An inadequate educated population and personality issues
Although I believe that education is one of Turkey's biggest problems, being in the well-educated segment of this, I believe that those who don’t increase their horizon and knowledge development, don’t conform to the current era, are judgmental and narrow minded and also contribute to and are equally part of the problem. I received many comments to my previous written article which are some recent typical examples of this…
I'm not talking about every educated citizen. We have hundreds of thousands of citizens who have both valuable knowledge and experience and high characters. But these people are in the serious minorities. The majority of the country consists of uneducated, inadequately educated or educated people with serious weaknesses in character. I am writing this article for self-criticism on behalf of my country. Of course, I will have suggestions in the conclusion section of this article.
Most recently, I wrote an article titled “Our country’s English name should be “Turkia”. I also shared this on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. My Instagram and Facebook pages are not public. Only when I want to share something with everyone is when I post on my LinkedIn and Facebook in a way for everyone to see.
Generally, I got very good reactions. Many people who adopted the idea of “Turkia”, shared my article. That made me happy. The more we spread this idea, the more successful we will be. We are only at the beginning.
Inconsistent comments on my proposal of the word “Turkia”
There were also some very strange reactions. For example, someone working as a legal consultant in an institution that determines and supervises the functioning of one of the most important sectors of the country wrote a comment (Because I didn’t copy the comment, I’m softening it from what I remember of it):
“For God's sake, let it go. Do you want to rivet our image which is already tarnished by the Middle Eastern use of the word Turkia which the Arabs use? Don’t you ever do any research, what a shallow piece of writing! Turkey's name has come from Celtics”.
Just when I was writing a response, he deleted his comment. He probably did it because he didn't think it would be good for his position to voice hate speech towards the Arabs. So, I wrote my answer:
“The Arabs say the word “Turkia”, so are you now going to make us a Middle Eastern country?” are some of the silly things some people have said. Therefore, I made some additions to my article.
For one thing, Arabs write in Arabic, they don't use the Latin alphabet. So even though the pronunciation is the same, you cannot see the word “Turkia” spelt anywhere in Arabic.
In addition, a language that can say Turkia directly and pronounces it as it is written is the language of Basque. In the North of Spain, besides the Basque people, the Latino residents pronounce Turkey as Turkia in several languages and is only spelt slightly different. For example, in Spanish, Turkiye is spelt as "Turquia” and in Italian its spelt as "Turchia" but both are pronounced as "Turkia”.
In addition, the most crucial part of the article is that the country word “Turkey” is the same word for the animal in English. I'm trying to change that. I am not arguing anything else beyond this particular point.
As I stated in the article, the suffix -ia in English is the equivalent of the -istan suffix in Turkish. So, when you bring a nation or ethnicity to its end, you define it as “it’s their” country. For example, Bulgaria means the country of Bulgars, Malaysia, the country of the Malays. This is the case all over the world.
In summary, I will continue to use and encourage the word “Turkia”, which suits the English language to be using that.
A surprising comment from a composer
This time, another very strange comment came from a composer working at a French institution (again, softening the comment from what’s in my mind):
“Actually, your article is b*llsh*t. Without doing any research, you’ve written a shallow article. It’s not even an article. Even reading articles like this are a waste of time especially if it’s not about science, etymology, etc. In French, the word “Merde” means “Shit”, which in Turkish is “Bok” so what are people with the name "Mert" supposed to do? Should they change heir names? And when we say Turkey, do we become turkeys? Stop messing around.”
(Of course, as in the previous comment, it was also interesting to me that this person who used the language of violence and attacked me, was a professional musician. You would expect artisans to be more at peace with themselves and those around them. And this is what I mean about educated people in Turkey!)
“Let them call us turkey (animal), so what”
I responded to this one. This time, a professional “brand expert”, a woman with a proper speaking style (at first, she wrote harshly too) entered in on the conversation and said she agreed with the composer. Again, they made a comment that surprised me:
“So what if they call us turkey? Does this affect our brand value? Besides, it is your problem to understand Turkey as the animal rather than the country name. When there are so many problems in our country, is this what we’re going to deal with? We should come to such a level of development, that when the English refer to us as turkeys (animal) we should be able to take our hats off to them. The Ministry that will undertake the branding of the country is the Ministry of Culture and Tourism”.
So, I wrote an answer to both of them (they made me repeat the same statements several times, insistently writing the same things):
“I wrote in my previous answer why I found it ridiculous. Again, I repeat:
- The comparison is not a comparison of apples and apples. Because the word “Merde” in French has nothing to do with the name “Mert” both in spelling and the way it’s read (“Merde” is not read as “Mert” in French. This is wrong information). But "Turkey" as its spelt comes to the same meaning, pronounced and read the same as the animal and the country known as “Türkiye”.
- I strongly disagree with your opinion about “let them call us turkey, what will this change anyway”. I don't want my country to be called a turkey. I know that the vast majority, especially those living abroad (from their messages to me) think like me. Because when you live abroad, you come across situations of laughing in a good or malicious way. Interestingly a part of the population living in Turkey cannot comprehend it. We have been trying to correct a mistake that has been made on behalf of the country for decades, and I have difficulty understanding non-constructive criticism in our country such as “why bother with this, get on with your life”. I would like to reiterate that I will continue to do my best to rectify this mistake.
As for your other comments, I would like to mention a few things. You cannot leave the correcting of a country image up to the public (Ministry of Tourism and Culture, etc.). This is a repetition of past mistakes. It is our responsibility to correct this image.
All my life I’ve been the one who always took action. So, I don't judge others and lay down the law. I have done a lot for the image of the country, and I will continue to do so. Here is an example:
I spoke on behalf of Turkey on a program which the former US vice president Al Gore's climate change was discussed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_25mBIoP34
Here is a second example: as the company EkoRe which I am the founder for, we laid the foundations of an integrated solar panel production facility which is the first time a four processes-in-one facility is made available in Turkey and with this, we used “Turkia” as the introduction to the video presentation of this facility which will perhaps signify it as a world brand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=9LX3lLEtOK8
Here's the third example: The news of this facility has appeared in dozens of international media fronts, from Italy to China (I will share some of the links below):
So, I personally do everything necessary with my team for the image of the country. I also do not agree with your statement that “even an English citizen will take off their hats when he says turkey”. The English citizen should use the name “Turkia”, which suits us (both in terms of sound and meaning), and to appreciate the country's potential and put us at the top of its mind (and not by referring to us as the animal). I'm not just talking about it; I'm doing what I need to correct it”.
Repetitive insistence on not understanding
They continued to repeat similar statements to me three times. The latest thing the composer said was, “With your very limited French, you are saying that in French, “Mert” isn’t pronounced as “Merde” but you are wrong” and then with more opinions, when he continued to say “There are no grounds to your argument. Talk to us with reference to science”, I almost fell off my chair from laughter. This time I responded to him in this way:
- How do you know my level of French? No matter which French you ask, they will tell you that “Merde” is not pronounced as “Mert”. This is the reality
- Turkey is the most mocked bird especially in the North American culture. In addition, hundreds of thousands of Turks who have lived in America and Canada have been subjected to these turkey jokes. This includes me too. This is not an argument, but a reality too
- I have always been in technology and R&D throughout my career. Today, I am an entrepreneur of 4 companies that I have R&D and software development departments. We have allocated important budgets to all of them. I've always been in areas of science and for that reason, I was one of the first to be in sectors such as solar energy and fintech, which everyone defines as the industries of the future. I have conducted much work in different fields including science, technology and innovation and this will continue to increase.
After writing this, I realized that I was unnecessarily repeating myself because these people did not understand or did not want to understand. I don't think either of these situations are nice. They simply distort reality with the ambition of winning a debate (for example, calling it an argument) and by making strange comments. In the end, I realised that my time was much more valuable than this, and I decided to distance myself from them.
Another surprising example
Let me give you another example about educated people. I gave a speech at TUBITAK last Friday, the day before these events. Before my speech one of Turkey's major universities' professors made a speech at the beginning of the Solar Energy Research Centre. Everybody knows me in the solar industry. He knew that I was going to make a speech after him, and he looked me in the eye and gave false information about the development of technology. Either he did it because of lack of information or he did it on purpose. I think they're both bad regardless. Then he praised another company, praising its founder. After listening to him in amazement, I took the floor. In my speech, I corrected some of the wrong discourses in a nice tone without going into further polemic and stated that we are in the stage of signing a protocol with the University of Nigde Ömer Halisdemir University.
