“Look, I’m After Googling This Whole Turkey Thing, Let Me Fill You In”


As part of the WWN Voices series, we give a voice to people we really shouldn’t. This week is the turn of Risteard Leonard, an unemployed sommelier who also curates one of Ireland top 1,000 Instagram accounts. Risteard speaks passionately about Turkey and the current situation there, with an insight very few people can gain even after a quick Google:

A lot of my Twitter followers rely on me for guidance on matters of international importance. That’s why I took it upon myself to sort of, basically become a Middle East expert in the last few days, specifically on Turkey.

Come for the cool photos of food on my Instagram, stay for my razor sharp dissection of what led to this coup.

And when putsch comes to shove, I have to admit, becoming an expert on the whole Turkey thing came quite natural to me. I got onto Wikipedia and got stuck the fuck into who Erdogan is, and then there was no stopping my Tweeting. I was all ‘he’s bad’, ‘himself and Assad don’t get on anymore’, ‘this might not end well for the members of the army trying to overthrow Erdogan, he’s going to fuck them up’.

And you know what, no one else could have foreseen that if the coup failed, there could be negative impacts on the people responsible for organising and launching it. It’s never OK to just sit out a live-tweeting opportunity, even when you know you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about. A quick Google will catch you up to speed and case in point: I was the only one with the mind to crack the fact if a coup fails, some lads are fucked. Like none of the cool fashion bloggers, or coffee shop owners I follow on social media were ahead of the game the way I was last week.

My mind is like the perfect Instagram filter for capturing 21st century Middle Eastern politics.

And after probably an excessive amount of Googling, even for a diligent connoisseur of current affairs such as myself (we’re talking 6 solid minutes), I realised a lot of people share their opinions and shit, but they were in serious need of my ignorance free guidance.

To understand it all, it starts and ends with the Ottoman, man. So basically back in pre-internet times in 1920-something the Turks invented the Ottoman, a class bit of furniture that goes on the end of your bed or against a wall, it can be a cool coffee table/foot rest combo etc. I have a banging Ottoman from IKEA. So yeah, basically the Ottoman was so good, people from the West started buying them and copying them, and the Turks didn’t like this one bit, they loved the fact they were sovereign and could make their own epic furniture.

Fast forward to today and this anti-Western sentiment built up, and Bicep Erdogan is kind of using that to move Turkey more to the Islam side of things (just to clarify, I met a Muslim once, and he was sound). Sorry, I know this is deep stuff, but I think I’ve broken it down in such a way that is easy to follow. And don’t forget that surrounding countries have a big influence on things too, you can bet your savings on the fact that Iraq, Queueight, Syriah, Lebanomnom and Werder Bremen are all pulling some strings and are not blameless.

We in the west can’t keep buying affordable furniture based on a style that is basically sacred to Turkey people, and people from other Turkeyish countries.

Now, I bought my Ottoman back in ’09, when I was fully aware of this dense cultural quagmire. I flew over Tukey once on my way to Thailand, I think my expertise on the subject have long since been established. But can the same be said of you? I hope I’ve helped you appreciate that what is going on in Turkey affects us all, until it doesn’t because something else will come along and distract me after it goes viral.