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Berke Alkan Headshot

There is no Spring in Turkey, It's the Coldest Winter We've Ever Seen

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TURKEY EARTHQUAKE 2011 FINAL DAY
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"Merhaba!", This how we say hello in Turkish. But, "Günah Keçisi" is what we were found saying after the Van earthquake, just as we did after the 1999 İzmit earthquake. What does this mean? Brilliant guess! We've found a scapegoat!

He is a building contractor and who has been accused of building poorly, because the biggest loss of lives in this earthquake happened in one of his buildings.

But the question no one is asking is who let him build these buildings? It's kind of like deja vu.

Anyway, we didn't learn from our past, and it will just go down in history as yet another failure and embarrassment for Turkey.

In this post - as promised in my previous blog - I'm going to tell you the truth about my country and what is really going on here.

I want to talk about someone who I'll name later. Born in 1954, he attended an Islamic school before obtaining a degree in management from Istanbul's Marmara University. He was elected Mayor of Istanbul in the local elections of 27 March 1994. In 1997 he publicly read an Islamic poem which included the lines:

"The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers..."

He was immediately banned from office, because when Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey he stated that the laws of the country must be based on secular and not religious principles.

This man was sentenced to 10 months in jail, however, he was freed after four.

Today, the political party of which he is the leader is in charge of my country.

His name is Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is Turkey's current prime minister, leader of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or AKP). The AKP's supporters are increasing day by day. Now they are about half of Turkey's population.

I remember my childhood. I'm 22, so it wasn't very long ago. Everything in Turkey has since changed, but really slowly. And you know what? I'm pretty sure this was done on purpose. It's known as the boiling frog syndrome. To be honest, even I didn't realise how much my country was changing until it was too late.

I remember that we were happy. I remember that there was no difference between girls and boys at school. Now, in many state primary schools boys and girls have to stand at least a meter apart, it is forbidden for them to be any closer to each other.

Our teachers used to say that "Turkey is one of only seven truly self-sufficient countries in the world." And yeah, we were. But not anymore, because under this government Turkey now imports more than it exports. They let us consume, more than we produce.

I had 56k internet connection, it was slow but it wasn't filtered by the government. Nowadays there are over 60.000 websites you can't access without using a proxy server. Did you know that for 3 years between 2008 and 2011 we couldn't access Youtube in Turkey?

And a new law came into effect on the 22 August 2011 stating that anyone caught using a proxy server to view banned websites will be fined. Of course they won't try to prosecute ordinary home users but they will use this law as a weapon against people like me who oppose them.

I remember that I used to watch science documentaries on state television. Watching them opened my eyes, changed my world. I became more curious about the world, nature, space and everything else.

However, (and I'm sure you won't be too surprised after everything I've told you) nowadays children can't watch science documentaries on state television because they contradict the religious beliefs of this government.

I hope we won't become another Iran. Nowadays I am the minority in my country.

I never thought that one day this would happen. I've just found out that the government have canceled the celebration of Republic Day this year. Using the Van Earthquake as an excuse. They've said we can't celebrate this when our people are suffering. This is the biggest lie I've ever heard...

I'm going to tell you more soon, let's just say this is the beginning...

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