Two YouTubers 'social experiment' video on Diyarbakır children draws criticism

Two Turkish YouTubers have carried out a so-called "social experiment" in Kurdish-majority province Diyarbakır to film the reactions of children street vendors once they were asked to buy food for two complete strangers. Children who offered their help for the two men were given a tablet computer. Several people questioned why Diyarbakır was chosen particularly for this "social experiment," while the Diyarbakır Bar Association said that the video is a “product of a mentality which sees itself as superior to others.”

Duvar English

A video featuring children street vendors in Turkey's largest Kurdish-majority province Diyarbakır has drawn widespread criticism in Turkey. The Diyarbakır Bar Association's Children Rights Center said in a statement that the video is “violating the children's rights” and urged people not to further circulate it on social media.

YouTubers Burak Tutal and Mert Karakaş went to Diyarbakır to create a so-called “social experiment.” They pretended to have no money and asked children street vendors in the province to “buy them food.” The video, filmed secretly, shows the children offering their help for Tutal and Karakaş, as a result of which they were awarded a tablet computer.

The Diyarbakır Bar Association said in its statement released on Twitter that the “social experiment” video is a “product of a mentality which sees itself as superior to others.” People who have such mentality “see themselves as civilized, whereas those who are not one of them as even devoid of basic human qualities,” the statement read.

The statement also said that the video violates the children's right of privacy as it requires the consent of the parents as well as the children themselves before it can circulate on social media.

Several Turkish social media users have similarly slammed the video, questioning why such a video was recorded particularly in Diyarbakır. Servet Kocakaya, a Turkish singer of Kurdish origin, said that philanthropy is a basic human quality which is seen everywhere in the world.

“If a man is by himself and hungry (unless he is a beggar), people lend a hand to him in most of the places in the world. Courage is needed to choose right topics at right places,” Kocakaya wrote on Twitter.

Turkish pianist İklim Tamkan said that her disturbance with the video increased after she saw the tablet computers given to the children who bought food for the two YouTubers.

Ezgin Koman, one of the founders of Gündem Children's Foundation, similarly found the relevant video very problematic with regards to the children's rights and asked what the two YouTubers were really trying to aim with this “social experiment.”

Journalist Gökçer Tahincioğlu also slammed the video, saying: “Another experiment has been conducted on Kurdish child workers, who are viewed as potential terrorists and whose rights are not even mentioned when they are killed.”