These papers actually deserved this attention and interest because they were objective, free of ideological prejudices and did not manipulate their readers with false reports. However, in recent years, the images of some international media outlets have been melting like a snowman. Take the International Herald Tribune (IHT) which recently published a false report on Fethullah Gülen. This was such biased and subjective coverage. It is not misinterpretation; it included factual errors. It was a disaster and a disgrace for journalism.
It is either that those who drafted the report were misled by false information, or that the top management of the paper ignored the fundamental principles of journalism out of Islamophobia. Frankly, such a false report does not befit the IHT's brand.
What is the logic in strongly accusing Fethullah Gülen without a scrap of evidence? They noted in the report that it is almost impossible to prove the allegations; however, they also published these allegations as if they were true. Some marginal papers have been doing the same in Turkey. They are producing militant journalism, despite the fact they are aware that Gülen had been prosecuted in connection with those charges for eight years, that he had been acquitted and that the Supreme Court of Appeals had endorsed this decision of acquittal. This attitude befits militant journalism. But how about the International Herald Tribune? How come this paper published this false report, despite this entailing the newspaper ignoring the basic criteria of journalism? Who is to blame for this? Is this attributable to Dan Bilefsky and Şebnem Arus, who drafted the report, or to careless editors?
In fact, this is the first time the foreign media has made such a grave mistake. The Western media has been publishing visibly false reports over the last decade out of prejudice. The representatives of the foreign media in Turkey draft biased and false reports on the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül. For this reason, those who follow the foreign media are unable to read the sociological dynamics in Turkey, because what is reflected in this type of reporting is the twisted perception of a small, privileged segment of Turkey. But in the meantime, the image of prestigious media institutions and figures is being undermined, because they are becoming marginalized in Turkey. It is now time for these big media outlets to take a look in the mirror and criticize themselves in reference to the principles of the profession of journalism. Their image is being undermined; this is the reality, even though their representative does not communicate it. I am just telling the truth.
Do not dilute
The Feb. 28 postmodern coup is being prosecuted by the judiciary.
This is a joyous development for the army, given that it is an opportunity to deal with illegal activities, the removal of military tutelage over politics, the detachment of the media from pro-coup figures and the consolidation of popular trust in the parliament. There are so many advantages involved.
However, some still want to sabotage this important development by focusing on extremely irrelevant and insignificant details. In an attempt to curtail the concrete integrity of the bigger picture, they are trying to dilute and undermine the whole process and case by dividing the subject matter into smaller pieces.
It is not possible to justify the coup investigation for some. When the Balyoz investigation was initiated, they undermined it, arguing that this was just an attempt to stage a coup. They argued that the government was unable to prosecute the Sept. 12 coup; however, when the coup-makers were summoned to investigate the Sept. 12 coup, they would say: “Are you going to prosecute old and senile generals, given that it has been three decades since the coup?”
And when those who staged the postmodern coup were being prosecuted, the same circles relied on other propaganda tactics. They presented the leading victims of the Feb. 28 as if they had been collaborators in the coup. Is presenting President Abdullah Gül as a contributor to the Feb. 28 process anything but an attempt at dilution and distraction? Likewise, it is the outcome of a twisted political approach to accuse Fethullah Gülen, who had been prosecuted for eight years in the aftermath of Feb. 28 and acquitted of many charges of cooperating with the coup-makers, just because he recommended caution and warned the government of the time.
Last week, Yalçın Akdoğan, chief advisor to the prime minister, has approached the issue from a broader perspective; in a historical statement, he properly interpreted the attitude of Gülen and other opinion leaders during that difficult period: “Presenting the individuals and institutions of conservative segments who suffered extensively during that period as collaborators is visibly and extremely unfair. If we can enjoy the outcomes of patience today, this is attributable to the responsible action and democratic struggle of the conservative community as a whole.”
The military was extremely influential; the then Justice Minister Şevket Kazan referred to a classical coup while speaking to Taraf daily. Those who saw a classical coup coming made efforts to prevent it. Without these preventive moves, a bloody coup would have been staged by military servicemen relying on a Baath model. And the resignation of the government was another measure. Those who do not believe this should hear former Ministry of Education Hasan Celal Güzel describing why he was placed under arrest during that period. And Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu was also aware of the bloody plan.
Apparently, we will witness serious and concrete realities as the Feb. 28 investigation is deepened further. We have been unable to get rid of the coup threat just because we failed to confront and settle accounts with the coups. Sadly, there are some “intellectuals” who prefer and promote coups in this country. I wish the only explanation would be affinity. There are also some others who have been observing their interests and economic gains by extending support for the coups. This is one of the primary reasons for the current stalemate in this matter. It is always likely that people who are not expected to act in support of a coup would promote a coup, even though they seem against it.
There were some illegal actions committed during Feb 28; nobody can deny this. These include running tanks on the streets, removing politicians from the political stage by reliance on coercive measures, blacklisting people, defaming people with fabricated voice recordings, firing people without asking for proper evidence and staging psychological warfare by placing pressure upon the media.
Acting as if nothing had happened despite the fact there is strong evidence supporting the idea that grave crimes had been committed, and relying on tactics employed to dilute the whole case in order to present the real victims as collaborators of the coup-makers will not work. Every coup is a crime; it is a crime against humanity. Those who have been involved in this crime should be held accountable. History will settle accounts with the perpetrators anyway.