As Erdogan Faces Turkish Coup, The Guy Who Once Banned Social Media Sites, Forced To Address Nation Via Facetime & Twitter

from the digital-irony dept

We've written a fair amount about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Lately, it's mostly been about his ridiculously thin skin over insults, and his willingness to take his hurt feelings international. But, even prior to that, he had a history of irrational hating on social media. Back when he was Prime Minister, he tried to blame Twitter for social unrest, even going so far as to order it banned in the country. And, when that failed, he actually sued his own government over the failure to block content on Twitter that he disliked.

Now, as you hopefully know from news sources other than Techdirt, as I write this, it appears that there's a military coup going on in Turkey, trying to usurp Erdogan. As part of that effort, all those social media sites that Erdogan himself does not like, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being blocked. For Erdogan himself, that's meant that he's been cut off from his own means of communication to the public, leaving him to use Apple's Facetime to call a local TV station to put him on the air:
And, of course, the social media blocks aren't even that effective anyway -- with many Turkish citizens using VPNs to get around the blocks. Plenty of people are now seeing live coverage of what's happening in Turkey thanks to Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope.


I have no idea how this will turn out, but from the perspective of how the internet has changed the media landscape, this is all fairly incredible to watch as it plays out.

Update: And the irony gets thicker. Erdogan is now reaching out to the public... via Twitter:

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    jameshogg (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 3:53pm

    This is deeply deeply troubling for the Middle East and Europe's future. As if they weren't in trouble already.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 3:04pm

      Re:

      Not really. That entire region has been in conflict ever since the Egyptians were visited by aliens who used the pyramids as landing platforms. So its nothing new.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:09pm

    This is good

    Erdogan was not good to his people and not good to the other countries around him.

    The Turkish military have a strong history of coups to restore democracy, free law, and a secular (non "islamist") society. These are all aligned with not only what *we* (outsiders) want but also what the Turks want.

    Erdogan has been slowly working his way up to be President For Life™ and this will put a stop to that.

    This is good for Europe. This is good for the US. This is good for Israel. This may improve things with Russia. It won't change anything with Kurds or Syrians.

    Not all coups are bad.
    Ehud

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:15pm

      Re: This is good

      Good grief, your perspective is warped. Military coups are pro-democracy? In a healthy democracy the military is SUBSERVIENT to the elected civilian government.

      Erdogan is a nasty piece of work - every opposition party opposes this!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: This is good

        In this case yes -- a Military coup would be pro-democracy. When the first-past-the-post elected hardline theocrat frames all dissident leadership for various crimes and then invites his own people into those positions without election, and the military is a drafted military of the people that doesn't answer to the elected government, but has the mandate to protect democracy and overthrow the government if it goes too far out of line from the constitution (sound familiar?) Then yes. The Turkish military is kind of like all the US militias rolled into one, combined with the Swiss army. Their mandate isn't to protect the government, but to protect the country. When the government appears to be acting outside of the interests of the country as a whole, the military steps in and removes them, calling a new election so the people can elect someone better.

        In Turkey, some variation of this happens about every 10 years. The 2007 one happened bloodlessly, as the militant party attempting to get elected and disband democracy disbanded themselves when the people's army rattled their sabres.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 15 Jul 2016 @ 5:40pm

          Re: a Military coup would be pro-democracy.

          The trouble is, an essential part of democracy is the checks and balances between different power groups to guard against abuses. A coup sweeps away all that.

          You know, power corrupts? Because “trust us, we’re going to restore democracy” so often turns out to be famous last words...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            orbitalinsertion (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 6:07pm

            Re: Re: a Military coup would be pro-democracy.

            Yes, forbid there ever be a coup or revolution when the power is already corrupt. Never mind that in Turkey, this is essentially an institutionalized check and balance. Hope it turns out that way this time, too. But that's their mechanism. Seems to work at least as well as any other country's...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 7:08pm

            Re: Re: a Military coup would be pro-democracy.

            Hmm, I seem to remember a story about some militias in some "new world" place a couple of hundred or so years ago turning against their English governors and creating a new republic. Even though not strictly a democracy, the result seemed to be an improvement.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 15 Jul 2016 @ 7:35pm

              Re: the result seemed to be an improvement.

              Certainly it worked out all right for the slaveowners, who managed to hold on to their slaves for nearly another century, while the mother country was starting to get rid of theirs.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 7:58pm

                Re: Re: the result seemed to be an improvement.

                Yes, when looking at analogies some things are the same and some are different.

                Way to ignore everything positive about the American Revolution and focus on the one thing that wasn't so good.

