Remarks by President Erdoğan During TRT World Forum 2020

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President Erdoğan gave his keynote speech at TRT World Forum 2020 under the theme ‘Shifting Dynamics: The International Order in a Post-Pandemic World’, held on December 1- 2.

While delivering his speech via teleconference, which was held virtually this year, Erdoğan said that he sees the Forum as providing grounds for effective discussions for the world, the region and the country. Voicing his hope for the Forum’s success, Erdoğan indicated that many significant topics including digitalization, technology, trade and conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Nagorno-Karabakh will be discussed during the two-day online sessions and congratulated the TRT administration.

Expressing that the coronavirus pandemic left a deep imprint on every aspect of our lives, Erdoğan further stated that with the pandemic: “We are required to making substantial changes in our personal relations, economy, shopping methods and in many other areas. We see that media, politics and international relations have also been influenced by this wave of change. New media tools, which have been on the rise for a while, have become more widespread during the pandemic.

Digitalization has started to stand out in media as well as in trade. Of course, we cannot say that traditional media has completely lost its influence. However, we cannot deny that we are dealing with a new reality. I believe that the discussions to be held by the experts at TRT World Forum will draw new horizons for us.” “It is disgraceful how media outlets continue to be the standard-bearers of anti-Islamism and xenophobia.”

Referring to the glorification of members of separatist militant groups, which were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria, in Western magazines, Erdogan said: “When the same incidents took place later in different countries around Europe, those who lecture us about freedom of press ‘saw no evil, heard no evil, spoke no evil’. They ignored the Yellow Vest protests, which lasted for weeks in the heart of Paris. They never mentioned the disproportionate intervention of the French police that blinded the demonstrators. They did not form a critical sentence in the face of the blockade of French state organs against the media. We see a similar double standard in the Israeli security forces’ practices that resemble state terrorism against Palestinians.

Palestinian children murdered on the street with their hands in the air are not even newsworthy in these alleged neutral media outlets. Just a few days ago, the incident in which an ambulance, carrying a wounded Palestinian, was stopped and how the wounded (Palestinian) was tried to be hastily detained did not cause any reaction in the international press. I do not even feel the need to address the outrageous headlines that target me almost everyday. As somebody who has been acquainted with this bias, what really offends us is the aggression against what we consider as sacred. It is disgraceful how media outlets continue to be the standard-bearers of anti-Islamism and xenophobia.” “TRT, as our gateway to the world with its human-centric vision, has important responsibilities.” President Erdoğan declared that Europe, and all of humanity, will suffer unless attitudes change. Erdoğan ended his speech with the following statements: “On this issue, TRT, as our gateway to the world with its human-centric vision, and especially TRT World, has important responsibilities.

I find TRT World’s aim to retell the story with a new language, to extend the microphone to the voiceless, and to turn the camera to the invisible very valuable. Nowadays, when the international media has become uniform, TRT World is the voice of the righteous against injustice, the oppressed against the oppressors, and the justice against injustice.” “I believe that in the four years since its establishment, TRT World has filled an important gap with its qualified staff, which includes world-renowned journalists. I wish them success in their difficult but honorable mission. I sincerely congratulate all TRT employees, from the general manager to the reporter, as well as the technical staff.” “A world order where those who get away with doing evil and committing a crime cannot be called freedom.”

Erdoğan mentioned that as a politician, “Like everything else in life, technology exists to make human life easier. Digitalization, which sees people as a whole with their material and spiritual existence, will bring good results for all of us. However, when it is perceived as an arbitrary area outside the law, where there is no control, digitalization will lead us towards fascism. Therefore, while digitalization expands the scope of freedom, it should not lead to new injustices, unfairnesses and otherings.” Erdoğan stated that serious problems were witnessed with the proliferation of social media platforms in the last couple of years, remarking: “Unlimited freedom in this matter creates a completely uncontrolled area that leads to new victimizations. It paves the way for psychological and social problems, and particularly cyber-bullying where sometimes the current judicial system remains inefficient.

Victims often find neither an interlocutor to submit their complaints, nor a legal medium where they can seek their rights. A world order where those who get away with doing evil and committing crime cannot be called freedom. Another aspect of the issue is that social media platforms do not even make an effort to prevent increasing grievances. The steps with good intention that the states take for the aim of protecting its citizens can be forced to fail by being designated as intervention to freedom. As Turkey we have been expressing injustices that take place in this regard for some time.

We emphasize that no one, no company is above the law.” “Turkey will continue to protect the rights of its citizens under any circumstances.” President Erdoğan continued his speech by reminding the latest regulation for social media companies about the obligation of having representatives in Turkey and said: “We sought the freedom-security balance in acting within the framework that the international law recognizes for us. We aim to protect our citizens, particularly our children who are more vulnerable compared to the adults.

Our wish is that these institutions which consider themselves unbounded to the law, give voluntarily support to our country’s efforts with good intentions. Otherwise, Turkey will continue to protect the rights of its citizens under any circumstances.” “Our country has been exposed to grave injustice and double standards.” Stressing the increasing significance of conveying the works carried out around the globe to the international community, Erdoğan stated that Turkey has “been going through grave problems in this matter. Turkey’s success in the international arena and the great transformation within the country is not covered in a fair manner. In many cases, our achievements are even disregarded or distorted and conveyed differently.

Turkey is looked at not to discover the truth, but to find answers that fit an Orientalist viewpoint. Especially with the process that began after the Gezi Park incidents in 2013, our country has been exposed to grave injustices and double standards. Those who vandalize the streets are portrayed as peaceful protestors by international media outlets that made live broadcasts for 24 hours.

Hurriyet Daily News

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