Big Brother is working you.

“Announcement:
All employees on our hospitals’ payroll must attend the arrival ceremony prepared by our Chancellery for Mr President before the State Water Works on Elazig road at 12:00 tomorrow. Those who attend are required to take photos with their smartphones for evidentiary purposes. The photos will later be presented to the Chancellery.
Dicle University Chancellery.”

So there! Big Brother -also known as ‘the Chief’- is coming over; stop whatever you are doing and go meet and greet! Your livelihood depends on it!

This is not Kim’s Korea or Saddam’s Iraq, but Erdogan’s Turkey three days ago.

erdgodan dicle uni1-horz.jpg

When one hears about the popularity of Erdogan and his AKP government in Turkey, it is easy to miss the pressure people are under to show support or else. Insufficient demonstration of love for the Chief may cause one to lose favours, contracts, and employment. Criticism leads to loss of liberty.

What is worse is that in Kurdish areas of Turkey where this announcement was made, the state is the biggest employer, since state of emergency conditions discourage private investment, and restrictions on contact with the oil-rich Kurds in Iraq prevent trade and economic growth. Working for the government is the surest way for Kurds to avoid abject poverty and for that, they must love and behold Erdogan.

The university behind this announcement later denounced it, claiming it was an unauthorised private subcontractor calling for its own particular employees. Within hours, however, a previous announcement, one that compelled employees and their families to attend the 1st year commemoration of the attempted anti-Erdogan coup, surfaced. That one was signed by Dicle University Vice-Chancellor and the hospital’s chief surgeon Prof. Ali Kemal Kadiroglu himself; so no denying that one!

This particular story is small but hugely significant and is yet to be brought to the attention of the West, which is Turkey’s biggest ally. Turkey is no longer the country known 20, 10, or even 5 years ago. The rule of law, in this case the laws governing employment, is rapidly breaking down to be replaced by the patronage system that is a hallmark of all authoritarian dictatorships: support the chief and enjoy his largesse or oppose him and lose all you’ve got.