The Western media begin to smell something rotten

16 Aralık 2010


It is good to see (finally!) the Western media picking up on the problems with the Sledgehammer case.  Today’s reports by the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Southeast Europe Times, and Agence France Presse (AFP) all mention the anachronisms and other inconsistencies in the coup plot documents as raising doubts about the authenticity of the documents.

Nevertheless, occasional errors creep into this reporting.  The Financial Times’ Delphine Strauss writes:

Defendants say scenarios discussed at the seminar – allegedly including gambits such as bombing mosques to provoke a declaration of martial law – were simply war games.

Actually, no.  Bombing mosques and other “gambits” aimed at provoking a declaration of martial law were not discussed in the seminar. Not even the prosecutors claim there was such a discussion. They couldn’t because there is a full transcript of the deliberations during the seminar, and there is no mention anywhere of mosque bombings or anything else that could be deemed a crime under the Turkish criminal code.

Marc Champion of the WSJ strongly intimates, based on the indictment and comments of Gareth Jenkins, that Cetin Dogan was guilty of subordination because the specific scenario discussed in the March 2003 seminar was not authorized by the higher-ups. This is an urban legend spun by Turkish commentators who have read too much into some of the communications preceding the seminar.

Consider this.  There were 15 observers at the seminar representing the Commander of the Landed Forces and the Chief of the General Staff (nearly one for every ten participants), and none of their reports mentioned anything untoward taking place in the seminar. In fact, the observers’ reports were full of praise for the seminar.  Or this: the Chief of the General Staff was himself supposed to be present, but prevented from attending by urgent business in Ankara.  Would he have wanted to come to a seminar that was carried out against his orders?  And why was there no disciplinary action against Dogan if he violated orders?   

Disinformation has lasting power, apparently. 

Nevertheless, we are pleased with the new coverage.  Our complaints are mere quibbles when considered in the context of previous coverage, which typically swallowed the prosecutors’ line uncritically.

Abone Ol

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