Ever since Trump took office, the term “fake news’‘ have become quite popular around the globe and it started a ripple effect where it began to be used by everyone. Trump began to target the left-wing media who did not agree with his views and claimed that their broadcasting is simply fake news. At first glance, this term might look harmless, however, with further inspection, you will come to the realization that a much bigger storm is approaching America.
Approximately 6000 miles away from the USA is a geopolitically significant country — Turkey — which has been on the news a lot due to its oppressive dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Americans often have their way of thinking that something does not exist if it is not heard in America, however, you would be surprised to find out that the Turkish people have been dealing with the ongoing issue of “fake news” for a very long time. After the anti-government Gezi Park Protest which took place in 2013 ended, Erdogan gained significant popularity amongst the voters and the media. He had all the channels under his control and forced them to broadcast what he wanted to see or make the Turkish people believe. On TV, he created a Turkey that was far from reality — a country that was economically strong, powerful, free and respected around the globe. Almost every single newspaper or news channel started to publish the same stories. Turkey did not officially have a Ministry of Truth but they did not need to because just like Joseph Goebbels said: “A lie repeated a thousand times becomes the truth.” Now bear in mind that Goebbels was the Reich minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany in the 1900s and we are talking about a “democratic” country in 2019.
A lie that enters the Ministry of Truth gets repeated a thousand times on a thousand different channels which leads the public to believe the hype. I wished that in Turkey the term “fake news” was used but instead something much more powerful and equally dangerous was used to target those newspapers who refused to cooperate with Erdogan. He accused them of being a “terrorist” and working for the westerns to plot against Erdogan and his government. He also often expresses that these people need to be locked up because an attack on Erdogan is an attack on the Turkish people. Ever since he gained power hundreds of journalists have been arrested in Turkey for 3 reasons: Investigative reporters, Kurdish journalists, collateral damages of the general assault on the press. According to Stockholm Center for Freedom, as of December 30th, 2018, there are 165 journalists arrested and 148 journalists wanted.
The situation in Turkey is far more complex than what I tried to explain in 400 words, which might be too much information to take in. I, for one, might commit a crime within this article which Turkish authorities will not like. I am filled with anger and jealousy when I know that most people know about what has been happening in America but they have no clue when it comes to Turkey. The pain, the poverty, longing for freedom, being able to use the few
cubicles in your head called “brain” which you can use to think and say things aloud. Some of you will never know what is like to regret and think for days about what you just said about the government. Many of you will never worry about your life because of your view and the fact that you don’t like your government. If you fall in this majority that is probably a good thing. That should be a common goal. I talked about Turkey because this is where America is going. If you give Trump enough power, he will start arresting journalists left and right. Germany, the growing innovative nation once went through the same thing in the 1940s and a land which I call Modern Turkey is going through the same, so do not for one minute think that none of this will ever happen in America because the truth is, it is happening more than you would want to believe.
America is meant to be an exemplary country for the world when it comes to freedom of speech. This situation does not only apply to Turkey. Authoritarianism is spreading around the world like a virus and we must get rid of it sooner than later. This is not a third world problem, this is now a global problem and we must do whatever we can to secure freedom of speech for ourselves and for the next generation.
Choose your newspaper carefully. Do not just read one source.
Support journalism and journalists.
More importantly, support the truth.