Then they say, “Why doesn't technology develop in this country and why isn’t R&D done on this in universities?” If technology is supported like we support football teams, then there’s a lot more we will miss out on. Luckily, entrepreneurs don’t make these mistakes. They are more flexible and move faster.
There are serious deficiencies in academy’s in Turkey. Not all academics, but a significant majority are disconnected from real life. It's like that music composer calling the real events an argument. They create their own world. Then they believe it.
Many of them keep talking about things from 10 years ago. They underestimate those who do it professionally in real life. However, those who do the job in practice are always more knowledgeable. I think that professors should also work in the private sector and keep in touch with real life. Or, in practice, it would be best for those who do these things to work as academics in the academy as public service.
You can see such character weaknesses all over the country, not just at the academy. Such egos exist in both educated and uneducated groups.
I also have to say that there is corruption in every corner of the country. There are serious problems everywhere in the private sector and public sector as well as those trying to make money through non-governmental organizations. We all know what is going on.
Personally speaking, I am focused on how I can contribute to humanity and my country.
My suggested solutions
As I mentioned in the examples above, this country cannot rise to the level of developed countries because of the inadequacy and weaknesses among the educated people in the country. Let me tell you why.
- If the millions of educated people stopped sitting on their hands and making judgment but took action instead, many things would be different in our country today. For example, the education of the uneducated is a matter of the educated. If the educated wanted and made an effort on this issue, they would not allow the difference between the uneducated to be so wide. The number of civil society contributors is still very small compared to the population. This needs to change.
Here is a photo that we took with TİDER volunteers who contribute to civil society. These anonymous heroes support a non-governmental organization while doing sports and having fun.
- The idea of many people who have been educated but who have not been educated enough or who have not been able to renew their levels creates fixed minds, which means they cannot provide benefit to others. For example, if we start from the fact that education is the most important problem in the country, the most important element of education is the education of teachers/trainers. Many of the teachers in the country need to be constantly educated about life and develop themselves every year. Otherwise, teachers from 15-20 years ago, who have stayed in the system will not help much. The world we live in is going to a very different place. Children need to prepare for this. Let's not forget the only thing that doesn’t change is unchanging!
For this, I recommend you follow the works of ‘Genç Başarı Vakif’. They do great things. You can access their website at www.gencbasari.org. I am on the board of trustees of this foundation and occasionally speak at their events.
The photo was taken after giving a speech at the panel organized to encourage young people about social entrepreneurship at Evyap School in Sarıyer last weekend.
There are also non-governmental organizations operating for the education of teachers/trainers, but their work is not enough to provide both quality and quantity.
- There are many educated people with a high ego who tend to be violent and reflect their traumas onto others. In order to solve this problem, it is necessary to look at the trauma of the persons concerned. When you go into the childhood or youth of these people, it’s almost easy to find the source of the problem. The solution to this is to give priority to education of children aged 0-10 years but it also lies in parental education. If a child has witnessed violence in their family, they are then prone to violence in the future. Some traumas may also arise from the environment in which the society lives in. Some complain about politics, some about their neighbours. People who have experienced trauma in their immediate vicinity can also be very aggressive.
The importance of goodness and positive thinking as a foundation
Universal infrastructure and positive culture should be instilled in the infrastructure of all 0-10 age education, parental education and teachers training. In other words, forming the building blocks of being a good person is essential.
I would like to draw your attention to the work of the Young Guru Academy, which is committed to raising both good people and innovative young people who are constantly improving themselves. I hope that the great work of YGA will be taken and applied all over the country. Soon I will start supporting them. I'm excited for that. For more information, please www.yga.org.tr.
I would like to conclude by sharing the video that tells the story of Claire Wineland, who has lived almost all her life at risk of death and under severe treatment. Unfortunately, I wish that the joy of life of this wonderful woman who died at the age of 21 sets an example for everyone. That’s why I'm sharing her last message with you:
Life is good, we all deserve to be happy. But for this, we need to act and be positive. This doesn't happen by sitting on our hands and poking others. My advice to everyone is to start from their close circle and take action to contribute to life.
Stay healthy and happy, reflect your positivity around you. Pura Vida!
A picture reflecting Costa Rica's Pura Vida philosophy!