In the last three years the climate for online free expression in Turkey has gone from relatively bad to awful. Mirroring the more general human rights situation that has progressively deteriorated, online free expression has become a key battleground. In this context, it should come as little surprise that the “usual suspects” – the “Dictators Little Helpers” as some have called them – have begun delivering increasingly advanced software and hardware to the Turkish government (Kehl & Morgus, 2014).At this point, it seems credible to assume that not only mass censorship and filtering but wide scale mass surveillance is taking place. Responsibility for such a failure cannot be laid at the feet of the Turkish government alone. If anything, the spiral into violence in Turkey also represents a failure of its key partners and neighbours. For example, the politics of Turkey’s EU accession made it impossible to “lock in” any progress made in the area of human rights. Instead repressive measures against free expression and other political rights have dominated Turkish politics since 2011, with successively more repressive measures since May 2011 heavily influencing Turkish politics. These authoritarian methods are reminiscent of other countries in the region but also of other authoritarian states such as Russia. Frustratingly, many of the countries affected by the Arab uprisings have praised the Turkish model and attempted to emulate it in some way or another. It should be emphasized however that the “Turkish model” in which even moderate political reform was considered possible no longer exists and that post-revolutionary countries would do better to look elsewhere for guidance.

Advertisements

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: