Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Today’s Zaman, and disinformation at work

Orhan Kemal Cengiz, who spoke at a panel at Harvard yesterday, has falsely accused Dani of dissuading people from attending the event and despite repeated attempts by Dani to set the record straight (over Twitter) has failed to retract the statement.  His false charge was picked up, predictably, by Today’s Zaman, which then produced a story with the headline “Rodrik dissuades people from attending rights advocate’s address.”

Unlike what Cengiz and the article say, Dani did nothing to dissuade people from attending.  He did not send any messages to discourage people from attending the presentation.  He did send an e-mail to the director of the program that invited Cengiz, but only to suggest that there are different viewpoints on the topics to be covered by Cengiz and that in the future she may want to consider inviting also speakers with those alternative viewpoints.

Also, unlike what Cengiz claims, Dani did not send an e-mail to “potential participants” in the seminar.  The only message he sent (the one mentioned above) was the one addressed to the director of the program, with a copy to the academic chair of the program.  There were only two recipients of this e-mail.

Nor did Dani speak to anyone about the panel with the purpose of dissuading them from attending it.  So Cengiz and Today’s Zaman are flatly wrong about their claims.

To put this matter to rest, we produce below the e-mail in question in its entirety:

To: Elaine Papoulias

Cc: Brian Mandell

Subject: visitors

Hi Elaine

I would welcome a conversation at some point about how the Kokkalis program selects its invitees from Turkey.  This is the second Zaman columnist the program has featured in the last two months.  This is a newspaper that may have the appearance of championing democratic values but operates, in reality, as a vast disinformation machine.  I know this from first-hand experience, but anyone who is willing to do a bit of research can figure it out on his/her own.

Turkey is going through a wrenching period, with truth often the casualty in the ongoing battle between the AKP and the Gulenists on the one side and the secular old guard on the other.  Unfortunately, the “democratic liberals” who are allied with the first camp are showing an equal disregard for facts, evidence, and the rule of law as the authoritarian forces from the past that they take on.  Etyen Mahcupyan and Orhan Kemal Cengiz are among those who are complicit in this process.

My fear is that the Harvard community is being exposed to a rather one-sided and ill-informed view of what is really taking place on the ground.  In the interest of balance, if you want ideas for names of those who can present a fuller picture, I am happy to pass them on to you.

Best,

Dani

Harvard is an institution of research and higher learning.  We are and should be open to all viewpoints and sides of a debate.  Even though we disagree with Cengiz (and a previous invitee Etyen Mahcupyan), it would be against our principles to deny them a forum at Harvard or to discourage people from being exposed to their ideas.

However, it is also important that the Harvard community be exposed to differing viewpoints, when these exist.  Dani’s letter, as its text makes clear, was meant to ensure that students and faculty at Harvard do indeed get that opportunity.

And by the way, it is interesting how this episode nicely confirms the point in Dani’s e-mail message about Zaman’s disinformation efforts.

UPDATE: Orhan Kemal Cengiz has sent a Twitter message where he says he has asked Today’s Zaman to remove the article mentioned above following a request from the Harvard organizers of the panel.

UPDATE2: Because the original Today’s Zaman article has been removed from the paper’s web site (removed, mind you, not corrected!), we reprint the text as it originally appeared below:

Rodrik dissuades people from attending rights advocate’s address

06 May 2011, Friday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

Dani Rodrik, a professor at Harvard University, tried to dissuade people from attending a presentation by Orhan Kemal Cengiz, chairman of the Human Rights Agenda Association and jurist-writer, on minorities and Turkish democracy at his university, Today’s Zaman has learned.

Rodrik is the son-in-law of retired Gen. Çetin Doğan, the former head of the Turkish 1st Army. Doğan stands as the prime suspect in the ongoing trial into Sledgehammer, a suspected coup plan drafted in 2003 that allegedly sought to undermine the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to lay the groundwork for a military takeover.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Cengiz said he was invited to make a presentation on minorities and the future of Turkish democracy at Harvard University. The presentation was slated for May 5. “Before my presentation, Rodrik sent an e-mail to potential participants in which he discouraged them from attending the presentation, saying that I am a columnist for the Zaman newspaper, and therefore I cannot be impartial in my statements. In other words, he asked participants not to attend my presentation. He tried to discredit me in the eyes of my audience,” the writer stated.

Rodrik is known for his efforts to discredit the Sledgehammer investigation and deny a direct link between his father-in-law and the coup plan.

Cengiz was asked if Rodrik’s message impacted people’s attention to the presentation. He initially said, “I do not think so,” but then added: “Maybe it did. He showed me to people as if I were a side in an ongoing political debate. He tried to impact people’s perception about me and my presentation. I was greatly surprised. His e-mail was really manipulative.”

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113 Yorum “Orhan Kemal Cengiz, Today’s Zaman, and disinformation at work”

  1. Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

    However, it is also important that the Harvard community be exposed to differing viewpoints, when these exist. Dani’s letter, as its text makes clear, was meant to ensure that students and faculty at Harvard do indeed get that opportunity.

    Oh yes, this is a laudable goal. Next time Harvard should invite a regular columnist from the Weekly World News. That’s a differing viewpoint too, is it not? How about the managing editor of the International Journal of Meretricious Mendacity after that? Seeing how highbrow that is, it should be followed by someone from the Daily Lyin’ Ho — so that it is balanced. Next, someone affiliated with The Amateur Plagiarist can help broaden people’s horizons in a different direction.

    Attempts at clowning around aside, what I mean to say is that there’s an immense problem having to do with intellectual integrity in what we’re observing. Calling it ‘differing viewpoints’ implies a kind of moral equivalence where none really exists. Just being literate and comparing pieces of text with other pieces of text about those first pieces of text is enough to incontrovertibly conclude who’s systematically spreading disinformation. I find this amazing since I have no doubt that some — if not many — of the players are convinced that they are being honest. How is this possible? Which academic discipline has the tools that would help in understanding this phenomenon? This must be a goldmine for whoever those people are. It reminds me of geologists who get skewered for getting visibly excited when huge earthquakes happen.

    Cevapla

    • acracia Says:

      I agree. In fact, even the reaction and the disinformation that seems to have followed this visit show us the level of morality here.

      Cevapla

  2. fmerakli Says:

    I must say that I find Mr. Rodrik’s fear quite unfounded – the fear that “the Harvard community is being exposed to a rather one-sided and ill-informed view of what is really taking place on the ground”

    One can ask whether the Kokkalis programme is the one and only platform available that “the Harvard community” can possibly use to get the sense of “what is really taking place on the ground” in Turkey.

    If Mr. Rodrik has such fears as an Harvard academic, the natural thing to do would be use the Kokkalis programme itself or the platforms other than the Kokkalis programme at Harvard to present the ‘other’ side of the story to the Harvard community. We know that Mr. Rodrik has indeed done so already:

    ————
    Deepening Democracy or Undermining It? The Ergenekon and Sledgehammer Trials in Turkey
    Date: November 17, 2010 – 4:30pm – 6:00pm
    Speaker: Dani Rodrik

    The Seminar on Turkey in the Modern World is proud to present

    Deepening Democracy or Undermining It? The Ergenekon and Sledgehammer Trials in Turkey

    A lecture by Dani Rodrik, Rafiq Hariri Professor of International Political Economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
    Location: CGIS, Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge Street, Room K262
    Sponsor(s): WCFIA and CMES

    ————

    or

    ————
    “Building or Undermining the Rule of Law? Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, and the Future of Turkish Democracy”
    Tuesday, May 25, 2010
    10:00 – 11:30 am
    Carr Center Conference Room (Rubenstein Building, Floor 2, Room 219) Harvard Kennedy School of Government

    A presentation by
    Pinar Dogan Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard University
    and
    Dani Rodrik Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard University

    ————

    After a quick gogle search, I also found out that the Harvard community has been exposed to other viewpoints that that of Mr. Cengiz from alternative avenues – for example Soner Cagaptay has reached “the Harvard community” through the Middle East Strategy at Harvard by presenting his views with commentaries, one of which started with the argument that “Turkey’s experiment with Islamists-turned-democrats might be coming to a tragic end”. As a clear example of the representation of “other viewpoints” he stated that “Ergenekon has devolved into a witch hunt, reminiscent of the McCarthy hearings in the United States” (Free media will save Turkish Democracy by Kemal Cagaptay). What else does the Harvard community need to be exposed to “other viewpoints”?

    So it is unfounded to claim that “the Harvard Community” is exposed to “a rather one-sided and ill-informed view” given that in addition to Cagaptay, Mr. Rodrik himself has already given two public lectures at Harvard, and he always has a chance to give similar talks or he can organize similar events and invite people who would challenge the views presented by Mahvupyan and Cengiz to “the Harvard community”.

    So I think Mr Rodriks statement of “… it is also important that the Harvard community be exposed to differing viewpoints, when these exist.” does not reflect “what is really taking place on the ground” at Harvard. The examples that I gave above shows clearly that the Harvard community has already been exposed to the opposing viewpoints. So what’s the problem, if the Kokkalis programme is not the only avenue that can be utilized to disseminate information on the issue at stake to “the Harvard community”?

    Also it should be noted that Mahcupyan and Cengiz were not invited to Harvard as Zaman columnists. On the Kokkalis programme’s website, we see that Mahcupyan gave his talk as the Democratization Programme Advisor of Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) together with Dilek Kurban, the Director of the programme. So I assume they gave a talk about TESEV’s recent studies that can be seen from the below link:

    http://www.tesev.org.tr/default.asp?PG=YAY01EN&SER00_CODE=ARAMAFRM&SER01_CODE=01&SEARCH=GO&SPARAM1=01&SPARAM2=%&SPARAM3=&SPARAM4=UD_1&SPARAM5=DESC&SPARAM6=101

    This also applies to Orhan Kemal Cengiz who attended the Kokkalis programme as the president of Human Rights Agenda Association.

    I don’t, and cannot, know but perhaps Mr. Rodrik regards TESEV and Human Rights Agenda Association as “vast disinformation machine(s)” as well and this is why he was so concerned about “the Harvard community”.

    Anyway for those who do not know about Mr. Cengiz, I want to give his short biography below just to show that how unfair to see Mr Cengiz as a Zaman columnist and a Zaman columnist only!

    ——————————

    Mr. Cengiz, who received his law degree from the University of Ankara in Turkey in 1993, is president and founding member of the Human Rights Agenda Association; founding member and general secretary of the Civil Society Development Center; legal consultant for several projects and groups, and a private practice human rights lawyer. Fluent in Turkish and English, he is a columnist for the Turkish Daily News, an English-language newspaper [it might be a slightly outdated version of his bio as Zaman is not mentioned here].

    He has 13 years of experience founding new and innovative civil society organizations that address critical needs in human rights in Turkey. He has ten years of experience working in human rights organizations on an international scale, including legal consulting work for the London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project (1999-2002), and more recently lecturing to lawyers abroad on taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights, and organizing exchanges between Turkish non-government organizations and NGOs in other Council of Europe member states.

    His projects have a high success rate. One example is the Izmir Bar Association Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which prosecuted more than 1,000 cases of torture and involved more than 200 volunteer lawyers at its peak, before it was shut down by the Bar Association’s new Board of Directors in 2005.

    He has actively been involved in human rights issues by appearing at meetings and seminars in many other countries including Denmark, Bosnia, Armenia, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, and Albania. He is the author of many articles and has written several legal handbooks relating to human rights issues. In addition, he has translated several other works relating to human rights.

    Cevapla

    • acracia Says:

      And yet, he lied about the email.

      Cevapla

      • fmerakli Says:

        Maybe he did, or maybe he thought the email distributed to the potential participants.

        This is what he wrote on Twitter:

        @rodrikdani Az önce beni çağıran kuruluşla konuştum. Rodrikin mesajını yanlış anladığımı, benim çağırılmamı eleştiren mesajın sadece.. organizatörlere gönderildiğini kamuya böyle bir mesaj gönderilmediğini söylediler.. Anladığım kadarıyla Mahcupyan geldiğinde Dani bey kamuya açık bir deklarasyonda bulunurken, benim glişimle ilgili olarak.. organizatörleri eleştirmiş. Todays Zamandan haberi yayından kaldırmalarını rica ettim, beni çağıran organizatörlerin ricası üzerine… Dani bey gördüğünüz üzere organizatörlerin bana söylediklerini twitler aracılığıyla paylaştım.

        So he might have lied I don’t know, but even if he lied on Twitter, he did so after the conference. But Mr. Rodrik sent his email to the organizors of the event “before” the lecture. So the reality, or possibility, of Orkece being lied does not change my view that saying the Harvard community has been exposed to only one viewpoint on the issue at stake does not reflect the ‘truth’ either.

        Cevapla

        • Olasılıksız Says:

          Yani…

          Rotate the goose, don’t overcook it. 🙂

          Cevapla

          • fmerakli Says:

            Not exactly.

            My point is if Cengiz deliberately lied (and I am not denying this possibility), it just makes the number of liars two for me in this discussion between Cengiz and Rodrik.

            So the issue is not about rotating the goose, because what I am saying is that two wrongs don’t make a right in the case of Cengiz being deliberately lied about the email, which was sent before the event.

            Two wrongs don’t make a right, simply because saying that “the Harvard community” has been exposed to only one viewpoint is not the ‘truth’ as the examples that I gave above clearly illustrates. But if you say that Cengiz, Cagaptay and Rodrik have all presented the ‘same’ viewpoint to the “Harvard community”, I am happy to increase the number of liars to three.

            Cevapla

            • acracia Says:

              For the non-Turkish speakers: rotating the goose so that it doesn’t burn is a Turkish expression. It is more or less the same as “turn cat in pan.”

              Cevapla

              • Olasılıksız Says:

                OFF_TOPIC

                Bu terimi hiç duymamıştım. Teşekkür ederim. Oldukça ilginç bir deyimmiş. Aslında olayın “kedi” ile ilgisi yokmuş. 🙂 “Cate” sözcüğü “cake” veya omlet yerine kullanılan eski bir ifade imiş. Tavada bir yüzü pişirildikten sonra fırlatılarak diğer yüzünün pişirilmesi olayını anlatıyormuş. Yani “çevir keki yanmasın” gibi bir şey oluyor. 🙂

                Sayenizde öğrenmiş olduk. Şurada çok eski bir öyküsü var ilgilenenler için: http://www.pictures-of-cats.org/turn-the-cat-in-the-pan.html

                Cevapla

            • Olasılıksız Says:

              You may be right. But, the point is; Today’s Zaman put a one sided view in order to influence the readers where we learned that it is not the case.

              Speakers may have different oppinions and they may oppose each other on different views. Cengiz may say that Rodrik is wrong. But this is not the case. He accuses Rodrik on events that Rodrik was not responsible. And Today’s Zoman is the disinformation tool.

              Cevapla

              • fmerakli Says:

                Yes, Cengiz might have deliberately lied after the conference when accusing Rodrik “on events that Rodrik was not responsible”.

                But it doesn’t change the fact that Rodrik also lied in his email when he wrote that the Harvard community has been exposed only one viewpoint when Rodrik himself has given to public lectures presenting the other side of the story.

                So coming back to me earlier point, two wrongs make a right!

                Cevapla

                • fmerakli Says:

                  two corrections:

                  “Rodrik himself has given TWO public lectures”

                  and

                  “two wrongs DON’T make a right!”

                  Cevapla

            • trssby Says:

              fmerakli,

              “Ama eger Dani Rodrik, Cengiz’in ifadesi ile gerizekalilarin bile anlayacagi bir dille insanlara konferansa katilmamalari yonunde bir cagri yapti ise gercekten yuh diyorum baska da bir sey demiyorum. Eger olay Cengiz’in iddia ettigi sekilde gelisti ise sayin Rodrik’in gormesi gereken tek sey butun Ergenekon saniklarini aklamak icin giristigi caba degil, ayni zamanda bir bilimadami olarak onca yilda mesakkatle insa ettigi akademik cevrelerdeki sayginliga da zarar vermeye baslamis olmasi…”

              Amalar, iseler seni kurtarmaz.

              Yuh! bilimadamı …. kusmadığın herhangi bir nefretin kaldımı?

              Tartışmaların düzeyini çok düşürmektesin.

              Kuşku duymadan, sorgulamadan Orhan’ın söylediklerini peşinen doğru kabul edip senin Dani’e yöneltiğin soruları kendine yöneltebilirmisin?

              Acaba uluslararası hakemli dergilerde kaç tane bilimsel makalen yayınlamıştır.

              Daha da önemlisi Dani’den özür dileme erdemliliğini gösterecekmisin?

              Yoksa her zaman yaptığın gibi demagoji yaparak bize niniler mi söyleyeceksin?

              Cevapla

              • fmerakli Says:

                Oncelikle Rodrik’ten nefret ettigimi nereden cikardiniz anlamis degilim. Belki siz sadece nefret ettiginiz kisileri elestiriyorsunuzdur vebirisi bir baskasini elestirince de bunu nefret ettigi icin yaptigini dusunuyorsunuzdur, bilemem…

                Eger tartismanin duzeyi dusuruluyor ise bunda benden baska payi olanlarin da var oldugu son derece acik.

                Rodrik, Pinar Dogan, Cagaptay ve muhtemelen baskalari Harvard’ da kendi yaklasimlarini farkli platformlarda dile getirmislerken, Rodrik’in yukaridaki emailde “Harvard community”nin Turkiye’de olan bitenlerle ilgili hikayenin tek tarafini dinlemeye maruz kaldiklari yonundeki ithami da tartismanin duzeyini yukselten bir ifade olarak dusunulemez herhalde.

