Why cannot The Washington Post be objective? An article targeting upon the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of The Republic of Turkey titled “Erdogan is transforming Turkey into a totalitarian prison” bearing the signature of “Editorial Board” has been published in the Washington Post on 11th March 2018. The article contradicts with realities as well as it contains a large number of contradictions within itself. Apart from this, it has conflictive aspects ruling out both the country which the article has been published and many contemporary country implementations of the world called as “democratic”. IN TURKEY under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the tweet has been turned into a crime, and a troubled democracy is being turned into a dictatorship. Gradually but inexorably, a nation that once aspired to be an exemplar of enlightened moderation is being transformed by Mr. Erdogan into a dreary totalitarian prison. In the latest setback, last week, 23 journalists were sentenced to prison for between two and seven years on patently ridiculous charges that they were members of a terrorist organization and had tweeted about it. Two others were convicted on lesser charges of supporting a terrorist organization. I suppose WP has not seen that the social media tools are used as guns such as twitter. It ignores deliberately that especially in armed Gezi riot in 2013, social media acted as a tool in directing Turkish Republic, overthrowing the state by putting the government in difficulty and the state got loss of billions of dollars. Although WP was not in Gezi incidents, it would have known who triggered the incident. Twitter shares are regarded as legal evidence in many countries in the world. Court decisions are made through these evidences. For instance, Stephen Fry was convicted to pay a penalty because of making a share on twitter. Since a simple joke causes a penalty, why explanations aiming at subverting the state, assassination inducements, devastation guidance and impulsions to be a cause loss of life, property and chastity of innocent civilians are not considered as a crime? Is it innocent to support terror organizations? Should this not be a crime if the addressee of the social media account like twitter is a president? Is this not a crime if the person who commits the crime is a journalist? Hundreds of examples can be found. Mr. Erdogan, the target of a failed coup attempt in July 2016, has embarked on a campaign of repression against perceived enemies in the press, government, academia and law enforcement, among other pillars of Turkish society. More than 60,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 forced from their jobs. Mr. Erdogan’s prime targets are the perceived followers of the opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania. Mr. Erdogan claims Mr. Gulen — once his ally in Turkish politics — had incited the coup attempt, hence the charge of a “terrorist organization.” Mr. Gulen denies it. How is a coup prepared? Is there any coup decided in the evening, implemented in the morning? Let’s learn from Igor Markov: First of all, be very clear on what you want to accomplish in the shot term and in the long term, and which rules you are going to follow. A classic coup d’état assumes a significant degree of civility, minimal bloodshed, and the preservation of the core political system, while replacing one or a handful of leaders and, perhaps, some institutions that appear to be broken (such as the judiciary). A coup also assumes being firmly in control of what’s going on. Breaking these conditions leads to a failed coup. Anyway, here are the key points Make sure that you are or can be, in principle, supported by a large fraction of the population and political elites. Establish a network of high-placed co-conspirators that would share the same goals and trust each other, while evading state security. Without such participants, this would not be a coup. Obtain covert control over elite military units and, ideally, police and state security (so that they are ready to follow your orders when necessary). If the military simply stays neutral, this is not a military coup. Get foreign support, or at least make sure you will not be attacked by the world powers. Getting explicit foreign support, especially weapons and large amounts of money, can be risky as this would put your motives in doubt and undermine your standing in the country. Identify your main political opponents and their support networks. Figure out how they can be neutralized. Obtain control over some mass media, ideally in advance, to ensure reasonable coverage of your actions. Prepare to counter aggressive propaganda. Don’t put much faith in your own aggressive propaganda – this often backfires. Identify your weak points and protect them. Family and friends. Personal security. Skeletons in your closet. If you lose support of the people (say, due to brutality of your action), your chances of staying in power are low. Other weak points may include your finances, foreign trade sanctions, aggression by neighboring countries, economic instability, etc. Manage perceptions. For example, if the country is falling apart and few people understand this, grabbing power at this point will leave the impression that you destroyed the country. Have a political program with a plan for power sharing and, ideally, a transition to democracy. Not only this would be the right thing to do, but otherwise you’d be putting yourself at too much risk. The execution of the coup must be carefully planned and usually consists of taking physical control of key locations and people, including residences and offices of key opponents, military/police barracks and HQs, transportation hubs (airports, train stations), mass media, power stations, and communication nodes. Overall, military coups are largely a thing of the past because it is more difficult to manipulate information and people today (the world is much more interconnected and people often self-organize). The few military coups that were successful in recent times (say, in Egypt) only look like military coups on the surface and have political, geopolitical, and religious dimensions. Does WP want to justify the actors who played a role in these coup processes? WP can find the articles of the independent local and foreign journalists on this link if it wants to have knowledge about who attempted to stage the coup and it has not found yet. Turkey once had a robust, independent press, but Mr. Erdogan has waged a multifront campaign: closing media outlets, forcing others into new ownership, and using friendly judges and prosecutors. In the latest cases, some reporters and editors were convicted for what they said on Twitter. A lawyer representing two journalists, Baris Topuk, said at an earlier hearing: “In our opinion, the name of the organization in which the defendants are accused of being members should be TTO: Tweetist Terrorist Organization. There are no weapons or bombs in the case, only news articles and tweets.” Ali Akkus, who was news editor of the now-defunct Zaman daily, had said on Twitter, “No dictator can silence the press.” The use of the word “dictator” was singled out by a prosecutor in the charges against him. Mr. Akkus received a sentence of seven years and six months in prison. What is wrong with imposing a necessary penalty on those who planned, performed the coup and took part in the stages of the coup? It is impossible to run away from coup crime by calling the president as a Dictator. Cuma Ulus, the editor of the daily Millet, got the same sentence and declared earlier during the proceedings: “I have been a journalist for 21 years. I stood against terrorism and violence, [and] defended expression of freedom during all my life.” In the indictment, prosecutors cited three tweets and 22 retweets, accusing him of stirring up frenzy against the government. Nobody can always protect their innocence as they do not commit a crime in every stage of their lives. It is the court’s duty to distinguish the crime and the accused. This type of WP’s publishing is of no use rather than making the works of courts difficult. The persons who are now in prison were sent to jail by jurisdiction and again kept in by them. They will be free according to the decision of justice. Separately, 17 current and former writers, cartoonists and executives from the Cumhuriyet newspaper are also on trial. Mr. Erdogan is reportedly planning an assault on Internet broadcasting and free expression online, as well. FETO Cult, who staged the coup, has been organized larger than as supposed. The attorneys of Cumhuriyet Newspaper did not even ask a question to the persons whose crimes became definite and clear that they bombed their own building. It should be explained by the newspaper. Even if it was the blast bomb, the pursuer of the lawsuit should be the newspaper. The show trials underscore how far Turkey has fallen from Western norms of democracy, human rights and rule of law. Mr. Erdogan is happily marching alongside Russia, China, Egypt, Cuba and others where legitimacy to rule rests on coercion and thought control. Mr. Erdogan’s dictatorship must be called out for what it is. Even if he covers his ears, the United States and other nations must protest, and loudly. 200 people were killed by the police in the USA which is shown as the country of the advanced democracy as yet in the 2nd month of the year. According to WP news, 987 civilians were slaughtered by the police. Hundreds of incidents occur including civilian death in the country of the advanced democracy, France every year. It is same with Germany, England, Italy, Spain and other champion countries of democracy. WP should take care of the crimes of its own country turning the world to a blood bath instead of cooperating with the members of FETO_Cult in order to justify the players of the coup who also include journalists.
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About the author
Mr. Mustafa Akman is a freelance journalist, Medical Doctor and Sociologist.