[FSFE PR][EN] Open Letter to Prime Minister Erdogan: Invest your $5b in digital freedom

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Jun 20 14:54:49 CEST 2013

= Open Letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan: Invest your $5b in digital
freedom =

   [Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130620-01.en.html ]

In recent weeks, political events [1] in Istanbul have been the focus of
international media. Important discussions are taking place about
Turkey's government and her people. Several have lost their lives in the

Days before the protests in Taksim Square erupted, President Erdoğan was
in America. On behalf of an ambitious education investment project
called FATIH [2], he toured Silicon Valley as the guest of America's
largest technology companies, each of whom are hoping to land a contract
for more than 10 million new tablet computers.

As the safety and freedom on the street of Turkey's activists is hotly
debated in the press, the safety and freedom of her children to learn
has understandably received much less attention. Whether it is publicly
discussed or not however, $5 billion will soon be spent on education,
and it's impact on the rights of the next generation of Turkey's
students will be immense.

FSFE's Education Team [3] is dedicated to empowering students via Free
Software. If you think that humans deserve rights over the technology
they use, you can add your name to our list of supporters [4] .

== The letter ==

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,

Recently you visited America [5] to discuss the acquisition of 10.6
million tablets from leading technology companies for students, on
behalf of Turkey's project FATIH [2].

We urge you to take alternative products into consideration, and
consider the impact of the software those tablets use.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft, who hosted you, all tie their tablets to
software which would prevent Turkish children from studying and
customising it. The companies you spoke to enforce strict proprietary
licensing which would ensure that schools could only lease their ability
to use applications, not own them or rights to them.

Free Software [6], contrastingly, protects students' rights to use,
study, share, and improve it. In an educational context these rights can
make the difference between consumers and creators. Without these
freedoms, the 17 million students affected by your plan cannot
experiment or develop the understanding necessary to lead digital
economies in future.

Software support and maintenance is expensive, and proprietary software
exacerbates these costs by restricting who can provide you with
services. By using Free Software, Turkish schools would lose their
dependency on a single vendor, and competition for service contracts
could be more local, and more competitive.

Finally, for better security of both schools and students, Free Software
makes its code available, providing evidence of how it functions. This
week's revelations surrounding British Government spying on Turkish
politicians [7] at the G20 summit highlight the importance of software
security and privacy. Educational computers should not provide
back-doors [8] for foreign Governments and companies.

Apple [9], Google [10] and Microsoft [11] all embrace Free Software
themselves, and use it internally. Making the step towards Free Software
tablets is important however, and several global manufacturers and
distributors offer Free Software devices for sale. Will the freedom of
Turkey's citizens be considered in your forthcoming decision to purchase

Please send us your answer, and do not hesitate to contact us should you
have further questions about the contents of this letter.

Yours Sincerely,
Sam Tuke
The Free Software Foundation Europe e.V.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_protests_in_Turkey
  2. http://fatihproject.com/
  3. https://fsfe.org/activities/education/education.html
  4. https://fsfe.org/support/support.html
  6. https://fsfe.org/about/basics/freesoftware.html
 10. https://developers.google.com/open-source/
 11. http://msopentech.com/

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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