                Ayrica yine anlamsiz bir sekilde olayi benim akademisyen olmamla baglamaya calismissiniz. Rodrik’in uluslararasi hakemli dergilerde benden daha fazla yayini cikmistir, ama bu Rodrik’in yukaridaki yorumlarimda acik bir sekilde ortaya koydugum yalani soylemesine engel olmadi. Yani uluslararasi hakemli dergilerde yayinlanan makale sayisi bu tartisma baglaminda bir onem addetmiyor, eger belli sayinin uzerinde makalesi yayinlanmis akademisyenlerin yalan soyleme ozgurlugune de sahip olduklari seklinde bir inanc var ise pesinen o inanci paylasmadigimi ifade edeyim…

                Haydi Cgaptay ve digerlerini gectim, kendisi Harvard’da bugune degin iki kere goruslerini Harvard community’e aktarma imkani bulmusken, sanki bu olmamais

                Cevapla

                • fmerakli Says:

                  Yorum kesilmis…

                  Haydi Cgaptay ve digerlerini gectim, kendisi Harvard’da bugune degin iki kere goruslerini Harvard community’e aktarma imkani bulmusken, sanki bu olmamis gibi bir yaklasim icinde olmasini mazur gormek benim kabul yapabilecegim bir sey degil.

                  Cevapla

                • trssby Says:

                  fmerakli,

                  “Yuh”……

                  “ayni zamanda bir bilimadami olarak onca yilda mesakkatle”

                  “Ayrica yine anlamsiz bir sekilde olayi benim akademisyen olmamla baglamaya calismissiniz. ”

                  Yukardaki sözler benim değil senin yazdıkların.

                  Benim bildiğim, bir tartışma ortamında, eleştiri yuh ile yapılıyor ise bu açık bir nefretin ifadesidir. Tartışma ortammında şimdiye kadar kim kime yuh çekti. “Yuh” sözel küfür değilde acaba nedir?

                  Gerçekleşmemiş, esas Orhanın yalan konuştuğu açık olan bir olayda, Dani’nin davranışını tahkik etmeden peşin peşin bilim adamlığını eleştirmeniz, önyargı ve nefretin ifadesidir, ayrıca sizin bilim adamlığınızın kalitesi hakkında ipuçlarıda vermektedir. Daninin, bilim adamlılığını tartışmaya anlamsız bir şekilde bağlarsanız, haksız yere bilim dışı olamış bir olgu için bilim adamlığını eleştirirseniz sizin de bilim adamlığınızın kalitesi sorgulanır. Siz eğer böyle bir eleştiri getirmemiş olsa idiniz ben sizin bilim adamlığınızın kalitesini sorgulamazdım.

                  “sanki bu olmamis gibi bir yaklasim icinde olmasini mazur gormek benim kabul yapabilecegim bir sey deg”

                  Yalan söylemek ayrı şey, davranış başka şey. Yine elmalar ile armutları karıştıyorsun. Yalanı Dani değil ama açık bir şekilde Daniyi yalan söylemek ile suçlamak ne kadar adildir?

                  Sorumu yineliyorum, YUH çektiğiniz, bilim adamlığını bilim dışı eleştirdiğiniz için Daniden özür dileyecek misiniz?

                  Evet veya HAYIR.

                  Cevapla

                  • fmerakli Says:

                    O kadar bilgi ve mantik hatalriyla dolu bir yorum yazmissiniz ki insan cevap vermeye nereden baslayacagini kestiremiyor.

                    Neyse ben en son cumlenizden baslayayim. Tartisma Cengiz’in Rodrik’in konferans katilimcilarina gonderdigini iddia etti mail ile basladi ve eger konferans katilimcilarina gonderildigi ifade edilen bir maile yonelik yapilan elestirileri eger “bilim disi” olarak kabul ediyorsaniz, bu bilimden ne anladiginiz sorusunu akla getiriyor.

                    Ki ben o ilk mesajimda bile aynen su ifadeyi kullanmisim: “Eger olay Cengiz’in iddia ettigi sekilde gelisti ise…” ve elestirilerimi bu varsayim uzerine yapmisim.

                    Sonrasinda Rodrik konferans organizatorlerine yolladigi yukaridaki maili blogta yayinladi. Keza o maili ve maile getirilen elestirileri bilim disi olarak addediyorsaniz, size kolay gelsin. Bilimsel bilgi uretilmesine iliskin olmasa dahi uretilmis bilginin paylasimi baglaminda temel platformlardan biri olan konferanslardir ve bir konferansin organizatorune katilimcilar ile iliskin gerceklerle bagdasmayan ifadeler iceren bir mail yazmak bilim disi alanda gerceklesmis bir eylem degildir.

                    Bu anlamda Rodrik’ten ozur dilememi gerektiren bir durum oldugunu dusunmuyorum, ayrica kendisi de bu blogu takip ediyor eger boyle bir beklentisi var ise bunu kendi gerekceleri ile birlikte ortaya koyar, ben de ne desundugumu kendisine ifade ederim. Rodrik’in sizin avukatliginiza ihtiyaci oldugunu zannetmiyorum.

                    Bir de gonderilen mail konusunda sunu da ifade edeyim ki eger ben mektubun alicisi Elaine olsa idim ve Rodrik’in Harvard’da kendi goruslerini iki defa farkli platformlarda Harvard community’e aktarmis oldugunu biliyor olsa idim, Rodrik’e Harvard’da kendi verdigi konusmalari hatirlatir, Harvard’da konu ile ilgili tek bir gorusun ifade edilmesine imkan tanindigi seklindeki ithaminin gerceklerle bagdasmayan ve mesnetsiz bir itham oldugunu olabilecek en acik sekilde ifade ederdim.

                    SIz israrla Cengiz’in yalan soylemis olmasina dikkat cekiyorsunuz, bu zaten benim disladigim bir olasilik degil ki ilk yorumumda bile “eger Cengiz’in soyledikleri gercekse ifadesini” kullanmisim.

                    Cengiz ne soylediginden ve soylediginin dogru olup olmadigindan bagimsiz olarak ve Cengiz soylediklerini henuz soylemeis iken yazilmis bir mektup var ve bu mektupta Rodrik gercekler ile bagdasmayan ifadeler kullanmis. Bunlarin neler oldugunu yukarida ornekleri ile acikladim. Anlasildigi kadar siz evet ya da hayir seklinde cevaplar almaktan hoslaniyorsunuz, ben de size benzer bir soru sorayim.

                    Rodrik, Pinar Dogan, Cagaptay ve muhtemelen diger baska isimler kendi goruslerini Harvard catisi altinda defaatle ifade etmisler iken Rodrik’in emailinde Cengiz ve Mahcupyan’in konusmaci olarak davet edilmeleri ile ilgili olarak Harvard community sadece tek bir goruse maruz kaliyor derken yalan soylemis olmuyor mu?

                    Evet veya hayir…

                    Cevapla

                    • trssby Says:

                      Bilim içi ve bilim dışı, haydi canım sende, kargalar bile güler yaptığın açıklamaya. Yaptığın eleştirinin hangi bilimsel değeri var onu ortaya koyarmısın? Olsa olsa mahalle kavgasındaki ağız olabilir.

                      Baştan da söyledim ya, cümlelerin başına amalar, varsayımlar koymak sizi kurtarmaz. Gerçek veya değil, gerçek degil ya velev ki gerçek olsa, sizin mantığınıza göre cümlenin başına eğer ortasınada varsayımlarımı koyduktan sonra istediğimiz aşağılamaları yapmakta serbestiz. Öylemi? “Yuh” çekmek serbest, bilimsellikten başlayarak inanılır olmadığını ifade etmek serbest. Acaba sizden başka bu blogda kim kime “yuh” çekti, bilimsel inanırlığınızı aşağıladı? Yuh çektiğinizden dolayı özür dilemeniz gerektiğini düşünüyorum.

                      “Harvard community sadece tek bir goruse maruz kaliyor derken yalan soylemis olmuyor mu. ”

                      Oluyor mu? Niçin yalan söylemiş olduğunu açıklarmısın. Kendi adıma şunu söyleyebilirim. Eğer Harward community de karşı görüşlerin, benimkilerden daha fazla dile getiridiğini inanırsam, doğruda olabbilir yanlıştan ama benim görüşüm bu, ben de aynı şeyleri söylerim. Yalandan farklı şeyler anlamaktayız. Bu konuda, özellikle yalan söylüyor diye suçlarsanız kişilerin ifade hürriyetlerini kısıtlamış olursunuz. Amacınızın insanları söylemlerinden dolayı terrorize etmek, fikirlerini ifade etmelerini engellemek olduğunu görmekteyim.

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Nicin yalan soyledigini defaatle acikladim. Yalan soyluyor cunku Harvard’da community’e Mahcupyan ve Cengiz’in goruslerine karsit olan kendi goruslerini iki farkli etkinlikte aktardi sayin Rodrik.

                      Eger bugune degin Rodrik’in savundugu gorusler Harvard’da herhangi bir platformda dile getirilmemis olsa ve sadece AKP, Gulenciler ve onlarin liberal demokrat yardakcilarinin katildigi etkinlikler duzenlenmis olsa Rodrik dogruyu soyluyor olurdu.

                      Ama diger isimleri gectim kendisi iki farkli etkinlikte konusmaci olarak yer almis ve goruslerini Harvard community’e aktarmisken aksini ifade etmesi yalan soyledigi anlamina gelmektedir.

                      Daha acik anlatamazdim, eger yine anlamadi iseniz yapacak bir seyim yok…

                      Yalandan farkli seyler anladigimizi dusunmuyorum, farkli oldugumuz nokta sizin soylendigi acik olan bir yalani gormemek icin elli dereden su getirmeye calismaniz…

                      Kolay gelsin…

                    • trssby Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      “Bilimsel bilgi uretilmesine iliskin olmasa dahi uretilmis bilginin paylasimi baglaminda temel platformlardan biri olan konferanslardir ve bir konferansin organizatorune katilimcilar ile iliskin gerceklerle bagdasmayan ifadeler iceren bir mail yazmak bilim disi alanda gerceklesmis bir eylem degildir. ”

                      Çok orijinal bir çalışma oldu. Lütfen yazdıklarınızı hakemli bir dergiye yollayın, ve de hakemli dergide bilimsel makale olarak yayınlatın. Geyik muhabettinin bilimsel olduğunu böylelikle öğrenmiş olduk.

                      Gelelim yalanın tanımına. Aldatmak amacıyla bilerek ve gerçeğe aykırı olarak söylenen söze yalan denir.

                      Diğer bir deyişle Daniyi mektup yazdığı kişi Elaine’i, görüşlerini dile getirdiği için, aldatmak ile ve gerçeği çarpıtmış olmak ile suçlamaktasınız.

                      1) Dani Eleain’i aldatmış mıdır? Fikirlerini özgür bir şekilde ifade etmsk ne zamandan beri aldatmak anlamına gelmektedir.

                      2)Daninin Elain’e yazdıklarında hangi gerçek saptırılmıştır?.
                      Hiç bir gerçek tersyüz olmamıştır.

                      Hatırlatırım. Esas “yuh” çekmiş olduğundan dolayı daniye özür borçlusun.

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Sizin akliniza bilim deyince sadece akademik dergide makale yayinlamak geliyor herhalde…

                      Dani Elaine’i aldatmis midir, onu tam bilmiyorum. Eger Elaine, Dani’nin kendi goruslerini bugune degin iki farkli etkinlikte Harvard community’e aktardigindan haberdar degil idiyse sadece Cengiz ve Mahcupyan’in da savundugu tek bir gorusun Harvard’da ifade edilmekte oldugu seklindeki Dani’nin soyledigi yalana inanmis olabilir. Dani’nin bunu soylemesini ifade ozgurlugu icerisinde degerlendirmissiniz, farkli bir yaklasim ama yalan soylemek de ifade ozgurlugunun bir parcasi olarak degerlendirilebilir. Ama ozgurce yalan soyleyebiliyor olmak yalan soylemenin dogru bir sey oldugu anlamina gelmez, o ayri mesele.

                      Bir de Dani’nin Elaine’ne soylediklerinde hangi gercek saptirilmistir diye sormussunuz. Galiba bu size ucuncu veya dorduncu aciklamam olacak. Inanin bir daha da denemeyecegim ve yine anlamazsaniz bu kadar basit bir seyi algilayamayisinizi, daha once yaptigim gibi algilamamak istememenize degil algilayamadiginiza yoracagim.

                      Saptirilan gercek su: Dani yazdigi mektupta Harvard community’nin AKP, Gulenciler ve onlarin liberal demokrat yardakcilarinin goruslerine maruz kalmakta oldugu yonundeki korku/endisesini dile getirmis. Yukarida verdigim diger orneklerin yaninda kendisi daha once Harvard iki farkli etkinlikte kendi goruslerini ifade etmisken ve istedigi zaman bunu tekrar yapma imkani varken ve Kokkalis programinin Harvard community’e erismek icin kullanilabilecek tek platform olmadigi asikar iken Rodrik’in mektupta sanki kendi savundugu bakis acisi Harvard’da dile getirilmiyormus gibi ifadelerde bulunmasi gercegi saptirmaktan baska bir anlam tasimaz.

                      Eger bugune kadar Rodrik, Pinar Dogan, Soner Cagaptay ve fikirdaslar Harvard’da goruslerini hic dile getirememis olsalar ve sadece AKP, Gulenciler ve onlarin liberal demokrat yardakcilarina bu firsat taninmmis olsa idi Rodrik hakli olurdu, ama diger isimler gectim kendisi Harvard community’e iki farkli etkinlikte hitap etmisken mektubundaki o satirlari yazmasi gercegi kelimenin tam anlami ile tersyuz etmektir…

                      Tabii anlayana…

                    • trssby Says:

                      “Sizin akliniza bilim deyince sadece akademik dergide makale yayinlamak geliyor herhalde…”

                      Tastamam öyle. Uluslarası Akademik dergide makaleniz yayınladığında, uluslararası olarak savlarınız kabul edilmiş anlamına gelir, yoksa ozgün çalışma olarak kabul edilmez. Yayınlamış makalenize ne kadar çok referans verilirse bilimsel çalışmanız o kadar özgün ve değerli olur.

                      Farkındamısınız bilmiyorum, bir takım önermeler yapıyor, onların doğru olduğunu varsayıp onların üzerinden savlarınızı ispatlamaya çalışıyorsunuz. “Dani Elaine’i aldatmis midir, onu tam bilmiyorum”, deyip hemen arkasından Elaine’i aldatmıştır yargısına varmaktasınız. Elaine’ ile kontak kurdunuz ve Daninin Eleain’i aldatığını teyit ettiniz mi ki önermeniz doğru olsun. Elaine’nin aldatıldığını siz söylüyor diye kabullenebilirmiyiz? Bilimsel olan kişinin olaya yaklaşım tarzı bu olmamalıdır. Peşin pesin yargılamanı eleştirmekteyim. Bilmiyorum belki de aldatmıştır, ama yöntem doğru değil, önce savınızı tahkik edersiniz sonra suçlarsınız. Aldatmamış ise adamın günahını almış olmuyormusun?

                      Daninin savundugu bakis acisi Harvard’da dile getirilmiyormus gibi ifadelerde bulunmasi kendi gerçegi ve görüşüdür bunu da Elein’e yazdığı mektupta ifade etmektedir, olabilir sana görede gercegi saptirmaktadır.
                      Ama esas olan gerçektir. Hepimizin bildiği gibi hiç bir şekilde gerçek çarpıtılmamıştır. O halde Dani niçin yalan söylemiş olsun?

                      Kanımca, Daninin yalan söylediğini saptamanız için önce Eleain ile temasa geçip, soruyu ona yöneltmeniz ve aldatıldığını teyit etmeniz gerekir. Yoksa varsayımlara dayalı olarak Daniyi sadece haksız yere suçlarsınız. Doğru da olabilir yanlışta.

                      Size göre fikrinizi ifade etmek = Yalan.

                      Son defa olarak ben size hatırlatırım. “Yuh” çektiğiniz için Daniye özür borçlusun.

                    • trssby Says:

                      “Sizin akliniza bilim deyince sadece akademik dergide makale yayinlamak geliyor herhalde…”

                      Tastamam öyle. Uluslarası Akademik dergide makaleniz yayınladığında, uluslararası olarak savlarınız kabul edilmiş anlamına gelir, yoksa ozgün çalışma olarak kabul edilmez, çalışmanız kese kağıdı değerindedir. Yayınlamış makalenize ne kadar çok referans verilirse bilimsel çalışmanız o kadar özgün ve değerli olur.

                      Önce bir takım önermeler yapıyor, onların doğru olduğunu varsayıp onların üzerinden savlarınızı ispatlamaya çalışıyorsunuz.
                      “Dani Elaine’i aldatmis midir, onu tam bilmiyorum”, deyip hemen arkasından Elaine’i aldatmıştır yargısına varmaktasınız. Elaine’ ile kontak kurdunuz ve Daninin Eleain’i aldatığını teyit ettiniz mi ki önermeniz doğru olsun. Elaine’nin aldatıldığını siz söylüyor diye kabullenebilirmiyiz? Bilimsel olan kişinin olaya yaklaşım tarzı bu olmamalıdır. Peşin pesin yargılamanı eleştirmekteyim. Bilmiyorum belki de aldatmıştır, ama yöntem doğru değil, önce savınızı tahkik edersin, doğru ise suçlarsınız.
                      Bu durumda önermenizin hiç bir bilimsel değeri yoktur.

