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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Civil Disobedience on a Turkish Game Show

Video from Monday’s broadcast of the Turkish quiz show “Kelime Oyunu,” or “The Word Game,”which took the protests as its theme.

While most of Turkey’s journalists were carefully avoiding mention of the tens of thousands of protesters who poured into the streets this week, out of a deference to the government that enraged supporters of the demonstrations, the host of one Turkish game show found a way to raise the issue not once but 70 times during a broadcast on Monday night.

As dozens of flabbergasted viewers reported on Twitter, Ali Ihsan Varol, the star of the Bloomberg TV quiz show “Kelime Oyunu,” or “The Word Game,” crafted the questions so that answer after answer â€" words like “Taksim,” “Gasmask,” “Twitter” and “Dictator” â€" were thinly veiled references to the government’s failed crackdown on dissent and the way that the media blackout was undermined by social networking.

Writing about the game-show host’s act of puckish civil disobedience on her blog on Wednesday, the Turkish sociologist Zeynep Tufekci translated all 70 leading questions and pointed answers. The final two were:

To voluntarily give up a position: Resign

The act that makes a person bigger by asking to be forgiven for wrong actions: Apologize

The evening after his sudden turn into political satire, Mr. Varol said that he was asked not to do a live broadcast and a prerecorded episode of the show would be broadcast.