                E

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 15 Jul 2016 @ 11:45pm

                  Re: Way to ignore everything positive about the American Revolution

                  Hey, I wasn’t the one who brought it up...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Richard (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 2:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: the result seemed to be an improvement.

                  Way to ignore everything positive about the American Revolution and focus on the one thing that wasn't so good.

                  Not the only thing!

                  Without the American revolution the US would have been like Canada.

                  So worse healthcare was also a consequence of the American revolution.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2016 @ 1:23am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: the result seemed to be an improvement.

                    "Without the American revolution the US would have been like Canada."

                    They'd have been the underground railroad?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Gothenem, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:26pm

        Re: Re: This is good

        Historically, Turkish coups have been to restore democracy. There is no knowing if this is the case this time, but it most likely is.

        Turkey is almost unique in this situation, where the military coups end in better democracy - most other countries have coups ending in military dictatorships.

        Not saying that this particular coup will help restore democracy, or reduce democracy, time will tell there, but in the past, the military coups in recent Turkish history have been to restore democracy to that nation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 5:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: This is good

          It's an interesting concept, though weird and foreign to me. I daresay though, that it'll put a dent in the plans to join the EU. I imagine they'll say "No membership without 20 years of coup-free politics" or something along those lines. Which is understandable.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul, 16 Jul 2016 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: This is good

        Its not pro-democracy per se, but in Turkey's history it was pro-secular, which is a tenet of democracy.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          David, 16 Jul 2016 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: This is good

          Secularity is not really a tenet of democracy. It's just that in practice coexistence and tolerance and respect tend to tank eventually when ruled by religion. Or any ideology. Or cultural identity. Humans are an ugly crowd, so you basically need to tie the cultural identity and tribal pride into tolerance and democracy itself.

          "The guest is sacred" is one such mechanism actually promoted even in religious/tribal contexts but it works at very limited scales.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Alan, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:29pm

      Re: This is good

      Ehud,

      Please remove this comment as it violates my Intellectual Property rights. I trademarked President for Life, and own the domain, which I plan on selling to President Trump's reelection campaign.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ehud Gavron (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:33pm

        Educated on Trademark law

        No worries, Alan, I have no intention of using it in commerce nor to create confusion in the minds of [potential] consumers!

        I'm a graduate of the Techdirt School on Trademark Abuse™.

        Ehud®
        P.S. :-) Have a great weekend!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 2:43am

      Re: This is good

      Erdogan has been slowly working his way up to be President For Life™

      Not President for Life - Caliph.

      His only real objection to Islamic state is that he isn't in charge of it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:10pm

    "NBC News, citing a U.S. military official, first reported Erdoğan was seeking asylum in Germany. After he was reportedly rejected, Erdoğan flew towards London."

    Ouch! Guess he's going to hang out with Julian Assange...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:16pm

    On the bright side

    Well, if Erdogan gets ousted in the coup, he can always get a job as a stunt double for Gollum.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 16 Jul 2016 @ 10:03am

      Re: On the bright side

      Gollum is a CG character or rather skin. His underlying skeleton actor's main qualification is flexibility and agility and an excellence sense of compassion for a racially and ethnically diverged entity.

      If you want to make an alternate-reality version of The Lord of the Rings after Gollum makes it out of Mount Doom unscathed with the ring, he might be a good pick, but not while Sauron is still around.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TechDescartes (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 4:16pm

    So...

    Turkish TV broadcasts a message from Erdogan claiming he's in control and will punish the coup leaders.
    If he succeeds, it will prove that he is a coup-coup leader. Ironically, if he doesn't succeed, legally he can't say anything bad about the new president.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 6:47pm

    wow - didnt think i'd get 1st hand info here.

    anyway, gollum might as well embrace it, he's already got pootin's arm up his rear

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    twistdhood (profile), 15 Jul 2016 @ 8:34pm

    You talkin to me?

    If (in his mind) he's banned social media from the country, and is not addressing the country using social media...who exactly does he think he's talking to????

