepping backwards toward the 1990s, it seems it will also go back to the income per capita of that decade.

We are only at the beginning of tense relations with Europe. I think that within a few years, our candidacy for the European Union will be officially suspended. Most of you would respond that this process hasn't been working for a while anyway. Well, yes, but despite everything, Turkey is still institutionally connected with, and dependent on, Europe. On paper, it is still an EU "candidate" country. As populist winds strengthen in Europe, this long-term engagement seems doomed to end.

Turkey has been going through the most strategically isolated and vulnerable period of the last 70 years. The relationship with Russia is fundamentally built on an asymmetrical power dynamic. China is too far away. Iran is not welcoming. Gulf countries are so much more "Western" than we are ...

Turkey is suffering inside and out, and living in a period of senseless isolation for which it only has itself to blame.

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Geopolitics

New Probe Finds Pro-Bolsonaro Fake News Dominated Social Media Through Campaign

Ahead of Brazil's national elections Sunday, the most interacted-with posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Telegram and WhatsApp contradict trustworthy information about the public’s voting intentions.

Jair Bolsonaro bogus claims perform well online

Cris Faga/ZUMA
Laura Scofield and Matheus Santino

SÂO PAULO — If you only got your news from social media, you might be mistaken for thinking that Jair Bolsonaro is leading the polls for Brazil’s upcoming presidential elections, which will take place this Sunday. Such a view flies in the face of what most of the polling institutes registered with the Superior Electoral Court indicate.

An exclusive investigation by the Brazilian investigative journalism agency Agência Pública has revealed how the most interacted-with and shared posts in Brazil on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp share data and polls that suggest victory is certain for the incumbent Bolsonaro, as well as propagating conspiracy theories based on false allegations that research institutes carrying out polling have been bribed by Bolsonaro’s main rival, former president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, or by his party, the Workers’ Party.

Agência Pública’s reporters analyzed the most-shared posts containing the phrase “pesquisa eleitoral” [electoral polls] in the period between the official start of the campaigning period, on August 16, to September 6. The analysis revealed that the most interacted-with and shared posts on social media spread false information or predicted victory for Jair Bolsonaro.

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