The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Turkey time

No, not Thanksgiving; the time of day right now in Turkey. Even though I follow time zones pretty carefully, I really can't tell you what time it is right now in Ankara, and it seems no one else can, either:

Following a decree originating from the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s government has officially delayed the start of daylight saving by two weeks. Like the rest of Europe, the country was supposed to turn back its clocks in the early hours of Sunday, October 25. Elections coming up on November 1 prompted the move, as the government reckoned that more evening light might ensure a better turnout.

But even in a country with a tradition of occasionally delaying daylight saving a day or so, the two-week delay has come across as more than a little Pharaonic in its ambition. There’s another problem: no one seems to have informed the country’s automatically adjusting clocks. This means almost every cellphone and computer jumped out of sync on Sunday morning, causing minor chaos as Turks struggled to work out whether their clocks had changed automatically or not. On Twitter the hashtag #saatkac—“What’s the time?”—trended as people reveled in Erdoğan’s King Canute moment.

The IANA Time Zone Database pushed out a change on October 1st. While some sites, including this blog and Weather Now, updated our copies of the database immediately, apparently not everyone else has. Typically it takes a few weeks to get changes pushed to millions of cell phones.

This is a minor, but telling, example of how authoritarian governments encourage incompetence. If Donald Trump gets elected president, expect this sort of thing to happen here.

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