If only the international media didn’t exist…

If only the international media didn’t exist…

It’s the same old story over and over again. If things are not going well in Turkey, then it must be outside forces who are behind this and who are also orchestrating an evil campaign against the country in the international media. 

This has been the standard line of the government and continues to be so.

There is no chance that what is happening in Turkey could in anyway be the fault of those who are tasked with administering the country. They are as infallible as the pope in Rome. We saw the same attitude surface again in remarks by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım who was quoted by the semi-official Anadolu Agency over the weekend.

Addressing union leaders in Istanbul on Oct. 15, Yıldırım accused the international media – meaning of course the Western media – of launching a “black propaganda campaign” against Turkey after the failed coup attempt on July 15. 

“Turkey is faced with a perpetual perception operation run by international media outlets,” Yıldırım was quoted saying. According to him, the object of this negative campaign is to give the impression that there is “no stability in Turkey,” “there is war in Turkey,” “there is no rule of law in Turkey,” or “people are dying every day in Turkey.”

Yıldırım bemoaned the fact that Turkey has to “deal with such a negative campaign” which, he argued, “it does not deserve.” Not surprisingly, it is the ubiquitous Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) behind this campaign, according to him.

“The source of this black propaganda is FETÖ, which organized the July 15 failed coup. It [FETÖ] is a global [terrorist] organization. It is a closed group and their relations are uncertain,” he said.

Naturally enough, the government believes the same wicked outside forces, guided by FETÖ, are also behind the negative ratings Turkey has received from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s and is likely to receive in a couple of months from Fitch. 

Yet one does not have to follow the international media to try and understand whether there is stability in Turkey after the failed coup attempt, whether there is a war or not in the country, and whether people are dying every day or not.

Reading the Turkish press and following Turkish commentators and analysts who appear on television every night is enough to get a clear idea of what is happening in this country. The talk is all about the war against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), FETÖ and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). 

Papers are splashed with reports about members of the security forces who have lost their lives – only this weekend three more policemen died while trying to storm an ISIL cell in Gaziantep – while televisions carry daily reports of Turkish soldiers who have been killed by the PKK or ISIL.

The last 12 months alone saw not just scores of civilians killed by PKK and ISIL suicide bombers, but also witnessed a coup attempt, something many believed could never happen in this country again, that left over 240 people dead. 

After this attempt was foiled we witnessed – and are continuing to witness – the rounding up of tens of thousands of people on suspicion of being FETÖ supporters. 

Many in Turkey, let alone the international media, argue that this has gone beyond being a security operation and has turned into a blatantly arbitrary campaign aimed at rounding up critics and opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

And yet the prime minister of the land can come out and suggest that if only there were no nasty international media, under the guidance of FETÖ, everyone would see how stable Turkey is – where no one is dying violently and the rule of law predominates – and how Turks are generally overjoyed with their wise leadership, which acts without discrimination, as it clasps everyone, regardless of their beliefs or ethnicity, to its bosom.

Did someone mention ostriches?