Friday, 2 November 2007

Nationalism and Facebook in Turkey. How about some Real Deabtes about Turkey's Politics

I've joined the Facebook phenomenon. I resisted at first, because I thought it was faddish. Well it is faddish, but it's still great as a way of keeping in touch with friends, reviving old friendships and sharing all kinds of things in an online community.

Facebook is now very popular in Turkey. I have no strong evidence for this, but I have a strong feeling that Turks in Turkey and Britain are disproportionately active on Facebook and internet communication. They keep popping up, and I'm particularly aware of it based in ıstanbul. The most obvious Turkish dimension of Facebook is that a lot of peopel have put the Turkish flag instead of a personal photograph on their profile. Less nationalsit people have been complaining about it on Facebook. Nationalists left and right are fighting it out it with the anti-nationalist or a-nationalist left.

As far as I'm concerned both sides are putting too much emphasis on the flag and nationalist gestures. Some more substantial issues would be welcome. Nationalist gestures, and reactions to them, have increased because of the way that opposition to the recovering Islamists in government has been mobilised, the reactivation of the PKK from norther Iraq, slowness of the EU to welcome Turkey, constant obsession in the west with labelling 1915 deportations and massacres of 1915 as genocide. It should be obvious that it is nonsense for parliaments to be voting on such an issue, just as it should be obvious that it is nonsense for Turkish nationalists to create an enemy image of the west out of the issue.

As regards the Turkish Facebook community, come on let's hear some substantive ideas about Turkey's present and future, not gestures and insults.

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