Turkey: Propaganda has Defeated Journalism
A few days ago there was an unsuccessful military coup in Turkey. The coup attempted to overthrow the Erdogan government and install a military dictatorship. Amidst all the hysteria and chaos, Turks took to streets to protect their democratically elected government. As a result, the coup failed, and President Erdogan is still in power. However, even though the military coup in Turkey failed, it left several questions unanswered.
Turkey did not go the way of Egypt, and in the process, the Turks taught us all a very important lesson. The military coup did not fail of its own accord — it failed because the people rose up against it.
Thousands of Turkish people came out on the streets, stirred further by the Islamic call to prayer, and challenged the coup. The police did not succumb to the highly-trained military personnel. There were several casualties, and following the coup, there have been numerous arrests. The conspiracy theories aren’t dead either, with some even propagating the ridiculous claim that Erdogan himself organized the coup.
Yet, in the midst of it all, the role of Western media was dismal. In fact, there was hardly any journalism to be seen at all! It was all propaganda.
International Media and the Turkey Coup Reports
Let us begin with everyone’s favorite, Fox News. The “strategic analyst” was happy to exclaim that if the coup succeeds, “we win.”
In fact, Lt Col Ralph Peters went a step further, writing on the Fox News website: “That tragically failed coup was a forlorn hope, not an attempt to take over a country. Turkey is not a banana republic in which the military grasps the reins for its own profit. For almost a century, the Turkish armed forces have been the guardians of the country’s secular constitution.”
Not wanting to be outdone, Sputnik projected images of Turkish people protesting against the coup as if “celebrating” it. The New York Times, seized the moment and expressed its dislike for President Erdogan by reminding everyone of his “controversial rule.”
The Telegraph defined the army as “the guardian of Turkey’s secular constitution” — mind you, guardians of the constitution that were trying to topple a constitutionally legitimate government!
But it was painful to see The Daily Beast, a publication that I actually follow, falling prey to propaganda. According to The Daily Beast, President Erdogan was denied asylum in Germany (even though he never sought it in the first place). Again, facts? Nope.
The above, obviously, are just some instances wherein Western Media failed miserably at journalism, and excelled at propaganda. By and large, the Western media outlets failed to realize that it was not just the police that arrested the rebellious soldiers, but even the people who, in spite of the firing, came out in large numbers and challenged the coup. They further failed to notice the ground reality; the mood on the streets was different. Anyone who even casually browsed through alternative media sources or even social networks knew that the mood was in favor of Erdogan.
You cannot really blame the media channels and publications. Many international powers were eager to see the military coup succeed. They wanted Erdogan out of power. They badly hoped the AKP would fall out of favor. Blinded by their bias, it was only natural that they projected rumors and propaganda as “news.”
What did we expect? Much like Egypt, in Turkey as well, a good number of folks wanted a legitimate government out of power, and a military regime in place. Folks who talk the most about democracy refuse to support democratically elected governments in Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and everywhere else if the said governments do not act as their stooges. It is never about rights; it is not about values. It is only a matter of interests.
What’s Next for Turkey?
As for the government of President Erdogan, there indeed have been some issues. However, times have not been easy for Turkey. One cannot forget the fact that Turkey has absorbed a large number of refugees. Plus, it has had its share of friction with Russia and other states, and Erdogan has handled these issues well.
Furthermore, Turkish people have been wrongfully vilified in Europe; supporters of Brexit have been scaring others by claiming that two million Turks are on their way to the UK.
As such, it was not shocking to see the Turks rally in support of their leader and his government.
Over the course of the next few days, further events will unfold. There have been reports (again, in Western media outlets) that some of the rebel soldiers were not even aware that they were part of a military coup. While the authenticity of such reports is yet to be verified, it’s also true that, unlike Sisi’s soldiers in Egypt, the renegade soldiers in Turkey did not open fire on the general public en masse. There were many casualties, but for the most part, the rebellious soldiers exercised a good deal of restraint. The story would have been different if it were the treacherous army of Bashar al-Assad in Syria — millions would have perished in that case.
For now, it is obvious that several international media outlets do not seek stability in the world, but only operate as per the requirements of their political cravings. And finally, when it comes to foiling military coups, the people of Turkey who fearlessly acted in the best interests of their country, have schooled the world.