                      Daninin savundugu bakis acisi Harvard’da dile getirilmiyormus gibi ifadelerde bulunmasi kendi gerçegi ve görüşüdür bunu da Elein’e yazdığı mektupta ifade etmektedir, olabilir sana görede gercegi saptirmaktadır.

                      Ama esas olan gerçektir. Gerçek, hepimizin bildiği gibi hiç bir şekilde gerçek çarpıtılmamıştır. O halde Dani niçin yalan söylemiş olsun?

                      Kanımca, Daninin yalan söylediğini saptamanız için önce Eleain ile temasa geçip, soruyu ona yöneltmeniz ve aldatıldığını teyit etmeniz gerekir. Yoksa varsayımlara dayalı olarak Daniyi sadece haksız yere suçlarsınız. Doğru da olabilir yanlışta.

                      Size göre fikrinizi ifade etmek = Yalan.

                      Son defa olarak ben size hatırlatırım. “Yuh” çektiğiniz için Daniye özür borçlusun.

        • acracia Says:

          Whether before or after: A lie is a lie. (We are not talking about a white lie, mind you.)

          Cevapla

          • fmerakli Says:

            As I wrote above, to me saying that the Harvard community has been exposed to only one viewpoint is also a lie.

            And yes, it is not a white lie either.

            Given the examples that I gave (Cagaptay and Rodrik himself), do you really think that the Harvard community has been exposed to only one viewpoint as Rodrik argues?

            When it is that clear that the Harvard community has so far been exposed to opposing views, saying the contrary is also a lie that harms the reputation of Harvard!

            Cevapla

            • acracia Says:

              I understand your viewpoint. I have two things to note here:

              1) Reading the email, one can see the point being made is not the persona of the two speakers, but Zaman. These two speakers are engaged as columnists of Zaman newspaper, which we all have good reasons to believe (and we actually know) that spread lies.

              2) Regarding before and after: if Dani Rodrik wrote before the talk–Orhan Kemal Cengiz wrote before seeing the email. The variable is not the talk, but talking about something without seeing the content.

              If Rodrik had tried to stop people from going to the meeting, that indeed would have been unacceptable. But considering how each center has a different set of audience, I beg to disagree, there is a big difference between Rodrik’s interpretation of Zaman columnists invited by the same center one right after another *and* spreading lies about somebody and stating that this person is trying to stop people from coming to their talk. One is asking for adding more voices, the other is downright spreading lies. I cannot find them comparable.

              And let me state this right away: my motivation in writing this is because I am truly fed up and over-saturated by the immorality of the media, the lies, and the publishing policies of Zaman of Taraf. (I am in the process of writing about this issue–the lies and fabrication of facts, soon I will post it).
              Regards.

              Cevapla

              • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                I actually think you are being too kind, but far be it from me to advocate aggression and/or vitriol. (I’m helping Fmearkli here in the second part of the sentence, the next time someone asserts a material falsehood and and I call them nasty names he can make this about me lying and being inconsistent.)

                And let me state this right away: my motivation in writing this is because I am truly fed up and over-saturated by the immorality of the media, the lies, and the publishing policies of Zaman of Taraf. (I am in the process of writing about this issue–the lies and fabrication of facts, soon I will post it).

                I am actually interested not only in that, but also in the process through which people become aware of just what kind of publications and staff we were dealing with. To me and quite a few people I know, what Taraf was became obvious within a few months (if not weeks) after its publication. Zaman and Today’s Zaman are an easier case if you read both. Same goes for many of the visible ‘liberal’s etc. Yet people say that they have become disillusioned with these publications only recently. I’m willing to take them at their word, but would like to know what took them so long. Printing outright lies and despicable attempts at manipulation is not new in our press, of course. We knew the rest of the bigger ones were like that. At least I assume we did. I’d like to know what made people think the newer dailies were different, at least for while. Wishful thinking? Too little time or inclination to fact-check? Too impressed by ‘respected’ names? Too much value attributed to the advertised missions? Too much faith in the press ‘serving’ us in some sense and thinking that it is a matter of getting a ‘good’ one?

                It isn’t just a matter of saying this or that publication is somehow bad. These things do not exist in vacuum, they have readerships and those readerships are not worthless — especially in the case of Taraf they tend to be luckier and better educated than most. The importance of exposing what’s wrong with Taraf is dwarfed by the importance of figuring out how Taraf gets away with being what it is.

                I wouldn’t know how to do any of this research. I would love to see it done though. Any takers? Who do we badger about this?

                Cevapla

                • cdogangercekler Says:

                  A first step is to document the falsehoods and manipulation, since we suspect a lot has to do with the lack of reliable information. We have been trying to do this for Balyoz. See http://medyatakibi.wordpress.com/ for another interesting and very useful attempt.

                  Cevapla

                • acracia Says:

                  Bulent Bey:

                  I think we agree on this. There are several issues in relation to what you said here:

                  “I am actually interested not only in that, but also in the process through which people become aware of just what kind of publications and staff we were dealing with.”

                  Thinking of their first publishing contexts, in my humble opinion the reason why *some* people engaged with these two newspapers was not exactly the same.

                  When Zaman/Today’s Zaman first started coming out, a lot of us wanted to engage this newspaper because not only it represented a segment of the society that had become a dark horse because of staunch secularists or the so-called Kemalists, but also because “embracing” (so to speak) Zaman or Today’s Zaman meant embracing that segment of the society that Kemalists sought to push away. I know I did, together with other people I know. In this sense, this was an attempt to engage in a dialogue with that segment of the society for those who were not coming from that kind of background. So, many intellectuals started writing there, recognizing that under-heard segment of the society and showing their alliances with the people from that background. I believe many foreign scholars engaged Zaman/Today’s Zaman with similar intent: because we were all fed up with some Kemalists demonizing pious people, and especially TZ seemed to try to show the foreigners “see how much more liberal we are than secularists.” This might explain the differences between Zaman and Today’s Zaman as TZ seems to seek foreign support.

                  But things have changed. I am not saying there aren’t decent people writing there; what I am talking about is the publishing policy of this newspaper: Zaman and Today’s Zaman have shown their teeth to whomever dared to challenge whatever or whomever (Gulen) it is that they supported. They engaged in slandering, spreading lies, character assassination.

                  As for Taraf: many university professors and scholars started writing there. And many of the highly-educated crowd were either friends with them, had been their student, or simply had sympathy with their writings and activities in breaking the taboos of nationalism for example. Some of these individuals had already a “dissident” position vis-a-vis the oppressive state. I remember thinking, “finally, a truly dissident voice is emerging.”

                  I think the wake-up call on that one was when they smeared NTV-news crowd who had tried to reach the ultra-nationalist BBP leader via cell phone when they heard his helicopter had crashed. As you well know (but I will write it for those who don’t know), Taraf was claiming that NTV had been part of the conspiracy and was the culprit of the crash; the assumption was a ridiculous claim that NTV journalists and anchorpeople who were trying to reach BBP leader had activated a bomb with their own cell phones. And they didn’t want to back up on that until they were brutally proven wrong, when they had to apologize. It was a shameful sloppiness. Now we know this sloppiness is actually characteristic of their publishing policy and practices. We also know that they like sensational headlines.

                  What I had liked about Taraf was their courage in standing up former powers such as the military. What I didn’t like was their capability of becoming incredibly unethical in how they were doing it. For me, it became evident in their approaches with the Sledgehammer case, their overt lies in their headlines.

                  To me, it is clear that Taraf is not a dissident voice–and by this, I mean the newspaper publishing policy. They are pro-establishment; only the establishment they support (or that supports them? who knows?) is different. The means cannot justify the end, and yet this is precisely the impression they create.

                  In this sense, I found Ragip Duran’s distinction between being a good journalist and simply reporting what is being leaked at them very useful. While Taraf has been applauded for its courage to stand up against the military, because some of its reporters don’t seem to care about fact check and show yet another level of sloppiness or even participate in deliberate disinformation (as we have learned from this blog, their lies about how there were actual signatures on documents when there weren’t, etc), one realizes that what is happening there is not good journalism per se (and I don’t mean everybody working there, as there are very decent people writing there as well) but simply publishing the documents leaked to them without proper investigation. But in part because of this lack of distinction in people’s minds, many still advocate it.

                  So, I think the reasons why each newspaper had found more “embrace” among the educated crowd that do not necessarily identify themselves with religion was different.

                  I am deeply disappointed with these newspapers. They could have been great. Another missed opportunity.

                  These are my two cents on the issue you raised.

                  ps: I will try to post that piece on disinformation and lies as soon as I am done, but it takes longer because of time constraint.
                  pps: The kind of research you are talking about is the job of anthropologists and media researchers whose methodology is informed by anthropology. I am sure you can find a lot of research done on this subject made elsewhere.

                  Cevapla

                  • acracia Says:

                    Correction:

                    “What I didn’t like was their capability of becoming incredibly unethical in how they were doing it. For me, it became evident in their approaches with the Sledgehammer case, their overt lies in their headlines.”

                    should be:

                    “…For me it became even more evident in their approaches to the Sledgehammer…”

                    Cevapla

                  • acracia Says:

                    ppps: of course, I forgot to change the quote I had from you, but in fact I engaged this point you made: “I’d like to know what made people think the newer dailies were different, at least for while.” Sorry for the confusion.

                    Cevapla

                  • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                    Thank you. I think I took a different route than the people you described when approaching these publications so it didn’t take me that long, but that’s for a different time perhaps. Here, though, is a more fundamental point of disagreement:

                    I am deeply disappointed with these newspapers. They could have been great. Another missed opportunity.

                    Could they have been great really? I am not sure. Would the Turkish industry be producing goods of the quality they do today had the consumers here not been exposed to the goods of their competition from abroad? Would an exceptionally talented person who’s constantly praised and put in a position of authority in, say, a philosophy department in a remote island university end up becoming a great philosopher? Had Bill Gates been born in Turkey, would his aggressive/ambitious/competitive character [and familial background] have given rise to something like Microsoft or would he have become another Cem Uzan? In each case I think the potential for the outcome one wishes for is there in some significant sense, but there are also good reasons for that potential to not be realized. (You might remember us two talking about this when the lesson M. Kavakci apparently did not get came up. Yes, that potential was perhaps there but it didn’t happen.)

                    Cevapla

                    • acracia Says:

                      You know Bulent Bey, I think I am more naive than you are.

                      I truly believed that they could be great. I thought initially that Zaman and later Today’s Zaman had a good potential for social dialogue, and that Taraf could also make a change with an ethical dissident voice. I was wrong. So were many people I know who realized this was an illusion, similar to the way I did.

                      Personally, the reason why I believed this is because I trust the human potential in Turkey. But as you say:

                      “there are also good reasons for that potential to not be realized.”

                      Maybe, it is the education system? Because yes, there is an educational system that tries to carve a conformist from children with its interpretation of dissidence as revolt and hence, something to be broken and pacified; the pledge of allegiance to the Turkish nation in the mornings whereby every child learns their being has no meaning without the Turkish nation (varligim Turk varligina armagan olsun); these are are not great for the development of a personality. The individual development and thinking for one’s self are not favored in general. There might be exceptions, but they don’t break the rule.

                      Or maybe it is the media? Instead of showing different sides of something and the complexity of an issue, their approaches too is to generate conformists to the viewpoint they advocate. The result is to see people who actually don’t know how to interpret what they read, or as in Kavakci’s case (as we discussed) to consider themselves (and perhaps rightfully so) as victims but without being able to draw a lesson of empathy towards others who are targeted against.

                      You know, maybe the problem is also in the state. The Turkish state is based on a competition over seizing power, and the opponents are considered as something to be eliminated. The actors change but the game doesn’t. Maybe it is the same everywhere. But Turkey lacks transparent law enforcement, critical citizens who can unproblematically raise their voices and fully exploit the freedom of speech because the freedom of speech is increasingly constrained even under this civilian government…

                      All this only shows democracy is nothing to be obtained through anti-militarization solely, but that it should be sought through the riddance of authoritarianism. And yet, as the song goes, teachers do it (authoritarian repression of the self and free speech in schools), education system does it (authoritarian repression of ethnic identities), newspapers do it (picking staunch political sides)…
                      The result is, “malumunuz.”

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      I don’t have the right background — whatever that may be — to understand these things. So I wouldn’t know really. I can tell you some signs I could see though:

                      — When Taraf first came out they had a funding campaign. That’s OK thing, but they did it w/o disclosing their financials (much less opening them to audit). I don’t mean to imply that they are thieves, I wouldn’t know. What was significant for me was that their supporters who presumably were for transparency, accountability etc. did not even realize that they were basically giving money on faith. This didn’t add up, and I realized that there was no feedback loop (that involved the people) to keep these people in check and that there could be none because the big concepts people were appealing to did not mean to them what they mean to owners of dictionaries.

                      — I never had a high opinion of the nonsensical ‘respect all beliefs’ dictum. It cannot be true, and when known atheists pronounce it as they get close to concentrated power based on organized religion, you can just tell they either are or are their way to becoming corrupt — either personally or in their thinking.

                      — That both publications occasionally printed creationist or anti-science nonsense didn’t help at all. Same with lying about the law or the goings on in the US, or, their utter silence when that 2007 Internet law was passed. A 90 person censorship bureaucracy was instituted and respected civil libertarians remained silent only to reveal just what they were when they resorted to the ‘Kemalist judge’ explanation when high traffic sites started getting closed. Oh yes, very respectable indeed — let us turn our backs to them in the full knowledge that they’ll watch out for our interests.

                      There are many more reasons. Mainly, what I want to see is the [visible] intellectual classes getting treated by the public like the way a middle class housewife treats her cleaning lady. Hover over them, hide the valuables, always check the work, keep your distance, never lose sight of who’s serving who etc. Instead we have unearned trust, funding of questionable provenance, undue and excessive praise, ceding of authority and moral high ground etc. We are doing everything right to corrupt these people, in other words, and then wonder why they lie!

                      I have only been looking into these things for a few years, but remembered old sayings like ‘kopeksiz koyde degneksiz dolasmak’ ‘kucuk koyun buyuk agasi’ etc. right around the time I started looking. Perhaps that would give you further clues.

                    • acracia Says:

                      Bulent Bey,

                      I don’t think one necessarily needs to have a special training to develop a critical mind. And certainly training does not necessarily equip a person with critical thinking skills. I think we would agree on this.

                      This said, after having read your response, I do think you were more critical in the process of engaging these newspapers; as I said, I was naive.

                      Challenging the military for the right reasons such as actual interventions like the coups is one thing, but to twist facts, spreading lies, and to mislead people is a completely another thing. These newspapers do the latter. And even worse, what they do is really shady: they try to establish themselves as very democratic but even the way in which they engage the subjects of their news show the opposite.

                      For instance: One can agree or disagree with Dani Rodrik’s email, that’s one thing, but to say that he is a liar based on this email or to falsely declare that he has tried to stop others from attending the talk is another thing. And we are not talking about white lies or secrets that everyone has and for possibly good reasons based on individual choices to conceal something, which is a private business, but what we are talking about is the lie that harms somebody. One that is produced with bad intentions. That’s the kind of lie that I condemn. The rest is not my business.

                      Thus, what I object to is the creation of “untouchables”–whether it is the military or civilians, abuses of power, shady finances, a public persona or creating an authority through one’s status. But I also object to attacks just for the sake of it.

                      So, I am wondering: Other than silences on the internet-censorship law in these dailies, did you encounter anything critical about the law on the struggle with terrorism? Taraf was not founded then I think, but what I am wondering is the editorial attitude about this later, in both newspapers? Especially because this law has been vastly criticized for its abuse of human rights (both at the time of its inception and later), I am curious how both newspapers covered the law when it came up.

                      See for example:

                      http://www.birikimdergisi.com/birikim/makale.aspx?mid=165

                      It is this law that informs how KCK and Balyoz are being carried. Ironic, isn’t it? Also the detention of journalists, etc are part of this:

                      http://www.ifex.org/turkey/2011/03/30/media_monitoring_report/

                      I leave the discussion of “respecting every belief” for later, as it is a subject of its own and necessitates a distinction between public and private, but very briefly:

                      I don’t think anyone can be completely objective in private. What is important and perhaps to opt for (and hope to achieve), is to at least be aware of it and try and display an impartial attitude in public as much as possible.

                    • acracia Says:

                      Correction:

                      “Thus, what I object to is the creation of “untouchables”–whether it is the military or civilians, abuses of power, shady finances, a public persona or creating an authority through one’s status. But I also object to attacks just for the sake of it.”

                      should read:

                      “Thus, while I object to the creation of “untouchables”–whether it is the military or civilians, abuses of power, shady finances, a public persona or creating an authority through one’s status, I also object to attacks just for the sake of it; especially when it is done through vicious attacks, character assassinations and yes, resorting to lies with the intent of discrediting or criminalizing somebody.”

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      Arcacia bey,

                      For instance: One can agree or disagree with Dani Rodrik’s email, that’s one thing, but to say that he is a liar based on this email or to falsely declare that he has tried to stop others from attending the talk is another thing.

