EconoMonitor

The Kapali Carsi

A Public Apology

A reader was not “happy” that I used the word “heathen” for Jews and Christians in my latest Hurriyet Daily News (HDN) column, which was also posted here. Here’s his/her email to the newspaper editor, with me conveniently in the cc:

How could you seriously let Emre Deliveli’s article “Seder’s Four Passover questions” go to print without editing out his ignorant and very discriminatory statement calling Jews and Christians heathens?? Is this serious journalism? Not in the least. It is hateful, judgmental, and shows such intolerance that you should be ashamed.

I highly suggest you invest in some diversity training at your place of business and teach your very prejudicial employees how to behave and how to write items of true journalistic value that don’t promote religious intolerance and discrimination, racism, or sexism.

You might also suggest to Mr Deliveli that he invest in a dictionary because he clearly doesn’t know the definition of a heathen.

When you allow such ignorant items such as this to be published, your newspaper loses any bit of credibility of it might have had.

I certainly hope you follow a true journalistic course and print an apology and retraction in tomorrow’s paper. You have offended many readers.

Yes, I admit your honor… to having misused the word “heathen”.  As I noted in the previous post, I should have gone for “infidel” instead. And I also would like to apologize, as the reader is requesting: I have a diverse group of readers: Other than professional economists, a lot of people with no economic training whatsoever (expats living in Turkey, diplomats or those interested in the country for one reason or another). So I have the challenge of trying to make my columns readable for the non-economists, but at the same time not driving the economists away. But luckily almost all my readers are very smart, so they are able to follow technical subjects easily if I don’t use too much econ. jargon. So even though I try very hard to make these columns readable by any smart reader, I sincerely apologize for not having made them simple enough for anyone without any sarcasm/ sense of humor and/or below room-temperature IQ to understand them. Because I think this is the problem here:)…

Am I being too harsh? Absolutely not! If  a column that was written for the purpose of celebrating my Christians and Jewish readers’ holy days is called “ignorant and very discriminatory” (also  “hateful, judgmental, and shows such intolerance that you should be ashamed”)…  And moreover if I am accused of being prejudicial as well as promoting “intolerance and discrimination, racism, or sexism”… I think, on the contrary, I am being rather gentle… -but not gentile, as I am a Muslim, at least on paper:)…

OK, not everyone has to share my sarcasm or humor. In fact, another reader wrote at the comments section of the column, asking me if I knew heathen was a derogatory term in English. Here’s my response to him:

Yes, but that was sarcasm. I obviously don’t feel that way about Jews & Christians, but the point is that many in Turkey, including those in the Parliament and even government, do:(…

And I admit that I could have made it clear that I was using humor / sarcasm. A reader who obviously got this point wrote the following under comments:

I get the joke. But maybe you should have said “a secularist Turk asked 4 questions.” As I mentioned during a friend’s Seder dinner last week a famous Turkish Islamist columnist once said something like “in the 20th century two Jewish states were founded i.e. modern secular Republic of Turkey, and Israel.”

But I would have expected the complainant to be a bit politer rather than go the whole nine yards with the accusatory remarks. Besides, if I had anything against Christians and Jews, I would not started the column celebrating Passover and Easter, right? Another reader wrote the following, again under comments:

I got that you were being facetious as I often refer to Izmir as Infidel Izmir as well.

She goes on to say that she is a Christian herself. BTW, all these comments were written before I got this complaint.  Anyway, it is not true that I have “offended many readers”, as the unhappy customer claims. I have only offended a few readers who have no sense of humor/ taste for sarcasm and/or have a room temperature IQ! In fact, 8 people liked this column on Facebook (8 is actually a lot for HDN, my columns usually only get a couple of likes). So unless there are a lot of racist, fanatic Muslims following my writings on Facebook, almost everyone seems to have got my point and not got offended…

Apologies again for being so blunt, but I, like many of you, just don’t like to be called prejudiced, racist and the like… I could make equally derogatory statements on the complainant’s prejudice against Muslims and Turks, based on my guess about his/her ethnicity, but I won’t go down that route…

Finally, I am glad this complainant did not see the title of my International Women’s Day column last year. Chick-nomics: Arbeit macht frei! S(he) would have probably asked for my head on a silver platter rather than a public apology.

And BTW, I don’t like to be called Emre Bey (the Turkish for Mr.), as some of the readers who commented to the column have done. Emre is more than enough. But if you’ll call me racist, buddy, it is Dr. Deliveli, not Mr. Deliveli for you- my professional name:)… So if you’ll write another accusatory email to the editor-in-chief, the owner of the paper, the President of Turkey or the Pope, please address me professionally…

4 Responses to “A Public Apology”

Caustic PopApril 2nd, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I get the humour and enjoy the columns. Hopefully the publisher doesn't take the hysterical nannying of one busy-body to heart.

Keep up the great work!

From a proud infidel/heathen

Emre Deliveli edeliveliApril 2nd, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Thanks for the kind comments….

I don't think it would be a huge problem, as this is not the 1st problem a HDN columnist has been complained, nor it will be the last. It actually happens a lot with politics columnists since Turkey is such a polarized country nowadays….

I have got my share of unhappy readers as well, especially pro-government people who don't like my criticisms of economic policy- even though I am apolitical, I just evaluate policies on their economic merit alone. So I have developed a thick skin over the years and don't usually respond so harshly to criticism, but being called racist and the like drove me nuts- and I just snapped:)….

Caustic PopApril 16th, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hey Mr Deliveli,

So inflation looks to have become all but irrelevant to the CBRT and they're making policy decisions based on the very short-term. My question is, it's looked like over recent weeks and months that conditions in the money market have tightened (higher effective funding costs and bid-covers at repos). Is the CBRT now fighting tooth and nail against foreign flows so it can manage the internal funding situation whilst appearing nominally loose? It's interesting that the TRY doesn't seem to be buying their latest move so far.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated 🙂

Emre Deliveli edeliveliApril 25th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Apologies, I answer all comments, but this one slipped through the cracks.

I think your description is a an accurate summary. The problem is that they are trying to jumpstart growth, which turned out to be weaker than many expected (including me and them) and capital flows. Current account and inflation are off their radar for now. Expect an upward revision to the inflation target next week…