The elections on March 30 do not bode well for Turkish democracy. They threaten the basic liberties and rights of many opposition groups in the country, thanks to PM’s Erdogan ultimatum that he will make the opposition “pay for this.” When the corruption scandal broke out in Turkey a few months ago, Twitter instantly became the primary outlet of opposition to PM Erdogan and his AKP. Twitter was about dissemination of ideas, organization, and exposing the corruption, illegal rule [rule by utter disregard of law], the immoral acts of PM Erdogan and those around him. Yet, the results of the elections were instructive. Twitter was effective in terms of organizing the opposition and informing them about the extent of the corruption in which the AKP was mired. Yet, this opposition was relatively small in number, educated, young, and urban; what appeared on Twitter (and, other social media outlets) had minimal impact on the rest of society, which is large in number, less educated, older, and more suburban and rural than urban.
The rest of society relied more heavily on traditional means of mass media, including television and print. In other words, the opposition created a world of its own on Twitter, essentially singing to the choir, and unable to reach out to those outside. The most effective arguments against AKP corruption failed to reach the population at large in Turkey.
Arguably the most notorious feature of democracy is the general public’s openness to manipulation. PM Erdogan is a savvy politician and exploits this weakness fully. PM Erdogan’s fledgling dictatorship rests not on force but rather on media and money.
Erdogan’s control and influence over newspapers affects around 40% of all newspaper sales, including major, and seemingly mainstream, Turkish dailies such as Sabah, Milliyet, and Haberturk. Likewise, major TV channels like ATV, Star TV, Show TV, NTV, and the state television network TRT are all either directly controlled by Erdogan or influenced by his great sway over the network’s broadcasters.
Full Article: Turkish elections: money and the media | openDemocracy.