Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s President, visits Silicon Valley, attempts to whitewash Turkey’s worsening censorship record…

In a 1,5 hour live interview in a TV Show that focuses on social media, the President explicitly and his interviewers implicitly stated that there was actually no web censorship in Turkey. Digital natives are bombarding this event at Ekşi Sözlük or at several Friendfeed feeds, ie here and here

The presenter of the show M. Serdar Kuzuloğlu is a well-known figure among digital natives in Turkey, being one of the earliest technology editors (at Radikal) and active in internet circles. He is known to be one of the first founders of Pirate Party of Turkey. However, he has been presenting the TV show at the State channel now and seems to have backed down from his earlier ideals on internet freedom. As he is a frequent speaker and advisor for corporate web projects, digital natives should not expect much from him…

During the show what particularly irritated viewers was the third person there: Ahmet Böken. Newly appointed head of TRT Haber, one of the State channels. He continuously interrupted Serdar K. and helped the President to play the good cop and claim how everything was good back in Turkey…

…and the cleaning team…a few journalists, columnists and corporate notables in social media…

Abdullah Gül is known to be/ and praised for being “sincere” “polite”, “linguistically adept”, some of the major personal characteristics PM Erdoğan does not seem to have.  However, I am having increasing difficulties to believe that he is really sincere on some issues. Apart from some ecologically hostile legislation he approved recently, he is on the verge of lying in the context of internet regulations. I personally had the chance to know some of his advisors and I know that he was told about the nature of Youtube ban or Internet regulations. However, every time he is asked about these issues, he denies any fault with a disarming smiley face and supposed sincerety and serves disinformation…

While he was visiting Silicon Valley giants and posting more personal photos, he and his aides were aiming at how technology friendly the President was. Unfortunately, Turkish public is subject to this level of propaganda: Our statesmen are so distant from the growing digital life that, his Majesty’s sympathetic moves becomes good enough for propaganda.  And still the talk of “Turkish model”….

In the mean time, what the Turkish State aims is to get more “venture capital” flow to Turkey and one should think of Gül’s visit to Silicon Valley nothing to do with internet freedom or developing digital literacy in Turkey but contributing corporatization/regulation of internet in Turkey as in line with fast capitalism Turkish policy elites seems to have adopted…

President Gül uploaded photos of his visit on his Twitter account.

President Gül uploaded photos of his visit on his Twitter account. via

A large gallery of Gül’s visit at Silicon Valley

Gul drops in, talks up the Turkish political model – latimes.com

by Turkish Digest
Gul drops in, talks up the Turkish political model
May 24, 2012 | 9:22 am

Turkish President Abdullah Gul at NATO summit in ChicagoEgyptians voting this week in their first free presidential election face a choice between Islamist and secular candidates. To some Middle East observers, Turkey, with its constitutional boundaries on Islamist parties, provides a possible model for nations in the so-called Arab Spring movement to reconcile the values of Islam and democracy.

Gül criticizes leaders in Europe of ?petty politics?

from Hurriyet Daily News
President Gül blames European leaders for leaning to far-right policies by engaging ?petty politics.

Turkey?s leader discusses a promise not yet fulfilled

by Acturca
Chicago Tribune (USA) Wednesday, May 23, 2012, p. 2 John Kass * Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in Chicago for the NATO summit, sat down with the Chicago Tribune?s editorial board Monday and I sat in. His largely Islamic nation, so often misunderstood, ruled by secular generals for decades, is now in the midst of a

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