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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Claire Berlinski is our prescient eyes-and-ears in Istanbul, front-and-center on the battle between the past and the future -and what comes next- in a very important place: Turkey. With a smart and knowing Twitter feed that's exploding -and golden for journalists- she's now wrapped up the past few months in one great piece in The Tower magazine: "The Gezi Diaries: Can We Still Call Turkey Civilized?"; @ClaireBerlinski


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For months I've been closely following American writer Claire Berlinski's incisive writing from Istanbul, via her various online pieces and her very intensive and very popular Twitter feed, @ClaireBerlinski

Berlinki's like a one-woman wire service the way the timely and useful information just flows in and out of her feed every few seconds for what often seems like hours at a time.
It's quite impressive in its scope in ways that Florida media websites and Twitter feeds aren't and never have been, but ought to be, given their greater resources.
Yet she's the one who pulls it off.

Berlinski reminds us again thru her hard work and diligence that the wonders of technology are useless unless the people using it are both savvy and energetic, not one-note town criers.

That Berlinski lives four blocks from Taksim Square and knows the ins-and-outs of everything, plus speaks the language and is NOT one of the many foreign correspondents there who are forever having to get everything second-hand even while they're eyewitnesses, gives her the effect of knowing things before they happen.
In my opinion, she's lapping the field, which is why I've sent multiple emails out over the past two months with links to particular tweets of hers that were prophetic and spot-on.

Now that she's been front-and-center for months on what's really going down in Taksim Square, and with Prime Minister Erdogan's imperious march to the past, just as Turkey finally has the well-educated and dynamic population it's long needed to take its full place on the stage, the West's fear of Turkey finally going a bridge-too-far -and a subsequent brain drain- is more than just an idle threat as she tells below in a great essay that captures what's really animating the push against Erdogan.

Here's a taste:
According to legend, when the great historian Robert Conquest was asked if he wanted to rename the updated edition of The Great Terror, his history of the Stalinist purges, he replied, “How about, I Told You So, You F***ing Fools.”
And that’s what I’m saying now to every single lazy journalist and policy wonk, professional sycophant, diplomat and idiot pundit who’s never so much as visited this place, the duly-funded social scientists and craven Western politicians and everyone else who for years swallowed Erdoğan’s nonsense and helped to manufacture the fantasy that Turkey was getting more and more democratic by the day.

That's what I'm talking about!

The Tower magazine
The Gezi Diaries: Can We Still Call Turkey Civilized?
By Claire Berlinski
Some see it as a modern democracy with an Islamic tint, an improving, reforming country. But if you were in Istanbul during the last month and a half, you’d have seen something completely different: a violent, authoritarian, increasingly suppressive and brutal regime. Tales from the Dark Side, Turkish style.
I’ve always been a critic of armchair reporting. But when your armchair is four blocks away from Taksim Square, it has one of the best views of the uproar in Istanbul any diligent reporter could ask for. I’m now able to calculate with great precision the time between the beginning of the screaming, the sound of the shot, and the entry of the gas through my window. It’s two and twelve seconds respectively.
Read the rest of her great essay at 
http://www.thetower.org/article/the-gezi-diaries-erdogans-turkey-goes-medieval/
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The Towerhttp://www.thetower.org/ You can see the whole Middle East from here

Claire Berlinski, @ClaireBerlinskihttps://twitter.com/ClaireBerlinski

http://www.berlinski.com/

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