There are no jokes. Struggling to find a single example for an untendentious joke, Sigmund Freud famously gave up and instead invited us to see the truth spoken in each and every jest. Whether one agrees with the Viennese master’s general theories or not, politics proves him right on jokes: One might find an abundance of things to laugh about in the political realm, but nothing ever is just a jest.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent decision to make Yigit Bulut, the 41-year-old managing director of the pro-government channel 24 TV, his chief adviser is no joke either. Notwithstanding the anger, disbelief and ridicule of those who see in Bulut’s appointment the perfect example of unabashed toadyism being rewarded at a time when critical voices in the Turkish media are silenced (fellow Al-Monitor contributor Yavuz Baydar lost his job this week at the pro-government Sabah after criticizing his paper’s flimsy coverage of the recent mass protests in Istanbul), Erdogan’s choice reflects a keen political calculation rather than the lack thereof.