A recent speech delivered by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in which he said the Turkish language faces the threat of decline mainly due to its use in social media ironically was the same speech given by former Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım during a language event four years ago, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.
“Social media language has turned into a written communication language among our young people. Meaningless abbreviations, foreign words sprinkled in and ridiculous expressions have become ordinary,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 16, repeating Yıldırım’s statements from August 2017.
The president gave the speech during an event to mark 2021 as the year of Yunus Emre, the iconic 13th-century Turkish poet.
The speech about the deterioration of language among Turkey’s youth, copied by Erdoğan four years later, further said: “We have to stop this deterioration that changes our language into something other than Turkish and destroys communication between generations.”
A Twitter user named Seyyah was the one who initially realized that part of Erdoğan’s Tuesday speech was identical to Yıldırım’s and posted a split-screen video showing both of them reading the exact same sentences at the same time.
After the incident was revealed on social media, the words “Binali” and “metin” (text) became top trending topics on Twitter, with many users blaming the mishap of the repeated speech on Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun.
“Communications Directorate, we have a problem,” academic Can Gürses said in a tweet.
“I couldn’t take my eyes off the video. [I want to say] get better soon, in advance,” tweeted journalist Banu Güven, addressing Altun.
Turkey’s Communications Directorate spent TL 440.2 million ($62.7 million) in 2020.