I had read it in the book written by Dr. Riza Nur, the first Minister of Education of The Republic of Turkey, titled “Lozan Hatiralari” (Lozan Memories, Bogazici Yayinlari, 1992). Dr. Riza Nur, who had gone to the Lausanne Conferences together with Ismet Inonu, mentions the French diplomat Barrere when he explains the anecdotes about the negotiations.
Following is the chapter where Dr. Riza Nur depicted in details;
“It came to my attention during the sessions. The French delegate Barrere picks his nose by using his pinkie almost up to the first joint of his finger, and throws the dirt he removed out of his nose with a flick of his fingers after rolling it for a while. He does this all the time amongst all these people and well-mannered men. Smoking is not prohibited during the sessions. Berrere has a stick which is small like a cherry stalk, and he smokes hurly with this, and he throws that waste of his right in the middle of the session from time to time. For some reason, the behavior of this man got on my nerves. It continuously catches my sight. One day, again he was busy with his nose, and I was just gazing at him, I just saw that he was looking at me, and his impression dictated that I had seen everything. And I happened to look at him in a strange way. And then he started to look at me even stranger and angularly… But he did not stop rolling that waste. He threw his waste again only to continue picking his nose even more. This time it was obvious he was doing it knowingly. I told myself “This diplomat is both impertinent, and is not bothered with his impertinence at all.”
The incident which made me remember this anecdote and urged me to read the related chapter in the book again was a dialogue between me and Umut Acar, Consul General of Turkey in Chicago. By “dialogue”, I mean an exchange of tweets. Otherwise the ambassadors, consul generals, or any other bureaucrats of any kind of Turkey are prohibited to talk with the dissident journalists.
The journalists, who are not partisans during the Erdogan regime, are either in jail or exile.
According to the professional associations such as Freedom House, and Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey is the biggest prison for journalists in the world. However, in respect to the official discourse of The Republic of Turkey, “there is no journalist in prisons”, all of the dissident journalists are “terrorists”.
IS ENABLING PEOPLE TO VOTE A GRACE?
Let me make a reminder in order for you to better understand.
I personally had not known him, but Consul General of Turkey in Chicago, Umut Acar, is actually very active in social media. Apparently, he is known with his arguments, and tweets which are not expected from a diplomat.
I found out this myself thanks to his sharing towards me. The following incident happened in order: Ali Yurtsever, an academician and human rights activist who has been living in America for a long time, share the following tweet by mentioning Umut Acar:
“@AcarUmut but unfortunately @CumhurbaskaniTC and #akp degraded the country to the bottom of the list in the world in terms of human rights, democracy, and freedoms. You did not leave any justice, law, education, or freedom in the country! You made our beloved country a third 3rd world country which is governed by all-out dictatorship!”
There was nothing in Yurtsever’s tweet which can be considered as a crime by the law such as an insult or swearing. In fact, it was just like an every-day sharing which should be approached within the borders of “freedom of criticism and thought”.
However, the answer of Consul General of Turkey in Chicago, Umut Acar, had an extraordinary response:
“This country, which you have shamelessly call a dictatorship and denigrate every single chance you get, allows you and the likes of you to come here in our Consulate General in Chicago, and vote freely against the person you call a dictator. Thank God both justice and law exist in the country. Inshallah it will even be better.”
The account of Umut Acar was not among the ones I follow in social media. I came across because of a retweet I saw in another account. Acar’s tweet aroused my interest. Because, it was possible to x-ray the current regime through those few sentences.
And I wrote the following sentence as a comment over Umut Acar’s tweet:
“Allows you to vote…” It is a very important statement for the AKP regime to demonstrate its characteristics.”
There were two main problems in the Consul General’s statement. First, voting is a constitutional right, and the main duty of the workers of the consulate is to provide ground for an independent and fair voting. And second, no diplomat is able to know who votes for whom.
However, the Consul General of Turkey commits a “crime of discrimination” right off the bat by stating “you and the likes of you”. Subsequently, presents the constitutional right as if it is a grace by stating “dissidents are allowed to vote”. And finally, and most importantly, who does he know who votes for whom? Because, voting is a secret process, and nobody can know who voted for whom.
However, Consul General knows who does not in favor of Erdogan!
I had written my comment above because the all of these things stated by the Consul General aroused my attention. And the answer of the Consul General was even more interesting. He mentioned me and shared an image which read “Shut up FETO member!”. Immediately after, the staffed troll army of the Erdogan regime stepped in and started sharing this image. Moreover, Anadolu Agency, which is now a propaganda instrument of the regime, made news with the title “FETO members attacking Consul General.”
CHARACTERISTICS OF ERDOGAN REGIME
I wanted to explain this incident in details because this summarizes today’s Turkey very well.
