How Turkey is becoming a snitching paradise

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Most authoritarian regimes are maintained by snitching. It’s how Gaddafi stayed in power for so many years.

… in the wake of the July 15 coup attempt, ordinary citizens are feeding intelligence services. Haberturk daily reported Oct. 1 that the number of tipoffs to the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) has exceeded 10,000 per month, up from about 2,000 before the putsch. Similarly, the number of visitors on the MIT’s website has grown from 90,000 to 250,000 per month. The main target of the informants is the Gulen community or the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization (FETO), as Ankara calls it, which stands accused of the coup plot. With a fivefold increase in tipoffs, the people’s enthusiasm seems to be strengthening the informant mechanism.

The MIT website has a “How can you help?” section, which includes a form for the person’s name, surname, telephone number, email and residential address. Then there is the “Your message” box, in which citizens can write the information they want to convey. Staying anonymous is also possible. Citizens are assured that their messages are protected by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption against “the intervention of third parties” and that “any information, which is not imaginary and does not involve grudge and rests on real facts/evidence, is important for MIT and is being evaluated.”

The MIT’s emphasis on evidence is important. However, when it comes to the fivefold increase in tipoffs after the putsch, there is one detail that should be carefully considered. Most of the tipoffs come complete with the names and telephone numbers of the informers, even though they are not obliged to reveal their identities. This suggests that people might be seeing the tipoffs as a way to shield themselves against being stigmatized as FETO members. Such pre-emptive efforts at self-protection would make perfect sense, given the ferocity of the hunt for Gulenists, which has led even Erdogan to admit that irrelevant people are being vilified. As such, intelligence services are supposed to filter the tipoffs with care.

via How Turkey is becoming a snitching paradise

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About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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