Turkey Goes Radioactive

by Bob Schwartz

Erdogan and Twitter
Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan tried to close down Twitter in Turkey yesterday. Instead it exploded in his face, like a digital trick cigar.

Erdogan is miffed because Twitter is being used to disclose details about corruption, including the broadcast of phone conversations. “Twitter, mwitter,” he ranted as he blocked access.

The world noticed and, of course, tweeted. So did those in Turkey, who circumvented the ban by using an SMS text-based version.

As previous posts point out, Turkey is unlike any country in the world. Its path to modern democracy is unique and apparently unfinished. More than a bridge between east and west, it is a bridge between ancient and very modern. No nation, except perhaps for Israel, has experimented so creatively with making the past present, the past future, and the present and future past.

And, without any particular personal or filial or ancestral connection, it was for me love at first visit.

Also, even if you have no other feeling for it or reason to watch it, watch carefully. Turkey is a bellwether. If democracy and modernism proceed hand-in-hand there, there is great hope for the world, if not necessarily a replicable model. If Turkey cannot pull off that trick, we should all be concerned. Very concerned.

Erdogan has no plans to give up. But when I heard this morning’s score—Twitter 1, Erdogan 0—the song that came to mind was Radioactive by Imagine Dragons:

I’m waking up
I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
Welcome to the new age, to the new age
I’m radioactive, radioactive
I’m radioactive, radioactive