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The Narrowing Spectrum of Control

By Kirsty Allison.

Erdoğan-bots are listening. The diplomatic area of Ankara, Turkey’s capital: high walls, air-conditioning, watered gardens, and thick glass. Here, in the shadows of the palace of the prime minister, who also made himself president, able to rule undefied until 2029, is a sleazy post-work American-style bar, where blues and placid pop play damp onto the terrace like Erdoğan’s wrath; a wet patriarchal omnipresence, plinthed like the Attaturk posters plastered around the city. Erdoğan is like the internet; he is everywhere. People are knocking back the rosé, and the beers, like it’s the last days of the Levant, covering their microphones, explaining social media is used as evidence for what you are thinking. Not that he needs evidence…

“The whole country is a prison,” confides a Blahnik wearing accountant. Her face one that sees no escape. “Visas to leave are only granted if you have reason to return,” explains her friend, in perfect, US-educated English, laughing (that’s one common coping mechanism living in any gagged and bound state of 21st century Earth, witnessing how dual-talk truths slip in, genie-style, with 50/50 majorities, whether led by Cambridge Analytica/Mercer-Bannon-style takeovers, or more conventional skewing techniques of dual speak used by corporate media: immigration tactics, general fear. Laugh relentlessly, like it’s all you’ve got to hold on with, as the elections of Brexit slip in, and Theresa May stays in with a 13m defeat to Corbyn’s 12m. It’s always 50/50 majorities. It was the same in the last election here).

The accountant continues: “Erdoğan imprisons anyone who is a threat, there is no opposition. The murderers and thieves run free because the prisons are so full.”

Erdoğan is the judge and jury. He’s the guy Sweden are trying to prosecute for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.

He is accused of encouraging the education of Syrians above Turkish-born citizens, allowing these new residents freely into universities, where nationals are made to sit exams. He fills the education system with his people in the top seats. It’s a wipeout of the liberal classes, and free thought. Previously Turkish universities were as strong as the Ottoman Empire.

So there’s an undertow of division with Syria being the hellbringing heathens of hardcore Allah-ite behaviour. Two-million, maybe three-mill immigrants have ‘flooded’ in from Syria in the past six years. This is into a country with a population of around 75 million. So if Britain has 250,000 immigrants arriving per year (100K of which are students), it’s a similar non-influx, not exactly an invasion, but these Syrians are not generally the beggars seen in British media, they are middle class, and are creating an economy, and more right-wing bias for Erdoğan to rub his hands over. Planting flags of behaviour which reduce the goalposts into the internationally abused pandemic of deviant political rhetoric formed around immigration. It creates a shallow panacea of distraction from anything of genuine depth, or progress. As does the image of Erdoğan. As does Trump, and his daft hair, and Barbie wife. As does all simplified symbolistic cartoonery. This sweet distraction, sticky as honey-soaked baklava, builds fear, nationalism; here backed by Erdoğan building mosques like they’re going out of fashion, he’s busting them out faster than Apple knock out phones. The schools are all now religious. Deafening calls to prayer ricochet down the streets – and villagers are ordered to stay in the arid villages they’re born in, to retain population. Religion is Erdoğan’s major tool. People are being forced down on mats five times a day. It feels very Germany 1935, and as he outlaws Wikipedia, it is gangplank close to a future fantasy offered by Theresa May providing a ‘safe internet’ for us in Britain, where she and cronies take tax breaks in personal profits, against people. A world of kickbacks sheltered in voters’ slavery to neo-feudalism, where the ‘Big Five’* of Apple, Amazon, Samsung, Starbucks and Cambridge Analytica control us, cracking the whip of free-economy belief, lambasted with ‘Insta-ethics’, that we have a freedom of expression. But it is no more than hysterical normalisation, where our destinies run in a paradigm of behaviour, guided by an American fear of offence: our behaviour, and statements, religiously zealotised by the inventors of our digital platforms. These companies do not accept strikes against them. If you don’t like it, you aren’t in the room. The goalposts of relegation, and regulation are made by dining with weaponry dealers, under the auspices of uniform legal paraframes, touted with superiority, steeped in regeneration development loans. These fantasy indexes, as imaginative as SEIS business plans, are as outlandish as the tragically outmoded Marxist ideals of internet democracy, where each of us stood equal. All equality liquifies in the reality of an internet centralised by hegemonically controlled bots, reflecting programmed algorithms in supranets above even the glorious owners of super-corps, and government, where one reality becomes another. Computers can speak faster than we can even say DATA. We stand no chance, and Britain chooses to shield itself in typical Teflon bureaucratic regalia. In Turkey’s more savage environment of manipulation, so close to the middle-east, I am faced with a mirror of what I wrote about in the editorial for the second edition of my literary zine, Cold Lips: it is black holes of negative karma that rocket through infinity. We create our space, digital, and universally. Time happens at all speeds around the omniverse, in parallel, vertically, fractally. Quantum physics, baby. And here, in Turkey’s capital, it feels like a Hux-Wellian hell paragraph away from the three-hour plane journey back to London. It’s like a trailer for what’s coming to May’s Britain soon. Levels of darkness swirl infinitely, as I gaze into cinnamon-coloured tea, inhaling the slow death smoke of disquietude from cigarettes everywhere. This can only pan out with the mirage of a bogeyman, being astroturfed as a cancerous schill, something like the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party) who fight for their own state in southern Turkey, particularly around Diyarbakir, with roots in the fringes of all borders of Iran, Iraq and Syria.

