Fake experts vs peacemakers
Turkey’s struggle against terrorism has been a generational matter. I was born before the 1980 coup d’état, and I know of no year in which we would not talk about terror attacks, bombs and assassinations. Maybe it was meant to be the destiny of our generation, but in the meantime, this eco-system created all sorts of monsters like fake “terror experts.” Here are some imaginary characters:
One of them may be an academic who has never written a scientific research paper about terrorism or terror groups, another may be a former/retired soldier who has never engaged in a real combat operation, one may be a former politician, while another may be an economist who might be clueless about the effects of terror in a particular area.
Real intelligence sources repeatedly claim that one cannot be an “expert” on terrorism or security politics.
These issues are as fluid as mercury, and real information can only be analyzed. There are everchanging dynamics and unlike governments, groups like the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) adapt to world realities in an instant. And unfortunately, all you hear on TV shows are limited to copy-paste articles and some stupid conspiracies.
This is the level of argument we are facing in Turkey these days. Unfortunately, media and international think tanks must share a great deal of the blame in this masquerade. There are young, bright academics who cannot make themselves heard in this musical chairs comedy. There are brilliant former soldiers who risked their lives fighting the PKK and understand the dynamics of the phenomenon who cannot make themselves visible in this stupid beauty contest. Andy Warhol’s prophecy is dooming us. Everyone is famous and no one is intelligent on television. News channels are becoming instruments to dumb people down. And yes, I do work in one of them.
But let us not lose hope because not everything is dark and fake in this age. Despite all the pressure coming from Ankara, the Academics for Peace struck their first victory in a courtroom last week. Kıvanç Ersoy, Meral Camcı, Muzaffer Kaya and Esra Mungan are free from prison to work for peace and reconciliation between Turks and Kurds. Just like them, the Women for Peace initiative put so much intelligence and effort into the peace discussion. They recently launched a campaign to collect pots and pans, buy refrigerators, send school supplies to places like Cizre and Sur. In May, they will be taking turns in İdil and Cizre to help donate food, listing families in need, etc.
A high-level source of mine from the intelligence community asked this: Isn’t it stupid that after 40 years of fighting, we still do not have a model, a solution or even a methodological discussion about terrorism?
Akdeniz University just recently turned down a thesis on “Women’s Role in Peace” claiming it was against a directive sent by the Prime Minister’s Office. Not surprisingly, as long as the universities refuse to do their job, i.e., create models and search for answers to terror, TV screens will be filled with “fake experts and impostors.”