                      It is even worse than that. Why is everyone acting as though that is some huge sin? Sometimes you know the speaker is boring, sometimes they are annoying, and, yes, sometimes you are convinced that they peddle BS and you tell people they are better off not going. This is what I remember. This has changed? People in universities now don’t say stuff like this? People always flock to seminars and never tell others to not go? I don’t believe that, and wonder why people are acting as though it is true. The amount of fakery we see here and in the press is amazing. Not that I am in any position to do so, and Mahcupyan or OKC probably wouldn’t get that treatment from me but if I am convinced people are liars and such I’d tell people to not go to their seminars and to tell their speaker selection committees to not get them. There, I’m sure I’ll burn in hell now and the resident angels here will admonish others to avoid this evil, dastardly behaviour. (Actually the last time I tried this about a meeting in Turkey, people who agreed with me about the ethics of the speakers said ‘but, abi, they serve free food there!’ Can’t argue with that, that’s a good reason — made me think twice too.)

                      So, I am wondering: Other than silences on the internet-censorship law in these dailies, did you encounter anything critical about the law on the struggle with terrorism?

                      Unfortunately, no. I agree it is a good thing to pursue though. It seemed to me to be one of those things that are iffy to talk about in open fora, so I didn’t pay much attention and talk to people about it. I did notice that on 301 people were very unprincipled and were even misinforming the public. There is possibly a deep underlying issue there both about freedom expression (and even thought!) that I just can’t figure out. The same is true about the Danish cartoons issue. Anyway, in general, my working assumption is [and has been] that if the state here wants to do very nasty stuff to you, it will and the present tool of choice is the anti-terror law (like many other states, BTW). I have not yet seen any mainstream-ish movement against that, really. (Taraf sometimes gets very sly about this. There was a piece about Pinar Selek questioning the fuss, for example. We’re talking about a paper where cops write columns, BTW. This would be good joke if it was about some far off country.)

                      As for respecting every belief: it is simple really. It admits clear-cut counter-examples: think up some horrible set of beliefs and ‘respect’ them. (Doesn’t need to be imaginary, think of faith in racial superiority for example.) I think the same thing about this ‘equidistance’ thing I keep hearing about. Doesn’t make much geometric sense and even if it could be attained, why would you want it? These seem to me to be bizarre claims that somehow became ‘in’ things to say. The effect though, isn’t benign. You get a whole bunch of people saying the right things but actually saying nothing. I don’t want to overplay this and make it sound dystopian but in some ways the pattern in those examples resembles an assault on thought through the destruction of meaning in language.

                    • Ilhan Kemal Says:

                      Although we use the same terms, such as media, justice, academia, democracy…etc, and have similar institutions to western societies, we do also have significantly different intrinsic characteristics. I think “meme” concept (as described by R.Dawkins) may help us to understand some issues and to have more realistic expectations from our newspapers, politicians…etc. We may even understand why we keep seeing the same pattern of pathetic behaviors in entire spectrum of life (politics, academia, media, justice…) and in every age (under military regime or elected governments). Maybe “meme” is the answer (as you see, I am still hopeful that there is a magic answer somewhere). One can easily think many memes relevant to our culture, such as;

                      – We do not search the facts, but select the information that fits our already established opinion and ignore the others. Selective blindness is the norm in our land.

                      – We do not directly say “that is not true” or “that is a lie” to anybody, even if he/she is clearly lying (unless we want to insult somebody). Of course you may say this behind him/her, but never on his/her face. It would be socially unacceptable behavior. If you say “that is a lie” to a liar, you should be ready for a blood feud.

                      – We do not question/object the arguments or decisions of the authorities, leaders, our seniors, bosses, teachers…etc. It would be a very disrespectful behavior and you may pay a price for that.

                      – We do believe that there is always a simple answer to complex questions. In other words, we believe in a great unifying theory, “Theory of Everything”, such as Marxism, Islam, or “Deep State”, that explains the every single issue under the sun.

                      – We do not use “Fairness” word as a parent or educator. Children do not need to know this term. Did you ever see any child in Turkey crying for something he/she demanded and his/her parent refused by saying that “…but ..but… it is not fair”? We learn this term much later and we remember using it only if we need it personally or when our loved ones need it.

                      OK, I am exaggerating…or maybe I became too cynical… or maybe I am also looking for a “Theory of Everything” (again!)to explain my “lonely and beautiful country”.

                      PS:
                      Bulent bey pointed a very significant topic: respecting every belief. I believe this is an extremely important issue to understand sociopolitical events of today’s Turkey. It sounds very human and politically correct but I completely agree with Bulent Bey that there is a huge problem behind those nice words and it deserves a very close attention. I was thinking about it for some time and I am happy to hear that it is also on some other people’s radar screen.

                    • acracia Says:

                      Bulent Bey, it became very crowded in here, I will pull our discussion below, in a fresh entry.

                    • acracia Says:

                      Ilhan Bey, just as I was getting ready to answer Bulent Bey in a fresh post below, I saw and read your interesting post. Maybe I should continue the thread here, then. I am so glad you joined us.

                      First of all, Bulent Bey: I think you are right, we all tell our opinion to our friends, acquaintances about a speaker. In the past, I have even witnessed boycotting of different talks on different subject. So now that I think of it, what could Rodrik do? Tie them to their chair to prevent them from going? And besides, this is not what the email suggests at all, anyway. So there does seem to be a bold lie on something that people seem to try to turn into
                      an ethical issue.

                      This ties to your second, and to the last point Ilhan Bey raises regarding objectivity. I agree with both of you in that objectivity is not possible for humans in social, cultural, political, and psychological issues: there will always be an opinion that will be formed informed by personal experience, exposure to different viewpoints, etc.

                      This said, while we all are subjective in our private disposition, there is something very important to note: professionalism. That’s where the difference lies when I say trying to keep an equal distance from everyone in public. For example:

                      I may or may not like a student, but I would never allow my feelings to taint my grades (I can even cover the names of the students when grading). Likewise, a judge may or may not like a defendant, but should not allow his/her feelings to taint his/her decision (and in fact, since this is difficult, I believe the jury system to be a lot healthier as instead of one, multiple people from different backgrounds would give a verdict). A police officer may or may not approve certain life style or disposition, but should not use this judgment to arrest somebody. A journalist may or may not like a person, but s/he should not twist facts about that person to manipulate public opinion. A psychologist may or may not approve a client’s persona, but should not use this in his/her diagnosis. An historian might love his/her country, but should not twist facts, silence events or overemphasize others to make that country look better (and yet, all nationalist historiographies do that).

                      So perhaps, what I mean is something closer to professionalism. And those who act against this, enter the terrain of ethics. And the Sledgehammer case shows us how violations of professionalism are displayed at many levels.
                      This relates to what Ilhan Bey says regarding fairness, although his take on it was from a more interesting angle.

                      Regarding respecting all beliefs: well what do we mean by “respect?” Not caring enough to raise a voice? To deeply and actively respect? Well maybe, being impartial in public is not only related to professionalism, but might also be a rhetorical tool for us to live without disturbing each other?

                      Ilhan Bey: thanks to you, I also learned a new word; I looked up and read what “meme” means. Perhaps, in relation to this, what you are describing is also how in Turkey while the same institutions exist, they are not exactly the same because different fields are not professionalized enough? Because there is always an “authority” to bend to, some favoritism to fight against, and a lack of a cultivation of “fairness.” The primary duty is not to the profession, and when it is not, unfair practices follow.

                      (I wanted to say more about the anti-terror law, but I guess it will have to wait for a better moment.)

                    • acracia Says:

                      Correction:

                      “First of all, Bulent Bey: I think you are right, we all tell our opinion to our friends, acquaintances about a speaker. In the past, I have even witnessed boycotting of different talks on different subject. So now that I think of it, what could Rodrik do? Tie them to their chair to prevent them from going? And besides, this is not what the email suggests at all, anyway. So there does seem to be a bold lie on something that people seem to try to turn into
                      an ethical issue. ”

                      should read:

                      “First of all, Bulent Bey: I think you are right, we all tell our opinion to our friends, acquaintances about a speaker. In the past, I have even witnessed boycotting of different talks on different subjects. So now that I think about it, that’s not what his email suggests at all, but let’s suppose what Zaman claims is true, what could Rodrik do anyway? Tie people to their chair to prevent them from attending somebody’s talk? And besides, as I said, this is not what the email suggests at all. So there does seem to be a bold lie produced on this email by Zaman that tries to invite people to turn this lie into reality and into an ethical issue.”

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      I can’t speak for Ihsan bey, but my point wasn’t about objectivity but about particular locutions that seem to be in widespread use. Whether or not objectivity is possible was not something I had in mind. Yes perhaps it is not possible to be objective, but it is possible to not be too dumb. The claims about equidistance and respect for all etc. seem nonsensical. The former requires one to be jumping around in a zillion-dimensional space as more people acquire views (more points to be equidistant to!) and the latter, taken at face value, would require one to say ‘oh yes I respect that, I respect all beliefs’ to someone whose claims to believe, say, that elephants run the world. As they are commonly stated, these are at best vacuous things to aspire to IMHO — though of course I should probably respect people who say them!

                      Here’s another simple criterion for ‘respect’ or non-interference in matters of faith that makes more sense. I think this is an old tale/joke, but I’ll link to a contemporary version. That is more like Jefferson’s stance: “It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

                    • acracia Says:

                      Bulent Bey:

                      I see your point, and perhaps I failed to explain myself:
                      the locution “equidistance” to my mind implicates objectivity.
                      And that’s why I thought of professional positions that push you to have equidistance from A and B. Does this make sense?

                      And when it comes to religion and beliefs, for example, I tried to call attention to the position of the person who utters “equidistance” as an imperative: is that person speaking from a professional point of view to maintain fairness?
                      or
                      Is that person resorting to equidistance as a lip service to manipulate power?
                      or
                      Is that person resorting to equidistance to build authority, bully, and a tool for manipulations, etc.

                      I read the joke you linked to, and I think I get it. Nonetheless, regarding the question of beliefs, I genuinely wonder if there is a way out. Because, when you say I believe elephants run the world, it is something that can be checked and verified factually. But when you say, I believe and worship in X god(s), de facto you establish belief on something that cannot be tested chemically perhaps but of which factuality is embedded in the belief of its factuality. Isn’t that different?

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      But when you say, I believe and worship in X god(s), de facto you establish belief on something that cannot be tested chemically perhaps but of which factuality is embedded in the belief of its factuality. Isn’t that different?

                      It is, but that point of view implies the secular, scientific, ‘materialist’ approach trumps beliefs of the other sort when the two do or can conflict. This is a contentious point since some see it as asserting the superiority of materialism and a disregard/disrespect for their faith. Saying, for example, that you won’t ridicule speculations or beliefs about what’s unknowable[1] is different than saying you’ll respect all beliefs. No?

                      [1] Pastafarianism for example, though people who claim to respect everything tend get mad at even the hint of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Some broad respect.

                    • acracia Says:

                      This is interesting: When I read accounts about this case, people’s engagements with different issues that surround it, I often remembered Mulder from the “X Files”: “I want to believe.” And of course it was couple with the motto “the truth is out there.”

                      And then when Ilhan Kemal wrote several weeks ago about discussion culture on Sledgehammer here entrenched in a firm belief that one can see the truth and that truth is what one advocates without considering alternative explanations and likening it metaphorically to theology and reminding us the dynamics of the past lefties’ discussions, I remembered it again. It is interesting that this comes up frequently, and maybe for a good reason too.

                      Am I correct to assume that the reason why you gave me pastafarianism as an example, is perhaps because you wanted to make me say “come on!” since it is such an absurd case? Yes, you are right, there is such a thing as BS, but as I said, perhaps equidistance is a tool, like the guy in your linked joke, to not care and leave everybody be.

                      And as you rightfully pointed out, the perspective of the person who considers “equidistance” is important, and mine was admittedly analytical. And yet, here is the problem:
                      what happens when you carry this supposition into the legal and official plane? Since the state is involved, and the state is bound to the citizens with each different beliefs and dispositions, do you have a better alternative than to try and maintain that distance?

                      And if transferred that example into the debates surrounding Sledgehammer (so that I don’t feel too guilty for straying off topic), and keeping Mulder’s “I want to believe” in mind, can we not observe similar dynamics to what you are describing? But it is easier to call BS a BS then, right? Only people might not simply state that a BS is a BS but they resort to manipulation of facts, smearing campaigns, etc. I am not sure what to make of this parallel: that there are different belief systems?

                    • acracia Says:

                      One thing to add though: there truly is a lot of BS surrounding this case (Sledgehammer) that makes pastafarianism look like rationalism par excellence. And with its own set of taboos too. I will try to finish that post on the absurd and language, it is nothing big or important but an attempt at calling absurd “absurd” and trying to point at some pitfalls.

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      acracia bey,

                      Am I correct to assume that the reason why you gave me pastafarianism as an example, is perhaps because you wanted to make me say “come on!” since it is such an absurd case?

                      Yes, in a way, but it probably seems no more absurd than any other faith we are not used to. I could have said Scientology for example. Yet Scientology is seen as legit by the law and it perhaps has to be.

                      Yes, you are right, there is such a thing as BS, but as I said, perhaps equidistance is a tool, like the guy in your linked joke, to not care and leave everybody be.

                      That particular one seems to me to be a wiser stance than many I have heard advocated. It doesn’t harm anything, from where I am looking, for a female [or male!] MD to wear a headscarf, for example. You may or not like the reason for that scarf, but it doesn’t (prima fascie) affect the performance of her duties as an MD. (I am aware that many disagree with this and why. That’s immaterial for this narrow scope of reasoning though.) That is a different approach than proclaiming clothing freedom for all or accommodating something because it is ‘faith’ and one should respect all faiths. Those two approaches, as popularly stated, are just absurd to me.

                      what happens when you carry this supposition into the legal and official plane? Since the state is involved, and the state is bound to the citizens with each different beliefs and dispositions, do you have a better alternative than to try and maintain that distance?

                      I don’t think that distance can be maintained at all. If the state runs schools it will have to teach people history, math, science etc. all of which potentially (or actually) conflict with one faith or other. (How did you decide Pastafarianism is BS? How would you not offend or, worse yet, accommodate in the curriculum the holders of many such faiths that boil down to something like Russel’s Teapot?) As far as actual actions based on faith go, will the state/law accommodate faiths that require female circumcision alongside the male one? If the state handles ‘social’ transfers and insurance how does it keep its equal distance from faiths that have things to say about those? (Note the Amish did try and I beleive succeeded in getting out Social Security but at the cost of the state deciding who is or isn’t a genuine Amish. How will that apprach deal with a Pastafarian? Will civil servants say something like: ‘you are too smart to believe that’? What does that do to the principle of respecting all faiths or equidistance?)

                      What I mean to say is that there are these nice-sounding assertions which tend not to mean much but are repeated in such a way that they destroy the capacity to actually analyze problems. What prompted this line of thinking in my head was probably the [unstated?] implication about ‘all view points’ ‘any speaker’ etc. They sound fine and OK to say but they are not. It is entirely possible that we don’t quite know the ‘clean’ abstract principles about these matters even if such exist. Matters stay uncontroversial only when the actual people involved fit in an extremely narrow spectrum in their thoughts, pasts and actions. If that is the case, asserting or implying that we actually believe these broad nice-sounding principles and act on them may very well be concealing fundamental problems which, when they actually arise in real cases, will make liars of us.

                    • acracia Says:

                      Bulent Bey, I will first answer you and then, try to tie this to Sledgehammer in the end.

                      “It doesn’t harm anything, from where I am looking, for a female [or male!] MD to wear a headscarf, for example. You may or not like the reason for that scarf, but it doesn’t (prima fascie) affect the performance of her duties as an MD.”

                      I can easily agree with this. I find the banning of headscarf not only problematic because of an interference with a personal right, but also sexist. This said, headscarf should be allowed in the parliament, etc, but headscarf or not, those men or women who refuse to touch a patient from the opposite sex because of any X reason should then not become doctors or nurses. It is not the headscarf but the lack of ability to fulfill the job that directly affects one’s professional practices (and in the case of an MD, potentially might put others’ lives at stake) that should be the criterion.

                      “How did you decide Pastafarianism is BS?”

                      Pasta is hand/factory-made. This is a measurable, verifiable fact. The rest, we cannot prove or counter prove (I exclude evolution from this). I know yours was a rhetorical question, but I wanted to underline this phenomenon.

                      “What I mean to say is that there are these nice-sounding assertions which tend not to mean much but are repeated in such a way that they destroy the capacity to actually analyze problems. What prompted this line of thinking in my head was probably the [unstated?] implication about ‘all view points’ ‘any speaker’ etc. They sound fine and OK to say but they are not. It is entirely possible that we don’t quite know the ‘clean’ abstract principles about these matters even if such exist. Matters stay uncontroversial only when the actual people involved fit in an extremely narrow spectrum in their thoughts, pasts and actions.”

                      Certain words do become a mantra, true. In fact, one word I find extremely problematic that goes hand in hand with what you say is the word “tolerance” and “I tolerate x religion, etc” is not acceptable. It intrinsically means one speaks from a position of authority or hierarchy and reminds the others that they are to be tolerated, thus setting their own stance as the norm.

                      Now let me try and tie these issues back to the blog:

                      Actually, the opposite of your critique “all view points” is also true: not every opinion can be valid. Where do you lay the criteria for that?

