International Media on the side of Democracy or Not?
The night of July 15th 2016 gives us a glorious page in the history book of civil victories. It was the night when the largest and most successful civil movement of modern times took place. On the night of the coup attempt, Turkish people stood up in defiance and defended their democracy. Undeterred by jets firing upon them, helicopters raining bullets, tanks plowing into crowds, soldiers executing people on the spot and the sniper attacks, they stood defiant and didn’t give up. And ever since that night, the Turkish people have continued with the same resilience and have been standing guard in the squares of Turkey. Five million people, from all walks of life and regardless of their differences in their political views, faiths or ideas, have continued to display this exemplary attitude.
Turkish people, in their admirable stand, are expecting the support of their foreign friends. They wish to see democracy advocates, anti-coup figures, human rights advocates, peace advocates, and doctors/attorneys without borders from all around the world, by their side. They wish to see and hear their supporting messages, their helping hands. They wish to see that their international friends side not with the might, but the right.
Regrettably, since the first moment of the coup attempt, the world has been swarmed with ill-disposed comments and disinformation. It is remarkable how some posted the confidential destination point of the Turkish President’s jet on foreign TV channels and social media accounts, when it should have been strictly kept a secret, how some said that the coup was their last hope, attempted to belittle the resistance of our people or offered clear support to the coup. The Turkish media on the other hand, without exception, has condemned this dark coup, standing unconditionally by the state and people. Yet, apparently certain international media groups took it upon themselves to launch a smear campaign. Now, let’s briefly take a look at how those Western media groups displayed this double standard:
As soon as the coup attempt started, some foreign news outlets began to spread the false news that the coup had succeeded. One famous British news outlet introduced the coup as an uprising and mendaciously portrayed it as an incident where two groups in the society were clashing, just like they had in Egypt. Even when it became clear that the coup had failed, that certain outlet continued to claim otherwise.
As the news of the coup attempt began to spread, certain British, German and US news outlets began to produce disinformation through their Twitter accounts. According to these outlets, President Erdogan was supposedly seeking asylum in Europe. Some journalists took this imaginary scenario so far that they even claimed that Germany turned down this request. One US TV channel claimed that their source was a senior Pentagon officer. Another British newspaper claimed that Erdogan was trying to flee the country on a private jet. Other mainstream media outlets were spreading false news that the Turkish President had already arrived in Germany. One French channel covered a few coup supporters’ tweets as news in an attempt to create an image that the Turkish people were supporting the coup. All of these news bytes were intended to shift the psychological balance in favor of the coup plotters. At the same time, another mainstream news outlet caused a scandal by claiming that if the coup failed, the Islamists would win and the West would lose.
When it became certain that the coup plotters failed, those media outlets came up with new headlines. Almost all Western media outlets started uttering in unison the same false claim that President Erdogan was behind this failed attempt. While almost all TV channels in Turkey were showing civilians being martyred by coup plotter soldiers, those news outlets preferred to cover the news with a picture where a soldier was seen being manhandled by three people. That picture had been taken on the Bosphorus Bridge where more than 40 civilians had been martyred by the coup plotters. For some reason, those media outlets didn’t mention one word about the unarmed people who were brutally massacred there.
Within the next 24 hours, it became clear that the coup was not a “fake coup” at all and was indeed one of the bloodiest nights in recent years. Once again, those media outlets preferred not to mention the millions of people that defied the bloody coup. The TV commentators almost never talked about those who sacrificed their lives to save democracy.
The Western world should abandon its policy of trying to show Turkey as being in a downward spiral; it should stop supporting the horrible coup mentality and instead support Turkey in its efforts to enlighten the world about this whole incident. An unstable Turkey would not be in their best interests, either. In any case, this is not Turkey’s destiny.
The Turkish administration believes that a group who managed to infiltrate various government agencies is behind this coup. Those who have been removed from their duties after the attempt are not dissidents but alleged associates of the mafia-like group behind the coup attempt. Every journalist that has even a little knowledge about Turkey is well aware of this fact. One British newspaper portrayed the coup plotters as “a group of unhappy soldiers.” The truth is, the motivation for the coup attempt was not “unhappiness”, but organizational goals. They attempted the coup on the instruction of an organization that has tens of thousands of supporters, who managed to obtain key positions in the administration as part of a 40-year old plan that they hoped would end in a coup.
As Turkish nation, we expect joyful celebrations in the West. We want them to be happy to see that democracy has won. It should be remembered that the two sides that battled on the streets on the night of July 15th were innocent people seeking to protect their democracy and country, and an armed organization seeking to take over law and order using weapons and intimidation. If the Western world chooses to side with repression instead of democracy, the harm they will inflict on democracy will eventually backfire. We hope that they will realize this before it’s too late.