Jun 09 2018

Turkey is fast losing its apps – columnist

Turkey’s ban on Uber is unique in the world, and together with bans on PayPal, Wikipedia, and Booking.com, it means that Turks are unable to access some of the electronic conveniences of modern life, Yıldıray Oğur wrote for liberal Islamist news site Karar.

“Despite the demands of citizens for these apps that make daily life easier, and without pressure on the state or lobby groups to find a middle way, this highlights a democracy problem from the perspective of the ordinary citizen’s effective power over government,” Oğur said.

“In other countries, these international applications also cause problems, lead to debate and to demands by lobby groups that they be limited. But completely pulling the plug on them is the most dysfunctional method, and very few countries have done it.”

The Wikipedia pages that Turkey has cited in placing a ban on the site also name 20 other countries including the U.S., the UK, Israel, Russia, India and Italy as sponsors of terrorist groups, Oğur said, and yet none of them have yet banned the site: indeed, Turkey is the only country in the world to have banned it in all languages.

Moreover, since Turkey banned Wikipedia for those reasons, the number of visits to the pages accusing it of sponsoring terrorism has increased many-fold in a classic example of what internet users call the Streisand effect.

“The state prefers its own interests and those of lobby groups to the demands and comfort of citizens,” Oğur said.

“Sadly the deletion of the apps on our telephones one by one shows how our value and power in the face of the state has fallen.”