Constitution is left hanging in midair in the country. The power in the country sees the constitutional right of the people as a “grace”. It sees the authority in itself: “I will decide what I want for who I want”. They are dividing the country between “my supporters –nationals and natives–“ and “dissidents – non-nationals and traitors –“.
Anybody, who makes a slight remark about criticizing or reminds universal principles, is deemed “traitor, terrorist, spy”. The concepts of freedom of press and expression cannot be located in their dictionary. They do not refrain from making statements which are not expected from a diplomat, or a statesman, and insult citizens.
And the most important thing of this matter is that this situation is not discrete anymore. Meaning, the tweets of the Consul General in Chicago, Umut Acar, and his arguments are not exceptions. For example, Serdar Kilic, Turkey’s Washington Ambassador, is known for his arguments in social media. Moreover, he blocked all of the dissident journalists, including myself.
We might say that Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is just one step ahead. Known for his disclaims, Mevlut Cavusoglu is acting like a high-school student rather than a minister with his sharing and statements in social media.
For example, after a tension between Turkey and Netherlands, he stated “I don’t know whose tulip are you, but…” In another statement, targeting the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, he said “Soothe this child, otherwise he will cause an accident.”
There are numerous more examples.
In a way, in an environment where the Minister of Foreign Affairs makes such statements and social media sharing, we couldn’t have expected the ambassadors and consuls to act in a different way.
Moreover, the way these politicians and senior bureaucrats make arguments through their own social media accounts, or the pseudonym-troll accounts, is a significant characteristic of the Erdogan regime. Until today, we have witnessed that many politicians from AKP uncovered themselves by mixing their real accounts with the troll accounts, and tweeted from wrong accounts. For example, Ahmed Hamdi Camli, who was made a deputy after being a driver for Erdogan, had been uncovered because he published a selfie from an account called “Yeliz”, which is a female name.
According to the news published in Wall Street Journal, and the documents revealed by WikiLeaks, the troll army of AKP is being led by Mustafa Varank, who had been the principal consultant for Erdogan, and now the Minister of Technology. It was revealed that many superior bureaucrats like Senol Kazanci, General Director of Anadolu Agency which is the official news agency of the state, are actually trolling through pseudonym accounts.
UMUT ACAR SURPASSES TROLLS
In this respect, Umut Acar, Consul General in Chicago, matches the description of a bureaucrat which is being searched by the Erdogan regime.
He creates arguments in social media throughout the most of his working time, and shares the propaganda videos and news about the regime. He insults the dissidents, and spreads false news about them.
At this stage, it is good to remind a few of social media activities of Umut Acar.
For example, he had an argument with Kati Piri, Turkey Reporter of the European Parliament. Under normal circumstances, the diplomats should be problem solvers, not creators, but the things go the opposite way in AKP regime.
Kati Piri tweeted the following:
“With sale of media group Dogan, 90% of Turkish media under government control. Most professional journalists in Turkey are a) unemployed, b) in prison or c) in exile. And public only gets 1 narrative.”
In response, Umut Acar claimed that Kati Piri had lost her objectivity, and should be resigned. Piri replied him with the following statement: “I am not presiding the fan club of Turkey.”
Another argument of Umut Acar was with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria. Acar marked a new epoch in diplomacy, and said “Sebosh” addressing Sebastian Kurz, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
ALCOHOL ARGUMENT WOTH THE US MEDIA
The social media performance of Umut Acar is highly effective.
Umut Acar, who gets into arguments with journalists, politicians, academicians, and other social media users, does not refrain from arguing with the US media neither. Just like in this tweet of his. ABC 7 Chicago television channel shared news about alcohol consumption. Umut Acar intervenes right away, and warns the people about the harms of alcohol.
Do not ask yourself if it is the duty of a Consul General to give alcohol lessons to the media, because Umut Acar just could not stop and related secularism with the Bibles in the US hotels. He tweeted “secularism is going away” in a funny way after he took pictures of the Bibles, which can be found nearly in all hotels in the US.
Umut Acar does not only get into arguments with political, journalists, or the standard social media users. In one of his tweets, he advises a doctor, who is an expert in his field. In another tweet, he calls Steven Cook a liar, who is one of the most known Washington experts and is taken into consideration if he tweets something about Turkey. In the past few days, Cook, who analyzed the withdrawal of US from Syria, shared his article in his social media account. Umut Acar, who had similar tweets in the past, stated “Liar, as always” addressing Cook.
Imagine yourself as the Consul General of the country for a second. Your job is to solve the problems, and defend the country’s interests, and favorable lobbying etc. However, you just do the opposite. Which country’s diplomat would call the experts “liars” located in the capital of an important country such as the US?