The PKK, conveniently labelled a terrorist organisation by the West’s karmic overlords, haven’t killed any oil workers yet in their extortion demands for rightful space, but will soon become tools of Russia, and America, as the Turkish army send troops to protect Qatar against the blockade which began, unmysteriously, just after Trump’s visit to Saudi, requesting Al Jazeera to be shut down, as the CIA continue to fund organisations with millions to create beheadings, and sheaths of info-war platforms, such as Alaraby TV (the new supposed-Saudi station, of spies and TV) with CCTV amped at US embassy levels in Park Royal. People are so bored by Isis, that boxset is so 2016, let’s create a new story. And sure enough, Trump threatens to arm the PKK. A party categorically against concepts of ‘nation state’ veering towards ‘democratic confederalism’, a sort of bottom-up democracy. Heads vigorously shake, warning me not to talk of deals with Russia and the KRG (the self-governing Kurdistani state of Northern Iraq), and the forthcoming separate Kurdistani state of Northern Syria. It is the Kurds who link to Russia, with the southern Sunni Islamic states going to America. To rid the piggybanks in an oil slip. To de-equalise the world, as ecologically sound alternatives are made expensive, so profit can be turned in the hydroelectric solar winds. Confusing clouds of complex Sonny & Cher/Sunni & Shia divides, stop understanding that this is a war between individuals, in similar tribal labelling that left colonial Africa partitioned into lumpy gravies. Yemen, just another chapter is the re-division of wealth is stabbed into Auschwitz levels, with the gangstas labelled as renegade Houtis, no named individuals responsible, stemming from moves begun by Bush, Clinton, and all before…17m die in Yemen, not receiving medical attention, starving – and the southern oil deals are in place – after a stack of billions more is spunked on arms. Turkey is at the centre of all of this. The wildcard in the narrative is still Iran: the nation most likely to throw a nuclear fireworks display up in anticipation of a surprise party that Turkey look fake shocked about as the faux-clandestine agreements slip into gear. The frictions of Turkey, as past Ottoman leaders of the Islamic world, are surely held in CIA & GCHQ databanks, but also by their secret service, the MİT (National Intelligence Organisation). After the fake coup of Turkey, and firing, and imprisoning many thousands of civil serpents (thanks, Jeff Noon), they can, and do, watch you through your TV, and phone. Masks of VPNs (virtual private networks) are increasingly difficult to sign into, apps where organisations can communicate ‘privately’ are all available to rebels.

“Metaphor is the only true freedom here,” says an Anonymous-looking guy, whispering over a beer in the bar we began in, hating the corporation he works for, but knowing money is as close to freedom as he can come, “When you’re constantly being watched, and no neighbour can be trusted…”

Yes, people are paid off for information. This is a well-pool of pea-soup oud, a full-on miasma to try and fight through. I flashback to the Anonymous guy telling me: “You cannot speak to your neighbours”. You cannot trust anyone. The drivers’ grass – the cleaners – the CEOs. So what do you do? Go with the majority? The fifty percent majority? You keep your head down, hope it’s better by the time your kids have grown up? Shelter yourself between the sheets of being a VPN rebel, writing nothing down, or it will be held against you. Or you tune out in other ways: ’Life is a party’, act like peace, love and unity will save the world. Tune in to the propaganda: watch TV, and be watched. They are recording. Or you can join the mosque, and get down on your mat like this is a yoga bootcamp, bitches.

As I have my battery pack and computer taken from me by Turkish Airlines with no prior warning, I leave, going back online only when I land back on British soil. Back on Signal. Back to fake news and fake smiles. Although I have taken steps for my own voice to be heard against our monitored state in the UK, in these behaviour-based capital-index times, ie. post anything with a critical face, at risk to your power to eat; I know my voice lives in the peripheries, and will never rise beyond the state of consciousness encouraged by May’s noxious People vs Profit state. I remain a slave. Or I become homeless and join the increasing 60% of the world living in poverty. This is globalisation. It’s us versus them. Us who pay the taxes for this system of humiliation, where VAT is an excuse for megacorps to avoid registering in the country they profit from, and a total tax income of £500bn per annum slips into a country where the NHS only takes a fifth of it.

Where is my money? Sure there are roads in Britain. There is water. Which I pay for. But there has never been such a slim spectrum of control. Fuelled by American dream-style hope. That’s why there is no revolution. The neo-feudal quasi-government nets of control tighten around us, pulled to strangle us, hegemonic demonic bots on superspeed, injecting poisoned messages into our system, communicating faster than all previous epochs combined, an infinite chase scene, humankind accelerating into the Anthropocene, and we are undeniably losing our colour as the world turns monochrome.

* Yeah, 2023, The KLF’s new book that I just reviewed for DJ Mag (October), where I edit the arts, has the premise of a world in this state.

Kirsty Allison is from London.  She has a poetry band with Dave Barbarossa and a party for the next edition of her lit zine, Cold Lips.  She had a band with Irvine Welsh in her early 20s, has had art/poetry films in the Tate.  Her novel will be published by Cold Lips Publishing.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, September 17th, 2017.