                      For instance, I do believe that a lot of the angry crowd writing to this blog with a sense of their faith having been subjected to an unfair treatment because of 28 February and who want the heads of all the military involved in Sledgehammer, engage in a very similar act: what seems to matter is only the part that affects them, it doesn’t matter what actually is happening legally, and they also do not seem to make a difference between a) what these people are tried for (Sledgehammer based substantially on a fake CD) and 28th of February, and b) unfair practices across the board and the collaboration with the military during the 1980 coup (of the Gulen movement for example, as well as Milli Gorus) and that part of the crowd that were targeted against with 28th of February were collaborators of the military against the left—another belief system, albeit an ideological one. Now, we cannot get all view points maybe, but shouldn’t we look into its lack thereof and the kind of conflations it produces?

                      See, I don’t only consider religion but also ideology and politics as based on belief; aren’t they all intertwined? They all have their own rules, they all (supposedly) seek to organize social and political life, they all seek to provide a different model for existence, co-existence. So now, when a person comes here and only emphasizes 28th of February, does that make that stance BS? When a person comes here to discuss unfairness because of what X or Y did against religion, and starts insulting others because s/he thinks what is being discussed here is BS, is that correct? You see where this is going? Your critique is valid but it over-privileges the decider of what is BS and not as a rational being, and yet, this might not be true.
                      Yes, sometimes a cigar is a cigar, but according to whom and from which point of view? Whose rights might one crush while speaking of this?

                      I think this is directly related to the issue you are raising. What do you think?

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      Acracia bey,

                      Pasta is hand/factory-made. This is a measurable, verifiable fact.

                      Oh, but that know-how came in a divine inspiration right from the FSM for His image to be present in our daily lives (and be yummy to boot). I am not being facetious here, we both know that books that are written by people who don’t even claim prophethood are made divine and inerrant by that argument. No?

                      In fact, one word I find extremely problematic that goes hand in hand with what you say is the word “tolerance” and “I tolerate x religion, etc” is not acceptable. It intrinsically means one speaks from a position of authority or hierarchy and reminds the others that they are to be tolerated, thus setting their own stance as the norm.

                      I agree that’s what it means. It is, however, sometimes the case that that is what is deliberately meant. “Mala davara ziyani yoksa, mesele yok” approach embodies something like what you outline. It sets palpable harm as a limit to tolerance and implies authority (if not power).

                      For instance, I do believe that a lot of the angry crowd writing to this blog with a sense of their faith having been subjected to an unfair treatment because of 28 February and who want the heads of all the military involved in Sledgehammer, engage in a very similar act: what seems to matter is only the part that affects them, it doesn’t matter what actually is happening legally,[…]

                      Yes that seems to be so, but that’s OK actually. If, by some extralegal magic, the case was made to disappear, I highly doubt the blog owners would be screaming bloody murder either (I probably wouldn’t if my dad was put in jail especially if the effective, apparent law of the land was different at the time of his alleged actions). It is those of us (or our representatives) who don’t feel that we have as direct a stake/side in the case who might be expected to stand behind due process and the members of the judiciary who are duty (oath?) bound to do so. It is that weakness in that section of the society and the institutions that’s worrying.

                      I think this is directly related to the issue you are raising. What do you think?

                      I have read what you wrote and I think I understand where you want to take it. I don’t know if the chain of reasoning can be made to work if things stay on secular ground. Perhaps it can be, if one argues leaps of faith on things that are knowable in principle but are unknown are no different than asserting things about the unknowable. Rather than speculating about this, I’d try to find out what others have said about it. Any pointers? (Y’know, you are the one in the land of the free and the home of the good public library. Rich ‘cultured’ people build expensive malls here and take pride in the brand names sewn on their behinds. I’m in the wrong country to get curious about such things.)

                    • acracia Says:

                      Bulent Bey,

                      “Yes that seems to be so, but that’s OK actually. If, by some extralegal magic, the case was made to disappear, I highly doubt the blog owners would be screaming bloody murder either (I probably wouldn’t if my dad was put in jail especially if the effective, apparent law of the land was different at the time of his alleged actions).”

                      Ok, I see what you mean. People have every right to react against what is touching them personally. But do they have the right to use this reaction for aggression, to abuse, engage in character assassination as if their group’s past is clean? I have never seen the blog owners put their nose in other people’s marriage and make indecent personal comments, insult others’ heritage, speak insensitively and insultingly here. And yet, in the name of “legal fairness” those people come here and smear their hatred all over.

                      What is scary is not their claim of their own battles; what is scary is how this is done. This is evident in almost everything that surrounds this trial. And the amount of hatred.

                      So if religion, politics or ideology are also belief-based systems, respecting all or maintaining a distance becomes difficult. But that, even if with a lip service, might be the only way to make this tolerable. I cannot believe how satisfied people can get over torturing others.

                      “I have read what you wrote and I think I understand where you want to take it. I don’t know if the chain of reasoning can be made to work if things stay on secular ground.”

                      What I meant by rational was not in the good-old-Enlightenment way in opposition to religion, but what I meant by that was somebody whose reasoning capacities you can trust. As I said, calling something BS can happen, but at the end of the day everyone can call that to each other.

                      After he vomited all over this blog, I went and read Bekir Bey’s blog, because I was curious. He completely thinks what is being said in this blog is BS, so he is the decider in that case. But I don’t believe so. So, then, we are again speaking about the unknowable, because we actually don’t know what is behind this trial, but we all have our beliefs based on our disposition. So I am not sure it needs to be on secular grounds.

                      “Perhaps it can be, if one argues leaps of faith on things that are knowable in principle but are unknown are no different than asserting things about the unknowable. Rather than speculating about this, I’d try to find out what others have said about it. Any pointers?”

                      This is metaphysics and epistemology in philosophy.

                      “(Y’know, you are the one in the land of the free and the home of the good public library. Rich ‘cultured’ people build expensive malls here and take pride in the brand names sewn on their behinds. I’m in the wrong country to get curious about such things.)”

                      I don’t know what you think about where I am, but the public library here is quite crappy. Even though you probably know them, I posted two sources for you on the other page:

                      worldcat.org –an online academic-search database (add the www)

                      http://www.questia.com –an online public library.

                      You may also want to check stanford encyclopedia of philosophy.

                  • acracia Says:

                    btw: I do realize that geometrically-speaking, you cannot be equidistant from all As and Bs, but this is a metaphor I tried to use to indicate an acceptable level of objectivity required by professionalism.

                    Cevapla

                    • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

                      Actually you can be, but you need multiple dimensions. When did this term come into use? I am fairly sure that it was not in common usage in the 70s or early 80s. I wouldn’t have been baffled when I first heard it, otherwise. (All IMHO.) It is used to define AKP-style secularism sometimes but it seems be left over from RPs (not openly talked about perhaps) approach with multiple systems of law for very few religious communities (just Islam + ehl-i kitap perhaps). In that context it does make some sense, since the points are a very small number and are fixed.

                    • acracia Says:

                      This is a very good question. You know, it is rather new terminology, I think. And when it was started to be used, in my mind, I must have associated it with objectivity. How about that? I would say that it entered my vocabulary within the last 10 years perhaps.

                      When I mentioned geometry, I was trying to envision geography as a geometric space and thinking of maps and our points of reference, and how it is hard to be distant from something when you are situated within as opposed to being an outsider. Although true, this too is simplistic. (Advocating distance for analysis is nothing new however, at least since the end of 18th century European/Continental philosophy.)

                      This said, you are right, multiple dimensions are necessary for equidistance–even though this probably wasn’t what you meant: this within itself metaphorically makes a lot of sense, as in order to make a (there you go:) fair judgment of a situation, one needs to be able to look at something from its multiple layers and dimensions.

                      And if I were to think of this case (Sledghammer) as an example, can we not see it to be a perfect example of what we are talking about?

              • fmerakli Says:

                Acracia,

                If you understand my point does that mean that your answer to my question of whether you really think that “the Harvard community has been exposed to only one viewpoint as Rodrik argues?” is yes?

                I also tend to disagree with your comment saying that Rodrik did not target the invitees but Zaman in his email. When I read the below part, this is not the sense I get especially when Rodrik mentioned Cengiz and Mahcupyan as being complicit in the process (Ingilizcesi yeterli olmayanlar icin kucuk bir aciklama comlicit kelimesi suc ortagi/yardakci anlamina gelmektedir):

                “Turkey is going through a wrenching period, with truth often the casualty in the ongoing battle between the AKP and the Gulenists on the one side and the secular old guard on the other. Unfortunately, the “democratic liberals” who are allied with the first camp are showing an equal disregard for facts, evidence, and the rule of law as the authoritarian forces from the past that they take on. Etyen Mahcupyan and Orhan Kemal Cengiz are among those who are complicit in this process.”

                So what I understood from the above excerpt, he deliberately targeted Mahcupyan and Cengiz.

                I also understand that you are fed up with Zaman and Taraf, but it shouldn’t prevent you to see that Rodrik actually lied when he wrote that the Harvard community has been exposed only one viewpoint considering that amongst others, Rodrik himself presented his viewpoints twice to the Harvard community.

                So adding Zaman and Taraf into the equation, four wrongs don’t make it a right.

                Cevapla

                • acracia Says:

                  Fmerakli:

                  I hate to break the news to you, but Zaman has been a direct part of this from the very beginning. Reread the email, how does it begin?

                  “This is the second Zaman columnist the program has featured in the last two months. This is a newspaper that may have the appearance of championing democratic values but operates, in reality, as a vast disinformation machine. I know this from first-hand experience, but anyone who is willing to do a bit of research can figure it out on his/her own.”

                  And it ends up in explaining what Zaman has done. Only then it turns to state that those two guest speakers are part of this scheme, because they are writing there. And so, you are not only misinterpreting the text (that this is not about Zaman!), but also stating the obvious: yes, the object of the email is the guest speaker, engaged through his being a columnist in Zaman. So?

                  Have you considered if these figures are so amazing, why, oh why, they are still writing in the lying machine that Zaman is? (And this is not even a value judgment; it is a fact.) Apparently, not. But I do. I do wonder. And if these figures are so democratic and impartial, they could criticize the newspaper’s editorial policy: publishing based on lies. But then, of course, they would be fired—like Andy (Finkel).

                  I have never met Dani Rodrik, but I put myself in the position of a person about whom a newspaper constantly publishes lies and even asks Harvard to do something about him, as if he were a child and there were no freedom of speech, and if I had constantly tried to engage in a dialogue with not only the chief editor but also with some columnists but haven’t heard back from them, I too would have been concerned about adding new voices among the invitees of the same center. Each center has a different set of audience, and in this case it is Kokkalis.

                  To add even more insult to the injury, this attitude displayed by Orhan Kemal Cengiz exemplifies what I disapprove in Zaman and in some of Taraf. And adding insult to the injury, Zaman removes the English article but print the Turkish one. How ethical this indeed is! It speaks volumes.

                  No, Fmerakli, nobody is adding them to the equation. Without Taraf and Zaman’s lies, there would be no need for such emails. Nor for such posts as mine. In the case of this trial, it is not whom you support, but what you stand against. And I stand against unethical behavior. And in my opinion, Zaman embodies it. And I have no respect for someone who withdraws the article in English but prints it in Turkish instead.

                  Cevapla

                  • fmerakli Says:

                    Acracia,

                    You are twisting the issue, but that’s fine – thanks to Ilhan Bey’s email, I now have a better understanding why you are doing so.

                    You tried, I think unsuccessfully, to argue that Rodrik’s concern was to add new voices to the Kokkalis. That wasn’t the case you know, because he talked about the Harvard community, not the audience of the Kokkalis programme. I earlier said that two wrongs don’t make a right, but two facts can actually make a lie:

                    FACT 1. The Harvard community has been exposed to opposing views thanks to the events, amongst others, which Rodrik himself presented his views to the Harvard community twice.

                    FACT 2. Rodrik wrote in his email the contrary by framing it as his fear the Harvard community is being exposed to the view that Mahcupyan and Cengiz represent.

                    It is as apparent as the sun on a bright summer day that Rodrik was not telling the truth in his email given that the Harvard community has already been exposed the view supported by himself in various occasions.

                    Coming back to Ilhan bey’s email, you resist to acknowledge this simple fact that Rodrik was not truthful in his email because apparently you also suffer from “selective blindness” as described by Ilhan bey as following:

                    “We do not search the facts, but select the information that fits our already established opinion and ignore the others. Selective blindness is the norm in our land.”

                    You and many others in this blog find it inconvenient to acknowledge, at least publicly, that the two facts I mentioned above make a lie, but because it does not fit your already established opinion, it is then OK to ignore.

                    Cevapla

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      You are the master of selective perception and king of half truths. acracia can not come close even if he tried to …

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Can bey,

                      I must say I find it quite funny that I was accused of being the master of selective perception and king of half truths by someone who had previously argued that Mustafa Balbay’s notes were fake – the notes that he never said they were fake, the notes that he just believed they ceased to exist for himself when he erased the files from his harddisk.

                      The world is already full of surprises, but with you and your line of thinking it is even more so…

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      Go back and read what I wrote before. You will see that you are still distorting the discussion about Balbay in your mind. Perhaps this is how your mind works. I do not know.

                      Let me try to explain one last time. In baby steps:

                      1. Balbay wrote a large amounts of notes. For himself, as a journalist. Meeting all kinds of people including military and government officials, and even the head of state. FACT: meeting all kinds of people and taking notes is a job definition for a journalist.

                      2. In 2007, during a computer upgrade, he decided to discard all of these notes. These notes were NOT copied to his new computer at all. FACT: This is from Balbay’s statement, which is also supported by the manufacturing date of the new hard drive.

                      3. When he got arrested and accused of being a member of the so called Ergenekon terrorist organization, a selected subset of these notes he made years ago magically appeared on his new laptop. FACT: The investigators found the notes were erased. The dates of the files, however, were older than the hard-drive itself (i.e. Ornek’s diary, 2006). If they were copied during computer upgrade, the creation dates of the files would have reflected the date the copy was made (i.e. 2007).

                      4. These magical notes form the basis of the accusations against him.

                      5. Balbay, being a truthful and honest person, does NOT deny that these are parts of his notes. He does point out that the notes are taken out of context and arranged in a way to incriminate him.

                      The points #2 and #3 above point to an external and illegal manipulation of evidence. Such a thing may be fun to watch as an espionage thriller movie, and works well as an episode of Mission Impossible. However, in real world, this is a crime that must be investigated.

                      This external manipulation may have altered the “evidence”, and removed pieces that would benefit Balbay. Therefore, it is NOT admissible as an evidence in a modern court of law without additional investigation and a satisfactory explanation.

                      This is NOT about defending Balbay. This is about making sure the justice system is fair. You failed to get this important point before, and you will not get it this time either. You love talking about facts, but you will ignore the above facts as usual. This is how your selective perception works. I bet your mind already blanked halfway through this post.

                      Selectively enjoy your life …

                    • acracia Says:

                      Whatever you say, Fmerakli. I see no point in further arguing this issue with you. Everything is clear and open. Whoever reads these posts will decide for himself or herself.

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Yes, the magical notes – the notes that he never called fake, the notes that he never said they don’t belong himself…

                      Funny isn’t it?

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      Thanks for proving my point once again. You really are the king!

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      You are welcome. I also respect your determination. 🙂

                    • acracia Says:

                      Can Bey:

                      This is speaking in vain; of course, we all know this is not about Balbay, actually making it about Balbay is to shut your critical voice and to imply that based on that reference, we should not find you credible. You had openly stated when discussing Balbay that you were not defending him but that because of the present dynamics you were so revolted that you had found yourself in the position of even questioning those issues.

                      This is also my situation actually. Because I find the present dynamics so unacceptable and an insult against my intelligence that I started to even question things I would not question before, like the authenticity of the diaries of a general, which under normal circumstances I wouldn’t even think twice were authentic.

                      In the face of such lies we witnessed through the evidence displayed on this blog, and discrepant logic displayed by your interlocutor in his interpretations and sorry but ridiculous accusations, I find myself in the position of questioning even the foundations of the politics that create such mindsets and dynamics as well as every single thing presented to me as a fact that I should believe in.

                      So yes, making this about Balbay is very cheap.

                      Most people who follow this blog know very well what manipulation means. And most people are aware as you have seen in the Turkish section in reply to your interlocutor.
                      Fmerakli has shown here numerous times a sloppy at best and bad intentioned at worst references to facts. The quotes he used in the past did not belong to the people he claimed they did, etc. So yes, there is a lot to say. But pushing you with this dirty trick in a position to defend yourself and give explanations is not very nice.

                      And I am saying this, but I may not have much in common with you in general politics by the way. And maybe I might even have more in common with Fmerakli in abstract politics (not about the interpretation of facts). But I don’t think you and I need to agree politically to be on the same page in ethics.

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      I agree that most people who follow this blog knows what manipulation means.

                      If one questions the authenticity of Balbay’s diary, this basically means to me that the principal aim behind such an act is to manipulate the issue, given the fact that Baybal himself has never questioned the authenticity of his notes. He even used those notes when he wrote the series of articles published in Cumhuriyet – but only after they were used as the evidence of the charges directed to him in the Ergenekon indictment.

                      So if one labels those notes as magical notes, I think it is not unfair to say that it is a cheap manipulation.

