Tag Archives: Turkey

Twitter the Menace

“There is now a menace which is called Twitter […] The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.” — Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey

I took this quote today from an article on CBSnews.com: “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejects “dictator” charge.”

I found this quote and its context in the article to be a bit chilling. As an avid user of social media, I find it quite ironic that a leader who is refuting claims that he is a dictator is condemning the use of social media. Twitter is a menace to society? Really?

Social media gives a voice to ordinary citizens, bringing their voices together in a virtual setting in way that can be similar to an actual physical protest. It can just be harder for a government to stop its citizens’ online commentaries.

Twitter has the power to let people express themselves however they wish. Sure, a person can certainly use their Twitter account to lie; however, I like to think that (with the exception of cyber-bullies) most people use their social media accounts to speak the truth as they see it. Perhaps I am too much of an idealist.

In any case, with the trouble that has been happening recently in Turkey, Erdogan’s comments bring back memories of the attempted crackdown of Twitter during the protests in Iran of 2009-2010; it also makes me worry that, if pushed too far, the Turkish government may choose to go the way of the Chinese, refusing access to Twitter and Facebook outright. Let’s hope not.

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Ankara Fair a Success

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Today, I participated in a five-hour fair in Ankara, Turkey. It went very well!

The turnout was higher than at the first two cities–including Istanbul, surprisingly enough; however, the traffic was not so overwhelming that we lost the ability to have quality conversations with the potential students.

What I liked the most about the fair was the range of academic interests of the students who attended. Half of the people we spoke with wanted graduate programs, a quarter of them wanted undergrad degrees, and the last quarter wanted ESL.

There was also terrific variety among the people who wanted graduate degrees. While we were asked about the usual degree programs (i.e., MBA, Engineering), several other degrees were in demand, including MA-TESOL, Computer Science, Exercise Science, Urban Affairs and Public Policy, International Relations, and even one of our dual degree programs. It was fun to be able to highlight the variety of degrees offered at the University of Delaware. We felt quite proud about that fact.

Interestingly enough, the majority of the people we spoke with today, whether for undergrad or graduate, would have to be conditionally admitted to the university due to their basic- to intermediate-level English skills. Most of this group would need around 6-8 months of study, as well. In my opinion, in situations like that, everyone wins–especially the students, since we give them the confidence and the skills to communicate intelligently in academic settings before they begin their university studies.

Three cities down, one more to go: I’m off to Izmir tomorrow.

Impressions of an Istanbul student fair

I’ve been attending a fair series in Turkey which involves stops in Antalya, Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. Last weekend, we had a two-day fair in Istanbul, and this afternoon I am heading to Ankara.

The fair experience has been interesting so far, particularly in Istanbul. It’s almost as if there were “themes” for each day. For example, on Saturday, we met with many potential students who are hoping to do graduate degrees in the US (and conditional admissions at the graduate level). They came to the fair without their parents, and discussed all aspects of the programs, the application process, funding opportunities, etc.

Sunday, however, was completely different. It was as if it was “ESL day.” The majority of the people who spoke with us wanted an intensive English program, for periods of time ranging from 2 months to 1 year. They also came with their parents, and, in several cases, parents came to inquire about our programs without having their children present! It was a very interesting mix.

I also found that these fairs do not follow the typical model that I have seen elsewhere in the world. Turks haven’t been coming to these fairs in huge numbers so far; however, we were able to take advantage of the slower traffic to actually sit and talk with them for 5-10 minutes at a time. That is something that I haven’t been able to do in some of the larger fair formats that I typically attend. I rather enjoyed it. Plus, it was nice to have a quieter format that didn’t make me lose my voice, for once!

There are two more cities on this fair tour: Ankara and Izmir. I’ll be heading to Ankara today. I’m interested in seeing how the next two fairs will compare to the first two events.