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Turkey

Turkey's Next Challenge: Stamping Out 'Internet Illiteracy'

Internet access has been slowly but steadily spreading across Turkey, but for economic and even cultural reasons, there are still wide swaths of the population cut off from the digital revolution.

(Quinn Dombrowski)
(Quinn Dombrowski)


*NEWSBITES

ISTANBUL - Even as Internet use expands in Turkey, a large percentage of the population remains "Internet illiterate." A recent study by the Alternative Information Technology Association (AITA) found that in low-access areas, parents are not only uninformed about digital technology, but sometimes actively resist its spread. In some instances they make a point of preventing their children from using the Internet entirely, the study found.

According to the AITA, roughly 43% of Turkish households have access to the Internet. Still, some formidable obstacles stand in the way of wider access. For starters, there are disparities between the wealthier western half of Turkey and the comparatively poorer eastern side. In the east, only 22.7% of households are connected to the Internet.

Turkey's civil society networks have stepped up to address these challenges. The AITA and other NGOs have joined forces with like-minded actors in government and academia. These groups are working together on a variety of related issues, from improving access to protecting privacy and addressing Internet addiction issues.

The organizations have even published a list of principles outlining a common framework of rights related to Internet use. The document identifies Internet access as a basic right and makes it the responsibility of the government to ensure that Tukish households can go online at the lowest possible cost. It also emphasizes the importance of maintaining the Internet as a space for free expression and open communication.

Read the full original article in Turkish

Photo - Quinn Dombrowski

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Geopolitics

Smaller Allies Matter: Afghanistan Offers Hard Lessons For Ukraine's Future

Despite controversies at home, Nordic countries were heavily involved in the NATO-led war in Afghanistan. As the Ukraine war grinds on, lessons from that conflict are more relevant than ever.

Photo of Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Finnish Defence Forces in Afghanistan

Johannes Jauhiainen

-Analysis-

HELSINKI — In May 2021, the Taliban took back power in Afghanistan after 20 years of international presence, astronomical sums of development aid and casualties on all warring sides.

As Kabul fell, a chaotic evacuation prompted comparisons to the fall of Saigon — and most of the attention was on the U.S., which had led the original war to unseat the Taliban after 9/11 and remained by far the largest foreign force on the ground. Yet, the fall of Kabul was also a tumultuous and troubling experience for a number of other smaller foreign countries who had been presented for years in Afghanistan.

In an interview at the time, Antti Kaikkonen, the Finnish Minister of Defense, tried to explain what went wrong during the evacuation.

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“Originally we anticipated that the smaller countries would withdraw before the Americans. Then it became clear that getting people to the airport had become more difficult," Kaikkonen said. "So we decided last night to bring home our last soldiers who were helping with the evacuation.”

During the 20-year-long Afghan war, the foreign troop presence included many countries:Finland committed around 2,500 soldiers,Sweden 8,000,Denmark 12,000 and Norway 9,000. And in the nearly two years since the end of the war, Finland,Belgium and theNetherlands have commissioned investigations into their engagements in Afghanistan.

As the number of fragile or failed states around the world increases, it’s important to understand how to best organize international development aid and the security of such countries. Twenty years of international engagement in Afghanistan offers valuable lessons.

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