                      To me it is also fair to remind this if and when the same person accuses me of being the master of selective perception and king of half truths. It is not to shut Can bey’s critical voice, but to demonstrate how Can bey is actually capable of manipulating issues. I don’t think I or anyone else can actually shut Can bey’s or anyone’s critical voice in this blog at all.

                      And Acracia, I haven’t counted but you mentioned about the quote I gave not belonging to the person several times recently:

                      ————-
                      Demirel’in bu sozunu daha once duymamistim, ancak “bana milliyetciler adam olduruyor dedirtemezsiniz” demisligi de vardir Demirel’in…

                      Yorum tarafından fmerakli — 26 Şubat 2011 @ 13:09 | Cevapla

                      o dediginiz “sagcilar” degil miydi?

                      Yorum tarafından acracia — 26 Şubat 2011 @ 18:49 | Cevapla

                      Dogru agzindan cikan kelime sagcilar idi, ben zihnimde biraktigi izi yazmisim…

                      ———————

                      I must also say that I find it quite “cheap” (or “cig” in using Ilhan bey’s concept) and see it as a “dirty trick” that you have been raising the mistake I made over and over again – the mistake that 1. it has nothing to do with the core issues discussed in this blog; 2. I also acknowledged that it was a mistake.

                      I also agree with you that there is no point further discussion the issue about Rodrik’s email. The truth will speak for itself – at least for those who do not suffer from selective blindness.

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      acracia,

                      Thank you for your concern. In this particular case I do not consider myself to be forced into defense. In fact, I baited fmerakli and he fell for it. He revealed his selective and biased thought process while he was trying to prove otherwise. I am pretty happy with the outcome.

                      By the way, I am enjoying the “off topic” discussions between you, Bulent bey and Ilhan bey very much. It helps me clarify a lot of the same concerns occupying my mind lately. I do not have time to contribute yet but I am reading every word.

                      Best regards …

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Come on Can Bey,

                      It was so apparent from your second comment above (the one with magical notes) that you were happy(!) with the outcome. Your are really full of surprises, but by the way the life is full of surprises too. What you write to Acracia reminded me of an old Turkish saying:

                      He who goes hunting gets hunted…

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      You said:

                      If one questions the authenticity of Balbay’s diary, this basically means to me that the principal aim behind such an act is to manipulate the issue, given the fact that Baybal himself has never questioned the authenticity of his notes. He even used those notes when he wrote the series of articles published in Cumhuriyet

                      You are wrong once again. Balbay did question the authenticity of the “diary” found on his computer. He said he did not have a diary but notes accumulated over 10 years. He also claimed that the diary found in the computer was constructed by mixing and matching sections from his notes. You are the one who is twisting the facts to meet your needs. You are the master manipulator and king of half truths.

                      Just to prove you did not understand a thing (my theory about your mind blanking halfway through seems to be valid) you say this:

                      So if one labels those notes as magical notes, I think it is not unfair to say that it is a cheap manipulation.

                      You once again choose to misunderstand the word “magical”. I think this is where your mind blanked and you stopped reading the rest of the comment. Once again it is past halfway through and know it is hard, but please bear with me a little more.

                      The notes were labeled as “magical” not because of their contents, but by the virtue of their ability to magically and selectively transport from the old computer to the new one, in the mean time rearranging themselves into a diary. They then promptly get deleted until being recovered by the investigators. If this is not magic, then I do not know what is.

                      It is as if an intimate photo of you and your ex-girlfriend magically finding its way into your family album. It is either a very bad joke, or someone is trying to destroy your family.

                      I harbor no illusions about you understanding it. That is why I am having so much fun. So will the readers, I am sure.

                      Selectively keep up the good work …

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Yet he used the very same notes in writing his series of articles published in Cumhuriyet. Such a magic, isn’t it?

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      No he did not.

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Yes he did, and I really find it difficult to comprehend why you keep lying about Balbay’s notes.

                      The whole idea behind the series he wrote was to contextualize the notes appeared in the indictment differently from the prosecutors with the hope that what he was involved in still looked like a sort of journalism. That was a terribly bad and hopeless attempt I must say, and the series did not create the impact Balbay tried to create at all.

                      Below I will give an example as an evidence of how he used the notes recovered from his harddisk (later appeared in the indictment) in his series of articles titled Gerilimli Yillar that he published in Cumhuriyet.

                      I am sorry for those who does not know Turkish but I will not translate the excerpts that I have taken from Balbay’s article and the 2nd Ergenekon indictment, but you can still follow the sequence of the words. Not to offend Can Bey, but I believe one does not even know Turkish to see that he used the notes in his article. I will not translate those, because I really prefer to spend my time in doing more meaningful things than that.

                      The below excerpt from the 2nd Ergenekon indictment:

                      ————
                      *“GUN1202.TXT” isimli dosya içerisinde,

                      “26 Aralık 2002” başlığı altında, “YAŞ toplandı. 7 irticacı atıldı… 27 Aralık cuma günü haberi aldım. YAŞ’ta 1.5 saat tartışma yaşanıyor. Gül ve Gönül, atılmaya karşı çıkıyor. Bizim tabana mesaj oluyor. Aleyhimize oluyor diyor. YAŞ’ın 21 üyesi var. Başbakan ve Savunma Bakanı sivil. Ötekiler askeri. Tartışmadan sonra oylama yapalım deniyor. Yapılıyor tüm askerler atılsın diyor, ikisi hayır diyor. Bu büyük olasılıkla askerin içinde bir diş sökebilir miyiz, biri hayır der mi arayışı olabilir, bunun üzerine, YAŞ kararları yargıya gitmediği için bunun antidemokratik olduğu yönünde bir şerh düşerek imza koyuyorlar.
                      Bunu Tuncer KILINÇ’a yaveri aracılığıyla doğrulattık. Mustafa ne biliyorsa yazsın’ demiş. Gece de Aytaç YALMAN notum üzerine aradı: sen bildiklerini söyle, doğru ya da yanlış diyeceğim’ dedi. Anlattım, doğru dedi, ama dedi haberin büyüğünü henüz alamamışsınız…”

                      ————–

                      And this one is from Balbay’s article:

                      ————————

                      Asıl önemli haber ise daha sonra geldi.

                      Başbakan Gül ve Milli Savunma Bakanı (MSB) Vecdi Gönül ordudan atılmalara şerh koymuşlardı.

                      Bu bir ilkti. Haber bana da geldi. Birkaç gazete daha haberin peşindeydi. Ancak doğrulatmak gerekiyordu.

                      Haberi araştırırken bir gazeteci arkadaşım aradı, kendisine gelen bilgi “kesin şerh konduğu” yönündeydi. 3 subay 4 astsubay, toplam 7 kişi atılmıştı.

                      Kaynağının sağlam olduğunu söylüyordu.

                      Bir şansımı deneyeyim dedim, dönemin Milli Güvenlik Kurulu Genel Sekreteri Org. Tuncer Kılınç’ı aradım.

                      Emir subayına ulaştım.

                      Konuyu sordular. Aldığım bilgiyi özetledim. Emir subayı da Org. Kılınç’a aktardı. Emir subayı şu karşılığı verdi:

                      “Mustafa Bey, komutanımız ne biliyorsa yazsın dedi”.

                      Haber Cumhuriyet’te birinci sayfadan yayımlandı. Başta Hürriyet, Milliyet olmak üzere öteki gazeteler de doğal olarak konuyu işledi.

                      HABERİN BÜYÜĞÜNÜ ALAMAMIŞSINIZ

                      Haberle ilgili olarak Kara Kuvvetleri Komutanı Org. Aytaç Yalman’ı aradım. Yanıtı şu oldu: Şerh doğru ama, haberin büyüğünü alamamışsınız.

                      ——————

                      Of course Balbay also used his notes by adopting a sort of “selective blindness”, but one can easily find many similar examples. More importantly in anywhere in the series he wrote he argued that the notes are not authentic. He even said that those notes should have brought him an award if he worked on them to get published. Obviously he would have never done that and of course one can also ask if they were such important, award-bringing notes, why did he decide to erase them from his harddisk (or let someone erase them with his permission)?:

                      ——–
                      Şu noktanın da altını çizmeden geçemeyeceğim.

                      Eğer ben bu notları, ayrı bir iş edinip işleseydim, altını üstünü doldursaydım, muhataplarıyla yeniden konuşup izin verdikleri ölçüde kaleme alsaydım ve yeni bilgilerle bir yazı dizisi haline getirseydim ödül alırdım.

                      ————–

                      I know that you (and also Acracia) question the authenticity of Ornek’s notes as well. I will give two excerpts again one from Balbay’s article and the other from Ornek’s notes from the 2nd Ergenekon indictment. The excerpts relate to a talk between Balbay and Gen. Ozkok, and gives a similar portait to the one above:

                      ———————-
                      The excerpt from the 2nd Ergenekon indictment:

                      “Yabancı basın organlarında yer alan Türkiye’de darbe olabilir mi şeklindeki yayınlar hakkında ne düşündüğü sorulunca Org. Özkök. “darbe sözcüğünün bu odada konuşulmasını bile reddediyorum. Onlar Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri’ni tanımıyorlar” dedi.”

                      “Genelkurmay Başkanı bir başka konuya da özenle vurgu yaparak, Komutanlar arasında görüş ayrılığı varmış gibi gösterilmesinin yanlış olduğunu söyledi.”,

                      “Org. Özkök, “Hassasiyetlerinizi iletiyorsunuz. Bir şey yapılmazsa ne olacak sorusuna” “bu soruya cevap vermek istemiyorum” diye yanıt verdi. “,

                      “28 Şubat devam ediyor mu” sorusunu ise şöyle yanıtladı:

                      “28 Şubat sebep sonuç ilişkisidir. Sebep ortadan kalmadıktan sonra sonuç da devam eder”,

                      —————

                      And now let’s look at what Balbay wrote about that meeting in his article:

                      28 Şubat devam ediyor mu?

                      Özkök: Şimdi şöyle, doğru cevap almayı hak etmek için suali de çok doğru sormak lazım. Ben dedim ki 28 Şubat bir sebep-sonuç ilişkisidir. Sebep ortadan kalkmadan sonuç da ortadan kalkmaz. Ben bu kadar açık söyledim. Aynen böyle dedim.

                      – İngiltere’deki strateji kuruluşu Türkiye’de darbe olasılığından söz ediyor. Bunu nasıl değerlendiriyorsunuz?

                      Özkök: Bu sözün bu mekânda konuşulmasını bile istemiyorum. Türkiye büyük bir devlettir. TSK büyük bir silahlı kuvvetlerdir. Onlar bizi tanıyamadıklarından… Böyle bir şeyi konuşmayı şiddetle reddediyorum. Biz büyük bir devletiz, büyük bir orduyuz.

                      ———————-

                      So Can bey, I think your condition goes beyond selective blindness, it looks more like an eclipse of mind to me – especially when it comes to Balbay’s notes.

                      Please also note that I will not carry on this discussion with you, because it cannot go anywhere considering your state of mind regarding those notes.

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      I am really impressed with your ability to distort the truth. Your arguments do nothing to prove that Balbay used the notes to write the “Gerilimli Yiılar” series in Cumhuriyet. He could have written the very same articles based on his already published daily columns, his recollections of the events and records other than the notes in question. Note that he did not have access to the notes in the confiscated computer or his notes since he was wrote this series while under custody. The only thing related to notes he could access was probably the content leaked to other newspapers. He may have used or responded to some of those.

                      Just for the record, the first example you gave is about a comment from YALMAN. This was about the controversial “Young officers are uneasy” article Balbay published in Cumhuriyet. I am sure he can recite the events surrounding it from memory without needing any notes.

                      The second excerpt you gave is from a press conference where Org. Ozkok answered questions from the reporters, and you imply that these could only have come from Balbay’s private notes. This is hilarious. The fact that excerpts from a press conference appear in the indictment tells a lot about the way the indictment is prepared, by the way.

                      If pointing out your biased arguments and obvious selective reasoning makes me look like I am defending Balbay, so be it.

                      Unfortunately for you, my arguments do not depend on whether Balbay is guilty or not. My only problem is with the lack of proper procedures and fairness in these trials. I am not trying to prove that Balay is innocent. I am only pointing out the inaccuracies misconduct in the trials. You, on the other hand, start with the assumption that Balbay is guilty. All your arguments are constructed to support this. This state of mind makes you construct elaborate and eventually flawed arguments. These lead to longer and even more confusing rhetoric to which people fail to respond, or you drop the subject completely, acting as if nothing happened. In your mind you always win. From outside, you look funny.

                      As I said before, you are the master manipulator and king of selective reasoning.

                      All hail the King!

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Am I distorting the truth? You said he DID NOT use the notes in his articles, and I showed with a clear example that it was not the case.

                      Of course it was not difficult to do that, anyone can read both texts can easily do so.

                      But given your state of mind regarding his notes, I was indeed expecting such a reply.

                      So it is up to the readers to decide whether he used his notes in his articles.

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      I said he did not use his notes. He could not have because he did not have access to the notes. I also explained how he can write about the same things without using these notes. Yes, you are the master and the king …

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Can Bey,

                      You are the one who keeps distorting the truths, but I am the one being the master of manipulators. This must be a joke.

                      What you wrote is just wrong – blatantly wrong indeed. So just another attempt of distorting the truth.

                      You wrote that:

                      “He could not have because he did not have access to the notes. I also explained how he can write about the same things without using these notes”

                      This is not true, and again two facts will make another lie coming from you:

                      Fact 1: As you can see from the below link his first piece of article in the series was published on 19 June 2009.

                      http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/?im=yhs&kid=24&hn=63252

                      Fact 2: As you can see from the below link, the 2nd Ergenekon indictment was accepted by the court and became available to the general public including Baybal as one of the defendants on 26 March 2009

                      http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/11286391.asp

                      So he had access to the notes like everybody else including yourself between March and June 2009, because the indictment became public around two months before he published his articles. So your explanation of how he could write without notes is irrelevant, because you explained something that did not exist.

                      If there is a king of manipulator in this discussion around Balbay’s notes, there is no doubt that he/she should be the one giving inaccurate information in his/her every comment.

                      What I mean is that when it comes to manipulate this very issue, noone can pour water on your hands…

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      I am sure I checked the dates and somehow concluded that the indictment was published in July. I was wrong. Thanks for pointing it out. It still does not explain how the notes jumped from his old computer to the new one. In fact, it reinforces the possibility that the notes were manipulated/copied externally.

                      See? If Balbay had access to the notes before the indictment was published, that would mean he kept another copy, and that he was not telling the truth when he claimed that his old notes were gone with his old computer.

                      You also had a statement along the same lines:

                      Below I will give an example as an evidence of how he used the notes recovered from his harddisk (later appeared in the indictment) in his series of articles titled Gerilimli Yillar that he published in Cumhuriyet.

                      The above sentence implies that Balbay had access to the notes before the indictment, which you have shown to be incorrect.

                      The magic of the notes remain unexplained. Combined with the fact that Balbay’s computer was collected and examined without being imaged first, which is a violation of the evidence collection procedures, this clearly points to some mischief.

                      Thank you for selectively invalidating your own arguments…

                    • acracia Says:

                      Can bey:

                      Thank you for your reply. I think you might be right.

                      As for our conversation with Ilhan Kemal and Bulent Murtezaoglu: when I come to think of it, I hope the blog owners won’t mind, but actually this might be a useful conversation for some of us at least (I know it is for me) to reconsider the background and the bigger picture that inform some assumptions, problems, power play, miscommunications that not only surround the case of Sledgehammer in the media, in this blog, etc but also is manifest in the actual treatment of it (as well as other cases).

                      Fmerakli:

                      You;

                      1) equate Zaman with Dani Rodrik in this case.

                      Because you equate a newspaper that has consistently published lies (verifiable fact), launched character assassinations against him (verifiable fact), asked Harvard indirectly to “do something” about him as if her were a child and there were no freedom of speech (verifiable fact), tried to discredit Rodrik on the grounds of his being Jewish and referred to him as “yabanci damat” (foreign son-in-law) even though he is as much born and raised in Turkey as them from what I understand and thus probably unwillingly exposed its true antisemitism with the Freudian slip (verifiable fact);[1]

                      *and* Dani Rodrik who *interpreted* the invitation of two guest speakers who write in that *same* newspaper by the same program (Kokkalis) as not introducing alternative voices.

                      “Zaman and Dani Rodrik are equally wrong” you say [see your Turkish post]? Wrong.

                      2) You said: “So adding Zaman and Taraf into the equation, four wrongs don’t make it a right.” implying that Zaman was not part of this, but that it was outside the equation and that I was the one who added it to the equation.

                      In response, I said that Zaman was part of this from the very beginning and that it suffices to read Dani Rodrik’s email which clearly is directly engaging Zaman.

                      Your response? “Acracia, you are twisting the issue”

                      Wrong. It was anchoring the conversation where it should be: Zaman.

                      3) All this time, unlike others including yourself, I have refrained from making any comments about the persona or political opinions of the blog owners or Cetin Dogan. There is a simple reason for this: a) the legal principle of “voir dire.” Not respecting this makes it about them and not about the illegality that surrounds Sledgehammer.
                      b) And yet, many including Zaman (and yourself, to a different degree) gladly make it ad hominem–about the persona of the involved. (And for the record: this doesn’t make you the same as Zaman, but it shows a parallel in engaging the person and not the problems, shady practices, lies surrounding this case).

