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Turkish Political Correctness Cartoon
PM Erdoğan leading a
line-up of atavistic religious followers
into the Ottoman past, saying:
"We've changed Turkey's Midnight Express image.".

'PM Erdoğan leading Turkey backward into its Ottoman Empire past, together with his team of atavistic religious-right fundamentalists.

Famous Türk Picture Series
Thanks to:
Muhalif Cizgiler
October 2011
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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Turkish Language Learning
Turkish Language
collides with
Political Correctness

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm politika kitabı fırsatları için tıklayın !

Will there be any survivors...?
Turkish language collides with political correctness...
Click for image enlargement.
Thanks to Hürriyet Gazetesi - 12 July 2006

Censored 'PC' Turkish Language
coming your way...

In 1949 when George Orwell wrote the bleak, then-futuristic novel '1984', he warned his countrymen about creeping 'IngSoc' (English Socialism) in Big Brother's fictional country of Oceania. As an example of IngSoc's smothering effect on individualism, Orwell introduced the concepts of a State-sponsored language called 'Newspeak' and a 'thought police' that enforced its use.

Newspeak's vocabulary was a reduced subset of English Language -- from which 'undesirable' words had been eliminated. The Newspeak vocabulary was reduced on purpose, in order to diminish the range of possible human thought -- thereby enabling easy population control...

Just yesterday, coincidently, Şükrü Haluk Akalın (the Director of the Türk Dil Kurumu [TDK], The Turkish Language Society -- which is an office of the Prime Ministry) announced a new campaign to purge the Turkish language of certain 'undesirable' words, terms, and phrases.

Which causes us to raise an eye-brow...

Is there, we wonder, a similarity between the TDK under direction of religious-right Prime Minister Erdoğan's office (that will oversee this new vocabulary-censorship campaign) and Big Brother's thought-police-force (with its Newspeak enforcement agenda)?

On the surface... the TDK Director seems to have chosen a fairly non-controversial category of terms and phrases to eliminate, at the campaign's outset. His first category-choice (with which almost no one dares to disagree, in public) is "Terms and phrases that belittle women." And, firstly, he says, they'll be purged from new government-sponsored publications such as the TDK's own, soon to be reprinted 2-volume Türkçe Sözlük, Turkish Dictionary.

On the list of language to be eliminated, for example, is the clearly female-denigrating proverb, "Kadının sırtından sopayı, karnından sıpayı eksik etmeyeceksin" (You mustn't spare the rod from the back, nor the baby from the stomach, of a woman).

But also on theTDK 'hit list' are more innocuous (and quite colorful) Turkish idiomatic expressions.

For example, in the TDK's dictionary under eksik, the idiom eksik etek will be eliminated. Its literal translation is something like incomplete skirt but it is used idiomatically as a term for a flighty woman.

Another phrase that will be zapped from the TDK Dictionary is kaşık düsmanı, the enemy of (my) spoon -- used idiomatically by a husband in reference to his wife. Which is an idiom that is always used jokingly in Turkey -- having no enmity in it whatsoever.

So, it seems an impossible task (to us, at least) for the TDK to decide where to draw the line -- between what is truely belittling of women and what is merely discomforting or completely harmless.

And, we ponder two main questions...

Firstly, if the TDK is actually able to prevail in its Political Correctness campaign (which is by no means a foregone conclusion), then where is this religious-right inspired 'language purification' leading and where will it end? Once these 'sexist' terms and phrases have been eliminated from Government sponsored publications, will pressure be brought to bear on private publishers to follow suit? Will government printing contracts (and such) dry up... for recalcitrant publishers?

And, secondly, what will be the next category of words, terms, and phrases that the TDK chooses to eliminate? Is this first category merely the thin edge of the religious-right's wedge?

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

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