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2016 @ 10:23pm

    This shows how the web routes around censorship and is the
    one medium avaidable in times of crisis .
    Its the most democratic medium and its ironic that
    erdogan is now using the medium he tried to censor in the past.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 4:43am

      Re:

      After he regains control, Erdogan will tighten the screws on Internet media even more. Sort of like how Russian revolutionaries, veterans of Tsarist prisons, used their experience as former prisoners after coming to power to close any loopholes in their own prison regime.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 4:56am

    Secretive coup plotters overlooked potential of civilian allies

    Given years of discontent by Turkey's Westernizing urban classes with Erdogan's Islamizing and increasingly authoritarian ways, I was surprised that all of the street activism was in support of Erdogan. But the coup plotters apparently made no effort to recruit allies on the Internet, instead trying to smother it as an unpredictable element. They were a conspiratorial faction in the security services (the Gulenists) who did not understand how society and the Army had changed. Erdogan has had twelve years to purge the Army of secularist Kemalist generals who might have supported a coup.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 6:18am

      Re: Secretive coup plotters overlooked potential of civilian allies

      Yes, and unfortunately the coup leaders failed to kill Erdogan and his inner circle, which is of course the logical step to take when trying to remove a regime from power. Perhaps next time the Turkish military will RTFM before trying this stunt and realize that immediate execution of the leader is really the most effective way to prevent him from appealing to the masses to help return him to power.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 8:12am

        Re: Re: Secretive coup plotters overlooked potential of civilian allies

        The best coup is a bloodless coup, eg when the target leader is away on a foreign visit.
        I am doubtful whether decapitation of the leadership would have worked in this case. Erdogan has had many years to remake the Army's officer corps, and he was acutely alert to the risk of a coup.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re: Secretive coup plotters overlooked potential of civilian allies

        I suspect this was not a carefully planned effort, but rather a last-ditch attempt as Thames felt their power slipping away.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 16 Jul 2016 @ 7:15am

    And the backlash is in

    After the coup broke down, a number of people have been arrested (not really surprising), and something like 3000 judges have been fired. Obviously, Erdogan uses the failed coup as an excuse to mow down opposition indiscriminately.

    I mean: firing judges because of a military coup? He probably has a shit list of judges somewhere who did not hand out the kind of verdicts he likes for being critical.

    This will get worse a lot before it gets another chance to get better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 10:23am

      Re: And the backlash is in

      The firing of the judges is rather convenient. The more I think about it, the more I believe the coup was intentionally sparked by people secretly working for Erdogan. He knew what was coming and had countermeasures ready, both in the Army and in mass mobilization. The Gulenist military officers fell into a trap, and now they are guilty by the standards of most societies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 11:25am

      Re: And the backlash is in

      Yeah I'm waiting to see how many in the coup segment of the military are simply executed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 16 Jul 2016 @ 8:30am

    Turkish TV broadcasts a message from Erdogan claiming he's in control and will punish the coup leaders

    So he'll try suing them in German courts?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 16 Jul 2016 @ 9:00am

      Re:

      No, in Turkey. He started by firing all judges who cannot be relied upon to crank out the desired verdicts.

      And those of the remaining ones that don't fall into line as expected will likely be unseated and accused of high treason.

      Erdogan is democratically legitimated. Guess who else was almost a century ago, juggling between a few leadership positions until he created his personal one.

      You can elect him any time you want but you may never leave. It's not that uncommon a preposition.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2016 @ 2:50pm

        Re: Re:

        It's not the 1st time that Turdogan has sacked judges & military officers that looked at him the wrong way. Strange how the new bunch of sacked judges have the same ideas about the rule of law that the old judges that got sacked held.

        Must be something about holding up the rule of law, not the whims of a dictator for life, who has just announced in the aftermath that he is to hold onto office until the end (of his life?).

        Turdogan may not have a gold toilet but he sure is performing a golden shower on the Turkish citizens.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2016 @ 12:10pm

    the world wants to look out for this guy. since the coup, there has been over 6000 arrests, including 30 generals and 270 judges and he's stated how he is gonna wipe out 'all state institutions of the Gülen virus'. this sounds very much to me like a certain person that started WWII and wanted to eradicate the Jews during the process! cant believe that the EU was/still is considering having Turkey as a member. Erdogan is a dangerous man, too dangerous to have as an enemy but even more dangerous to have as a friend!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anon, 18 Jul 2016 @ 9:12am

    Plot?

    The coup was so amateurish it's not hard to believe it was a put-up job by Erdogan himself. Army all over Istanbul and Ankara but none at the airport - while Erdogan was off in the countryside and would fly back? No attempt to fly to his resort and arrest him ASAP? No attempt to hold on the TV studios (just a hit-and-run) or the phone company? Police forces organized to go up against heavily armed Army groups almost immediately (and the Army surrendered!)

    Where's the prime ring-leaders paraded on TV afterward? Instead, he's arresting a flock of Army brass that appears well in excess of the number that were needed to command that tiny amateur farce. Looks more like Erdogan just has his own enemies list and he's found or manufactured an excuse to work his way through it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 19 Jul 2016 @ 6:22am

      Re: Plot?

      I thought about that. And failed coups are ripe for further radicalization afterwards (see Hugo Chávez). Turkey has my prayers, they'll need every help.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.