                      And ad nauseam, I am reading those, with the hopes that one will engage the problems and not the people. Ad nauseam, I am discovering people are choosing the easy path and attack the people involved instead. Everyone has flaws. Everyone
                      can do things we disagree with.

                      And I condemn those who are too comfortable under their skin to make it about the people and not about the inconsistencies, lies, injustice which are characteristic of not only Sledgehammer but also other trials.

                      4) I am over-saturated by the lies and how people who are supposed to have some principle to show a lack of decency. Yet, again, you showed the same approach by making it about the persona and not the event with Orhan Kemal Cengiz.

                      You initially tried to make it about the guy (by giving us that lengthy cv and his activities in human rights) rather than the actual dynamic here. Looking at this CV should supposedly create an authority around the figure of this person, I guess? Well, bad news. No. Actually it made him look worse. Because a) He lied about Rodrik, b) he withdrew the article in English to please the Harvard crowd but an article in Turkish was published instead, c) He said Rodrik has become a spokesperson of Ergenekon (wrong) and that he spreads lies (wrong: because everything on this blog is documented). Ad nauseam.

                      5) You want to call Dani Rodrik a liar, go ahead.

                      In the past you were also very quick to jump to conclusions and implied that he and Pinar Dogan were agents of the army when you suspect their source of information and then, following an uploaded document that illustrated their source (the lawyer) you had realized your mistake and had to apologize.[2]

                      See, I gave your jumping to conclusions regarding the persona of these people credit for a long time and finally
                      came to the conclusion myself that they are not circumstantial but follow a pattern. You distort data, manipulate what you read, and I don’t know (and don’t care) why you are doing it, but you are. You are doing it.

                      And yes:

                      Incidentally (“hasbelkader”), I may find myself in the position of defending Dani Rodrik. But the point for me is not to defend him or anyone blindly as you purport ridiculously, but to raise a voice when I see unfair and bizarre equations as yours.

                      So you want to call me blindly selective? Go ahead and do
                      it. I prefer being called that way by you than being part of this moral bankruptcy.

                      Finally, let me share one ancient phrase I have always found humbling:

                      “Know thyself.”

                      I humbly suggest you do the same.

                      ************
                      [1] Just a few examples: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-233347-how-does-rodrik-affect-harvard-universitys-image.html

                      https://cdogangercekler.wordpress.com/2011/03/04/zaman-gazetesine-gore-musevi-iseniz-%E2%80%9Cyabanci%E2%80%9D-oluyorsunuz/

                      [2] https://cdogangercekler.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/yine-gelecege-donus-belgeler-bu-defa-golcuk%E2%80%99ten/#comment-2034

                      https://cdogangercekler.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/yine-gelecege-donus-belgeler-bu-defa-golcuk%E2%80%99ten/#comment-2049

                      2) already have

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Can bey,

                      You keep distorting the truth and adding new lies to your series.

                      You said he did not use his notes his articles, and I showed that that was not the case.

                      You said he couldn’t use his notes, because he was in custody and had no access to them. I showed that that was another distortion of the truth, as he had access his notes for around two months before he published his series of articles like anybody else, as they became public as part of the indictment.

                      You came up with a brand new lie in your last comment that I said or suggested in my earlier comments that Balbay had access to the notes before the indictment was published. I never said that, even the quote you took from my comment has no implication as such, because I have known since June 2009 that he used the notes appeared in the indictment. I never implied in anyway that he had access to a copy of his notes before the indictment became public.

                      Even if one who does not exactly know when the indictment got accepted by the court and when he started to publish his series would see that I did not imply that in any way – at least someone with basic literacy skills and overall intelligence. I am sure you have both but plus a twisted mind when it comes to Balbay’s notes.

                      Please note that I will not reply your future comments, as I have spent enough time with your lies. You do not deserve further attention simply because you keep producing new lies in your every single comment. So I leave you here with your past and future lies.

                      See? If Balbay had access to the notes before the indictment was published, that would mean he kept another copy, and that he was not telling the truth when he claimed that his old notes were gone with his old computer.

                      You also had a statement along the same lines:

                      Below I will give an example as an evidence of how he used the notes recovered from his harddisk (later appeared in the indictment) in his series of articles titled Gerilimli Yillar that he published in Cumhuriyet.

                      The above sentence implies that Balbay had access to the notes before the indictment, which you have shown to be incorrect.

                      The magic of the notes remain unexplained. Combined with the fact that Balbay’s computer was collected and examined without being imaged first, which is a violation of the evidence collection procedures, this clearly points to some mischief.

                      Thank you for selectively invalidating your own arguments…

                    • fmerakli Says:

                      Acracia,

                      1) I am not equating Zaman and Rodrik in the way you tried to portrait. Yes, Zaman has published lies like all other newspapers in the Turkish media. Yes, Zaman published more lies in relation to the Balyoz case than most of the other newspapers in the Turkish media? So what, does it make Rodrik, or anybody else, someone who cannot distort the truth?

                      I am just saying that he distorted the truth when he said that he fears the Harvard community in his own words, not the audience of the Kokkalis as you and other suggested, is being exposed to the view represented by Mahcupyan and Cengiz when the Harvard Community has been exposed to the views supported Rodrik himself and others in various occasions.

                      So I am still saying that when it comes to distorting the truth I don’t see much difference between them.

                      2) I am sorry for the misunderstanding I caused, but I was saying quite the contrary. I was actually saying that Zaman was indeed part of this, I did not mean that you added it to the equation. With two wrongs, I referred Rodrik and Cengiz, and as you mentioned rightly Zaman and Taraf as examples, I, not you, just added them to the equation.

                      My response of “Acracia, you are twisting the issue” was actually related the issue #1 above”

                      “You are twisting the issue, [because] you tried, I think unsuccessfully, to argue that Rodrik’s concern was to add new voices to the Kokkalis.”

                      3) I haven’t said anything about Rodrik’s persona and did not attack his personality in any way. If Rodrik has also felt that way, I sincerely apologize for that. I criticized him what he wrote about the views the Harvard community has is being exposed, and I still think that it is a valid criticism giben the fact that he presented his views to the Harvard community in various occasions.

                      I even try not to engage with the persona of Can in spite of all the things he wrote about me even when I clearly illustrate with evidence he is the one constantly distorting the truth.

                      But following the point you made, I must also say that I have question marks whether Rodrik engaged a problem or certain individuals in his email, as he used the word “complicit” for Mahcupyan and Cengiz.

                      But yes, everyone has flaws including Rodrik, and of course us too.

                      4) I think I already replied that. Probably Elaine or the other recipient of Rodrik’s email showed the letter to Cengiz, the he went on and wrote the twits. Later on, he corrected himself after talking to Elaine on Twitter, but he should have also prevented Zaman to further publish the story. I do not know, maybe he tried but he was unsuccessful, maybe he didn’t bother. But I really didn’t see where he said Rodrik became the spokesperson of Ergenekon. If he did so, it is blatantly wrong either. Even though Rodrik and Dogan argued months ago that the AKP and TSK should have come to a political agreement to close both Balyoz and Ergenekon cases down, it doesn’t make Rodrik as the spokesperson of Ergenekon.

                      5) I still say that what he wrote in his email about the Harvard community was factually wrong, and I still believe that it is quite apparent based on the evidence that Rodrik himself has already shared his view with the Harvard community twice in the past. But you employ the age-old dirty trick embodied in the Turkish “discussion culture” – to label one who voices inconvenient things to deal with as manipulator.

                      I know who I am, what I am saying and why I am saying. And to me, whom suffers from moral bankruptcy in this blog is also as apparent as the sun on a bright summer day…

                    • Can Acar Says:

                      fmerakli,

                      You really are the master manipulator. You managed to pull the discussion in to a completely unrelated direction, found a mistake I made about the dates, and used it to conclude that I am lying. I really thought the indictment was after, and your arguments were not convincing, until you pointed out the dates. At least I can admit when I am wrong, yet you used this to claim you are right about the whole thing. Congratulations on your distorted reasoning, and your rhetoric victory.

                      Here is a breakdown of your points leading to your victory:

                      You claim that Balbay using the notes published in the indictment prove that the notes are authentic. Balbay is not disputing the authenticity of the individual notes. He says, he can not remember every word he wrote ten years ago, and these notes look like his for the most part. He is being honest. He is claiming that the notes were selected, organized and taken out of context to incriminate him, yet you ignore this valid point.

                      “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.” This quote attributed to Cardinal Richelieu shows the direction your argument is heading: To the fifteenth century.

                      Throughout the discussion you ignored all the counter arguments showing your claims are biased. I really liked the two examples you gave to prove that Balbay used the notes published in the indictment for his Gizemli Yillar series. One is notes from a press conference, and the other has been beaten to death over the course of Balbay’s controversial article. He could have written about these two without needing any notes, yet you showed it as a proof that Balbay used his notes.

                      In this whole discussion, you managed to ignore the facts pointing to manipulation of evidence, and did not even try to explain how the notes jumped from his old computer to the new one.

                      You are the king of half truths and, as I told you before, you will go away thinking you have won yet another argument. You are so predictable and so biased. You really deserve to be in the fifteenth century.

                      All hail the King!

  3. merttalay Says:

    fmerakli’s criticism is valid. If the bloggers’ concern were to ensure that the Harvard community gets a balanced/full view on the Ergenekon/Balyoz cases, they would have made sure that people with different viewpoints are present at panels which they have themselves organizated/participated. For example, we have a panel with title “Building or Undermining the Rule of Law? Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, and the Future of Turkish Democracy” where the speakers are the bloggers only. How can you get different viewpoints on whether these trials are “building or undermining the rule of law” in a talk where the only speakers are the #1 defendant’s daughter and son-in-law?

    At the end, actions speak louder than words and we do not have any indication that Rodrik’s pressure on the Kokkalis program was aimed to ensure exposure on the full view of the cases.

    Cevapla

    • merttalay Says:

      By the way, from the e-mail published here we see that the bloggers actually tried to discredit Cengiz in the eyes of the organizers, and hence the audience. We also know that both Cengiz and Mahcupyan were not invited to the talks due to their affiliations with Zaman, so it is just a shame to try to discredit someone -even before the person in questions expresses his/her views- just because he is affiliated with an organization that we do not like.

      Cevapla

      • acracia Says:

        Hmm. I thought what was bring discredited was not the persona of the speaker, but the newspaper Zaman and Today’s Zaman–and not wrongly so.

        This being said, the attitude of Orhan Kemal Cengiz about an email that he didn’t read, and his comments followed by the slandering piece in Zaman haven’t proven Rodrik’s assumption about the newspaper wrong now, have they? I wish there were more ethical principles that informed the media. Zaman is far from ethics in this spectrum.

        Cevapla

  4. qwerty Says:

    comment

    Cevapla

  5. ihtimal Says:

    Beyler Cengiz ve daninin sidik yarisini bir kenara birakip, dikkat etmenizi istedigim baska bir konu var! Biraz once kuzey amerikadaki en buyuk sigorta sirketlerinden birisinin yoneticisi arkadasima Dani’nin Elain’e yazigi mektubu okuttum. Ozellikle su bolume takilip ‘battle between the AKP and the Gulenists on the one side and the secular old guard on the other’ Who are AKP and gulenists? diye sordu. Gulenists icin a ‘religious group’ dedim (ne kadar dogru bir tarif bilemiyorum!) and AKP icin ise ‘the governing party in Turkey’ dedim. Arkadasin ilk sordugu soru kac yildan beri iktidardalar ve oy oranlari kac diye sordu. 2002 %36, 2007 %47, 2011 %50 (prediction) dedim. Sonra ilk soyledigi soz ‘Dani is bullshiting’ dedi. 🙂 Ve havadan sudan sohbetimize devam ettik 🙂 Eeee madolyonun oteki yuzunu gor(e)mesekte dusunmek zorundayiz beyler!!!!

    Cevapla

    • Galileo Galilei Says:

      Bravo ihtimal, sounda kesin sonuca ulasmissin. Sor bakalim senin kuzey amerikali sigortaciya nazilerin 1932 – 1939 oy oranlari isiginda hitlerin o donemde almanyanin en hakli adami oldugunumu dusunuyor? sen de mi oyle dusunuyorsun? Sonra havadan sudan sohbetine devam et. Gercekleri gor(e)mesende baskalarinin gorebilecegi ihtimalini dusunmuyormusun?

      Sigortaci tutmadi bir de Homer Simpsona sor bakalim ne diyecek?

      Cevapla

      • ata Says:

        Galileo,

        Ben Homer Simpson ile konuşma fırsatı buldum ; “oy hesabı ile milli egemenlik kutsaldır,çoğunluk şüphesiz ve kesinlikle haklıdır, bu kutsal irade tartışılmaz ve tek kişinin elinde toplanabilir, bu kişinin yaptığı her şey haklı, her söylediği doğru olur.Hitler de, oy oranı ile haklı ve meşru işler yapmıştır.Tam da ileri demokrasiyi gerçekleştirmek üzere iken, milli irade karşıtları ve bu iradeye saygısı olmayanlar tarafından zulme uğramıştır,kendisine darbe yapılmaya çalışılmıştır.” dedi.

        Birasından aldığı yudumdan ve sağ kolunun üstü ile ağzını sildikten sonra devam etti; “…..Adolf’un aldığı oy oranı haklılığını gösteren eşsiz bir kıstastır”
        Sordum, Bart da aynı fikirdeymiş. Homer, Lisa’nın, kendilerinin bu görüşlerini aptalca bulduğunu, ancak Lisa’nın bir anlama-muhakeme sorunu olduğunu söyledi.

        Homer, “Demokrasinin, kendisi ve Bart gibi düşünenlerin ellerinde yükseleceğine inandığını” kendisi gibi olan bir çok insan olduğunu,kuzey amerika da yaşayan bir kuzenini ve ihtimal ki arkadaşını da buna örnek verebileceğini söyledi.

        Homer, her sabah kapısına bırakılan today’s zaman gazetesini göstererek,sahip olduğu bilgi donanımında ve gelişmesinde, bu gazetenin çok olumlu etkisi olduğunu, bu gazeteden yaptığı külahı, çalıştığı nükleer santralde taktığını ve komşusu Flanders’in katıldığı “dinler arası hoşgörü” konulu bir toplantıda öğrenip bana anlattığı üzere bu gazetenin koruyucu vasfı sayesinde, santralde en tehlikeli yerlere bile girebildiğini ve etkilenmediğini ifade etti.

        HOMER, YANIMDAN AYRILIRKEN GÖZ KIRPTI VE İŞARET PARMAĞI İLE BAŞINDAKİ KÜLAHI GÖSTERDİ. İHTİMAL, “KÜLAHIMA ANLAT” ŞEKLİNDE BİR İFADEDE BULUNDU. “HOMER BİLE BU İHTİMALİ GÖRMÜŞ DEMEK Kİ” DEDİM, PES ! DEDİM.. HOMER BİLE DALGASINI GEÇECEK BİRİSİNİ BULMUŞ…

        Cevapla

        • ihtimal Says:

          Evet tam da tahmin edildigi uzere, hic bir zaman halking egemenligini ve soz soyleme hakkini hic kabul etmekeyeceksiniz 🙂 Beyler halkin %85 inin katildigi bir secimde 15 parti icinde %52 oy oranini alan partinin onunu kesme haysiyetsizligini bile hic skilmadan gosterebiliyorsunuz ve gostereceksiniz. Dahan gecen hafta canada da secimler oldu halkin katilim orani %46 ve conservative ler yine kazandi, kimse bunlarda cok oldu ama artik bush turu duzenler bitti demedi, herkes olayi kabullenmis durumda, size neler oluyor acaba?

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          • Galileo Galilei Says:

            yukarida yazdigin sacmalikla bu anlattiklarinin ne alakasi var ihtimal? kim kimin onunu kesmis? senin sigortaci sacmalamis, sen de onun sacmaliklarini isine yarar zannedip ballandira ballandira millete yedirmeye kalkmissin yorumunda. yok sidik yarisiymis, yok madalyonun oteki tarafiymis. Anlattik sana sigortacinin sacmaladigini simdi baska telden caliyorsun: yok halkin iradesine saygimiz yokmus, yok haysiyetsizlikmis filan falan, gec kardesim bu hikayeleri. bosuna demiyoruz git bi de homerla konus diye, mantik olarak onun frekansinda oldugun icin soyluyoruz. tutarli bir iki laf etsen git lisa ile konus diyecegiz.

            Cevapla

            • ihtimal Says:

              Yahu ortada Daninin dedigine gore AKP ve old secular guard arasinda bir battle var. Bende diyorum ki, ortada halkin yaklasik %85 inin katildigi bir secimde yaklasik 15 parti arasinda %52 oy orani ile iktidara gelmesi beklenen ve her secimde oyunu yukseltmis bir parti var. Yani halk var!!! Battle dedigin seyde bu anlamda bullshit oluyor. Demokratik bir sistemde halkin istemedigi sizin destekcisi oldugunuz bir kesim iktidarda kalmak icin savas yapiyor, olay bundan ibaret! Ne var bunda anlasilmayacak?

              Cevapla

              • Galileo Galilei Says:

                ihtimal –

                1. once Dani is bullshitting yazıyorsun, şimdi battle bullshit oluyor!?

                2. hangi kesimin destekçisi olduğumu nereden biliyorsun? Bu blogun konusu birsürü tutuklu sanığın yargılandığı davanın temelini oluşturan iddiaların dayandığı sahtekarlıklar, bu sahtekarlıkları başka yalanlarla örtbas etmeye çalışan medya ve medyadaki ikiyüzlü yorumcular.

