Let me explain it to you, foreign press
For days I have been reading and reviewing the international press. Can any incident be so vastly misinterpreted? Can it ever be written and explained in such a jumbled way?
I want to call all the newspapers one by one and say, “Hey, my name is Gülse Birsel. I’m a celebrity in Turkey and I’m fluent in English. Put me through to you editor immediately, I have a few things to say.”
Guys, haven’t you ever met a Turkish person? Don’t you have a correspondent here? Go to any city in Turkey, close your eyes and randomly pick any citizen. Ask them what happened that night. Ask them what would have happened if there was a successful coup. Listen to their answer.
Still, it’s fair to say that even if the most objective and bright Western journalist, equipped with all good intentions, tries to report the incident and asks any of us what exactly happened, it is a far from easily grasped situation.
Let’s say a foreign correspondent approaches you and you try to explain the situation:
“Listen, this coup was planned by a secretive religious sect. The declaration they read out on TV contained references to Atatürk to try to lure out secularists. But nobody bought it. The secularists never bought it. As a matter of fact, the secularists have never bought what the Gülenists were selling. They always had zero trust in them. It was the government that bought it. Government officials have already confessed that they were deceived. These guys were close friends with the government but they became enemies later on. They were not enemies when they once conspired together to jail so many patriots. The animosity started later...”
“Look, these guys, long before this coup attempt, jailed dozens of staunch democrats. They falsely claimed that these people were planning to stage a coup and in that way they filled their empty bureaucratic and military positions. They did all that after they fooled and deceived the government. Got it? Later, they themselves staged the dirtiest coup ever. If you ask why they weren’t caught, this secret organization not only infiltrated the army but it had also planted itself everywhere in the state. For instance, the imam of the underwater commandoes was also a member of the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency. Yes, the banking authority. Don’t ask me why, it looks as if nothing makes sense, but actually it is all related.
“No, I’m not paranoid, I’m a normal person. Listen, they are such… No, in fact they don’t resemble anything in world history. They laid low and communicated with nicknames. The sheikhs of the cult handed out to them dollar bills carrying the letter “F” as a secret sign. Hey, don’t stare at me like I’m stupid!
“Well, whatever, they went crazy and tried to stage a coup. But then people took to the streets in their T-shirts and slippers to resist. That’s what we’re like, you wouldn’t be able to understand. Then they shot people with machine guns. The F-16 jets attacked cities and bombed the parliament. Yes indeed, that is what happened. I witnessed it. I saw it with my own eyes.
“Then what happened? Well, now, we are united together as a country. Yes we were being bombed yesterday, but today we are full of hope for the future because that is what we’re like as people.
“What? You didn’t get it? Well, let me try to explain once more.”
That’s what I’d say to the foreign journalist trying to understand what happened. It may sound as fanciful as the script of “The Lord of the Rings,” but every word is true.
To be fair, it is not possible for anyone, let alone ourselves, to understand us. Especially nowadays…
Leave aside those foreign journalists with bad intentions; for those with good intentions a certain amount of time has to pass for them to understand what went on.
Even we are only just disentangling it…