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    Ertugrul Ozkok: Can a country be marketed? Yes

    Hürriyet Haber
    19 Ekim 2005 - 13:26Son Güncelleme : 19 Ekim 2005 - 13:26

    Columnist Emin Colasan has gotten very wrapped up Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's recent statement "I am marketing Turkey." Colasan warns us: "This means the 'selling of Turkey'". I, however, reject this opinion. Technically, the term "marketing Turkey" is correct. It is a prime minister's responsibility to market Turkey. I wish that every prime minister up until today had done this. I wish our Presidents had done this.

    The most important marketing magazine in Turkey is actually called "Marketing Turkey."
    You can see this title two ways: either as a reference to marketing in Turkey, or as actually marketing Turkey. Marketing has emerged these days to mean more than just regular, classic selling. A product, a country, a politician, an artist, a facility, a sports club-marketing can be used to bring each and every one of these things to a more valuable meta postition. Even people can be marketed. Though no one confused this with "selling people."
    Which is why I say that the Prime Minister's words, "I am marketing Turkey," are correct from both a technical and professional perspective.
    But what about from the political perspective?
    As Emin Colasan's column from yesterday shows us, saying things like "I am marketing Turkey" can be dangerous from a political perspective. A politician should stay far away from terms that can be exploited.  People who are very self-confident often take the risk of making statements which can be exploited.
    Leaving the exploitation issue aside for a moment, let's take a look at other major statesmen who have done everything they could to market their countries:
    Germany's Chancellor Schroeder.
    British PM Tony Blair.
    French President Chirac.
    Each one of these men is both a marketer and a salesman. And I think we need to enourage prime ministers and presidents to start marketing Turkey even better than they are now.
    Until around two years ago, when private hospitals were beginning to enter our lives as a reality, I remember this argument:
    What will we call the people who come to hospitals for service? Patients or customers?
    Doctors and patients alike violently rejected the word "customer." As for me, I prefer the word "customer." Because I believe that when I demand service as a "customer," I will maintain more rights. The money I give at a hospital affords me the right to demand quality and service of an appropriate level. Rather than being a "patient" under the protection of a doctor, I achieve a more equal "customer" status with the doctor. But, as I said earlier, this is a technical term anyway, which means it is open to criticism.
    I believe that as modern capitalism and its economy take a larger portion of our lives, these concepts will achieve their modern meanings, and that the voices which exploit them will be marginalized.
    And what about politicians?
    Until that day comes, what should they do?
    Those who trust themselves should ignore the risk of exploitation and continue putting these modern concepts forth to the citizens of the country.
    For after all, modern politics call for brave changes.




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