                3. Konu siyasete gelince toplumun yarısının oyunu alan bir parti diğer yarısının oyunu alamıyor, demekki en az iki kişden biri iktidar partisini oy verecek kadar beğenmiyor. Oy veren kadar vermeyen de halk. Sonuç olarak Türkiyede siyasi açıdan ortadan bölünmüş bir halk var. İktidarda halk var gerisi kestane mantığında böylece tutmuyor.

                4. iktidarda kimin olduğu belli, iktidarda kalmak için savaş veren birileri varsa herhalde bu iktidardakilerden başkası değil di mi güzel kardeşim?

                özetle yazdıklarının tutar tarafı yok

                Cevapla

  6. acracia Says:

    Ilhan Bey, Bulent Bey:

    I carry the conversation from above to here, and copy my reply to you here as it is a bit overcrowded above. I also make corrections and add something else at the very end, but before I forget, I would like to thank both Bulent Bey and Ilhan Bey for their thoughtful reply:

    First of all, Bulent Bey: I think you are right, we all tell our opinion to our friends, acquaintances about a speaker. In the past, I have even witnessed boycotting of different talks on different subjects. So now that I think about it, that’s not what his email suggests at all, but let’s suppose what Zaman claims is true, what could Rodrik do anyway? Tie people to their chair to prevent them from attending somebody’s talk? And besides, as I said, this is not what the email suggests at all. So there does seem to be a bold lie produced on this email by Zaman that tries to invite people to turn this lie into reality and into an ethical issue.

    This ties to your second, and to the last point Ilhan Bey raises regarding objectivity. I agree with both of you in that objectivity is not possible for humans in social, cultural, political, and psychological issues: there will always be an opinion that will be formed informed by personal experience, exposure to different viewpoints, etc.

    This said, while we all are subjective in our private disposition, there is something very important to note: professionalism. That’s where the difference lies when I say trying to keep an equal distance from everyone in public. For example:

    I may or may not like a student, but I would never allow my feelings to taint my grades (I can even cover the names of the students when grading). Likewise, a judge may or may not like a defendant, but should not allow his/her feelings to taint his/her decision (and in fact, since this is difficult, I believe the jury system to be a lot healthier as instead of one, multiple people from different backgrounds would give a verdict). A police officer may or may not approve certain life style or disposition, but should not use this judgment to arrest somebody. A journalist may or may not like a person, but s/he should not twist facts about that person to manipulate public opinion. A psychologist may or may not approve a client’s persona, but should not use this in his/her diagnosis. An historian might love his/her country, but should not twist facts, silence events or overemphasize others to make that country look better (and yet, all nationalist historiographies do that).

    So perhaps, what I mean is something closer to professionalism. And those who act against this, enter the terrain of ethics. And the Sledgehammer case shows us how violations of professionalism are displayed at many levels.
    This relates to what Ilhan Bey says regarding fairness, although his take on it was from a more interesting angle.

    Regarding respecting all beliefs: well what do we mean by “respect?” Not caring enough to raise a voice? To deeply and actively respect? Well maybe, being impartial in public is not only related to professionalism, but might also be a rhetorical tool for us to live without disturbing each other?

    Ilhan Bey: thanks to you, I also learned a new word; I looked up and read what “meme” means. Perhaps, in relation to this, what you are describing is also how in Turkey while the same institutions exist, they are not exactly the same because different fields are not professionalized enough? Because there is always an “authority” to bend to, some favoritism to fight against, and a lack of a cultivation of “fairness.” The primary duty/allegiance is not to the profession, and when it is not, unfair practices follow. Power plays come in.

    (I wanted to say more about the anti-terror law, but I guess it will have to wait for a better moment.
    There are more things that bother me regarding that law and how it has been handled by that press, but this reply already has–again–been too long)

    Cevapla

    • acracia Says:

      This post was in reply to:

      https://cdogangercekler.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/orhan-kemal-cengiz-todays-zaman-and-disinformation-at-work/#comment-6661

      and to:

      https://cdogangercekler.wordpress.com/2011/05/06/orhan-kemal-cengiz-todays-zaman-and-disinformation-at-work/#comment-6660

      Bulent Bey, Ilhan Bey:

      I think what Bulent Bey describes as how “in some ways the pattern in those examples resembles an assault on thought through the destruction of meaning in language” and what Ilhan Bey describes as
      “selective blindness” and the belief that “there is always a simple answer to complex questions. In other words, we believe in a great unifying theory, ‘Theory of Everything’, such as Marxism, Islam, or ‘Deep State’, that explains the every single issue under the sun”–directly speak to each other.

      In other words, you are talking about manipulation and the destruction of meaning in language [it might sound dystopian Bulent Bey, but what you’re actually talking about is creating a “discourse” and to confuse people; so I think you are right on] in part through selective blindness, which in turn facilitates the engagement with one metanarrative to explain all the dilemmas, facts, events, and to give meaning to them through that lens.

      If I were to narrow this discussion down to the engagement with the big trials such as Seldgehammer and KCK, I do think these dynamics you mention not only feed into but also fed by the new anti-terror law that enabled uses of anonymous calls from anonymous informants as criminalization objects, redefining the concept of “terrorism” and expanding it to include the criminalization of opposition. The meaning of this law was advocated differently in the media, and so it passed. Then these laws have been resorted to open the era of trials in recent Turkish history, but trials with errors. Anyhow. I am still thinking about all this.

      [If you are interested here is the link I gave above and provide here again; it is from the 2006 call for protests by university professors, students, etc:

      http://www.birikimdergisi.com/birikim/makale.aspx?mid=165 ]

      Cevapla

      • Bulent Murtezaoglu Says:

        Hah, yes, I do seem to remember some talk about a signature campaign. I probably thought ‘what a good way to collect names.’ As in, you know, undesirable people getting picked [up] like pears (armut gibi toplamak) if/when needed. That ties in with Ilhan bey’s point about not [openly] defying authority. All this happened, mind you, with the EU people supposedly watching. That should tell us a thing or two about the wisdom of relying on distant powers for the protection of local liberties.

        Cevapla

      • Ilhan Kemal Says:

        Acracia Bey,

        I read your posts and I think I understand you pretty well and agree with you in general. I just want to add a few more things here to clarify myself. Although I share your feeling of guilt by straying off topic in this blog, I could not resist and decided trying to explain myself better on three significant topics: professionalism, fairness and respect to all beliefs. I will write my opinions on the first two topics now and I will leave the last topic for near future.

        I believe we have significant flaws, even missing pieces, on professionalism area in Turkey. We do have many professionals doing wonderful job as engineers, doctors, teachers…etc. The quality of service some of them provide to our society is technically as good as it can be by any international standart. However, there is a very critical area which we have a lot of room for improvement: professional ethic and moral conduct. This is of course much more critical in some areas, such as medicine, law and education then others. In my mind, professionalism defines a professional (an expert equipped with specialized knowledge and necessary qualifications to practice in a certain field) who holds strict ethical and moral principles while practicing his/her profession. Just having technical ability to perform the job is not sufficient and even might be harmful in some areas if it is done by deviating from the ethical and moral principles of that specialty. In this sense we have a huge gap in the ethical part of the professionalism. I am even not talking about corruption, negligence or misconduct when I say gap. I am talking about seemingly much innocent, subtle but more difficult to fix problems of professional practice in Turkey. Because these are not personal but cultural and transmit generation to generation (meme ?), solving these problems are much more difficult. Let me give you a very practical example from medicine to make myself clear. In hospitals, every clinical specialty has monthly “Morbidity and Mortality” meetings. All physicians and trainees of that division have to attend these meetings to discuss each patient who died or had some unexpected complications during that month. These meetings are not only a time-honored tradition but also one of the most valuable training opportunities for the physicians, especially for trainees. I am not familiar with these meetings in continental Europe, but in Anglo-American hospitals you would see quite honest, even brutal discussions with very pointed, blunt questions to the patient’s physician and treating team members. The purpose is not judging the patient’s doctor(s) but understanding the reason of the bad outcome in that specific case, determining whether or not it was a preventable event and if it was then taking measures to prevent repeating similar events. Although you may see very heated discussions in these meetings and egos can be hurt, still everbody knows (at least behave like he/she knows) that whole purpose of these questions and critics are not personal but professional and for the greater good. More significantly, everybody appreciate that it is the best opportunity for the physicians and residents to brain storm on a very well-defined case and to learn how to avoid mistakes or missteps in similar cases from their colleagues at different ages and experience levels. I do not want to idealize the system that I summarized and of course there are many flaws and you can even feel personal animosities, these meetings still stays as a very critical part of medical practice and education in these institutions. There are similar meetings with the same names in Turkey as well (at least in big university hospitals) but, as you can guess, the content of these meetings is different like day and night. It is not that physicans in Turkey incapable of retrospectively assessing the findings of the patients and determining the mistakes or missteps. Of course, they have the same professional background to make same discussions. But the code of conduct is different in our culture. Being a colleague, being a friend, working together for so many years… means different things in Turkey. It is simply not an acceptable behavior grilling your colleague or friend (if he/she is your junior, then things may change) about his/her possible mistakes or missteps in front of the other physicians and trainees. You can do that in an intimate setting if he/she wants to get your opinion but still not in a meeting hall and in front of everybody. This is what it is and it is the social norm in our country. The problem is if we can not scrutinize our colleagues (without caring about the level of seniority) and friends in front of the other colleagues and trainees, then there is no point having these meetings. It is completely nonsensense. Yes the name is same but the game is different. I am sure you can find many similar examples in other professional fields as well. I am afraid the price of this type of deficits in professionalism is terribly high for our society and their negative effect on society is much more profound especially in some areas, such as law and education.

        The second topic, fairness, is also closely related to professionalism. I have an impression that fairness is not an internalized concept in Turkey. I believe our parenting style and education system plays a significant role on this. While overemphasizing the “respect” to seniority, authority, nation, religion.. to our children, it looks like we ignore fairness even as a word and certainly as a concept. The words and concepts also define the mental process and way of thinking in a developing brain. If the fairness word is not taught to small children in many generations and the concept is not embedded to their thinking in a very early age as a social norm, then it becomes very difficult for a society to function based on fairness principle. I believe that is why we see so impressive insensitivity in our society to the unfair trials, punishments without trials and false accusations of many people, like seen in Sledgehammer trial today and like many others in past. These insensitive people has been working in media, justice system, law inforcement agencies, in political parties, religious groups.., and they do their jobs and play their roles without feeling any discomfort despite of numerous evidences documented at this blog. The most disturbing thing is not these trials itself but seeing professionals and educated people who works, writes and talks on these trials without any sense of fairness or remorse. When the fairness concept is put aside, especially by the people working in Justice system, law enforcement agencies, government, and media simultaneously, then the biggest looser inevitably becomes the entire society.Unfortunately this picture is disturbingly scary.

        Cevapla

        • acracia Says:

          Ilhan Bey,

          I would like to thank you for your thoughtful reply. After I digest this, I will get back to you and reply. I would like to think a little more about all these issues and try to link these to this blog’s topic so that neither of us feels guilty. But very briefly, I would like to add lack of empathy to the picture you portrayed. Anyway, I would like to think more about this.

          Cevapla

        • ihtimal Says:

          Firsat olsada Ilhan Kemal’den simdiye kadar turk silahli kuvetlerinde professionalism ve fairness uzerine dusuncelerini duysak, sonra vakti oldugunda da konuyu respect to all belief’in bu kurulusta gunumuze kadar hangi evrelerden gecerek ulastigina getirip daha derin bir sekilde inceleyebilsek!

          Cevapla

          • acracia Says:

            Blogumuzun kadrolu troll’une:

            “zurna” Far. surn¥y

            a. Keskin bir ses çıkaran ve çoğu zaman davulla veya dümbelekle birlikte çalınan nefesli çalgı: “Bir zurna gibi duyulan çatlak sesiyle âlemi çekiştirir.” -A. Ş. Hisar.

            Kaynak: TDK

            http://tdkterim.gov.tr/bts/

            Cevapla

          • acracia Says:

            Bu arada etrafa satasmayi, diyaloga girmek yerine trollugu sevdiginizi bildigim icin latife yapiyorum ihtimal, ama belki de bu, bu blogdaki trolluk kariyerinizde yaptiginiz en yerinde yorum idi. Soylemeden edemedim. Ancak “respect all beliefs” mumkun mu diye tartisiliyordu yalniz. O ayri.

            Cevapla

        • acracia Says:

          Ilhan Bey,

          I had initially thought of a different reply, but that would take longer and I don’t want to miss the window. And so that neither of us feels guilty, I will try to tie this conversation to the blog’s concerns whenever I can. What I have to say is nothing big, but I hope to be able to put certain things together to continue thinking together about these issues.

          So, first of all, yes, we are on the same page on professionalism in general. I do agree that there is a problem with maintaining professionalism in Turkey, and that the primary allegiance is not to one’s profession but rather other dynamics interfere with handling professional issues without mixing one’s personal stance and private relations. And when this happens, ethical codes are tampered with.

          The example with “morbidity and mortality” is great but it is also a clear case as far as a mistake is concerned: somebody died, and it could be because of a professional mistake–it doesn’t get more straightforward than that. Through this example, I would like to address a few issues mostly in relation to the structures and mechanisms that generate ethical concerns. I will particularly focus on law enforcement and the military and choose my examples from there, so that I don’t stray off the topic too much.

          1) The “wrong”: “morbidity and mortality” meetings are, from what I understand, a mechanism for checks and balances. In every profession there is room for mistakes, but in medicine and in law for example, the consequences can be grave because they have direct consequences to human life. And yet, in an environment in which a professional mindset is not established and in which the primary allegiance is not to the profession but to other things (e.g. personal acquaintances, political party, religion, ideology, football team, etc) a conflict of interest emerges. And here is a problem: they might not even define what is happening as an error.

          And in Turkey, there is such a big preoccupation with holding flagpoles, so to speak, and interpreting one’s profession to achieve political goals and eliminating the opponent that even the definition of “wrong” loses its meaning. Ihtimal pointed out the military here, and yes, the military did it, the law enforcement does it, academics do it, journalists do it.
          And without an a priori “wrong” admitted on the table, it is even hard to begin negotiating ethics. This is because “wrong” is not defined in professional terms as it should be (as with all the wrongs we have seen in the handling of the Sledgehammer, KCK for instance) but rather becomes a ground for moral, personal, political judgment whereby huge professional ethical flaws find space for being justified with morals: police penalizing the transvestites because they walk in the streets for example. Or, a lot of so-called intellectuals finding it right to have Sledgehammer push through even if the case is almost entirely based on a CD that the blog owners proved is fake, on the grounds that the case and the people involved don’t matter, because what matters is putting a mentality to trial. Of course, this is what the fascists do, but they disregard that as they see this a trial of a metaphorical force rather than a huge injustice to actual living human beings and their families. And yes, in the past the military has done the same after the coups. But as I said, this is a mentality worthy of fascism and yet, people don’t see that as a “wrong.” I see many power struggles and infringement of ethical codes in Turkey located at this level.

          I also consider the Fethullah Gulen movement’s elite groups’ actions in this light: approaching the opponent as something to eliminate and ends seem to justify the means. Even this page is an example of that.

          2) Checks and balances or “how the wrong is dealt with”: Once a “wrong” is admitted or is hard to ignore perhaps because it has become the elephant in the room, the dynamics you raise kick in. While the same institutions (morbidity and mortality meetings, etc) exist elsewhere, as you point out, because of a lack of a “checks and balances” professional culture we see the following dynamics:

          a) at an individual level, personal relationships and power and hierarchy come into play (i.e., what will be the consequences of challenging a senior’s/or “someone with power” ’s practices?) in the first place. There is no protection mechanism for the one who might be challenging the ethics/practices of a person in a position of power.

          b) at a group level, forming cliques within a professional field. This means forming separate communities within one institutionalized profession such as the police force, for example.

          From what I understand from to the books written about them including the one ridiculously linked to Ergenekon and led to the arrest of a journalist Ahmet Şık (because of an unknown reason; because it is so secret the prosecutor could not even tell the defendant), Fethullah Gulen movement’s functioning within the police force seems to be a good example for this.

          There are power struggles within the police force and each group seems to eliminate the other and look after one’s own. So if you were to write a book like the former police officer Hanefi Avci did, to actually report this and complain about the Gulen clique within the police force, under normal circumstances this should have become a scandal and a checks and balances—in this case, the court—mechanism should start functioning and an investigation should have opened. But not only people close to the movement such as the police academy professor and former Taraf columnist Onder Aytac claimed Avci did not write his own book (even though he himself insisted he did), but also a character assassination followed by an arrest of Avci himself being accused first of helping a supposedly communist organization and then with Ergenekon.

          Moral of the story: the primary allegiance is not the profession but to a different community and the checks and balances system, in this case the judiciary, doesn’t seem to work properly. Or it does, within its own logic and protects the community rather than professional ethics. The result is stifling criticism, eliminating checks and balances motivations, and intimidating others who might also want to raise their voice.

          c) group cliques based professional background: this too is very common in Turkey. People from different professions seem to be strangely protecting each other against outside criticism that should generate a checks and balances mechanism, but usually doesn’t. Many call this a “cover up.”

          This is also why the reason why tortures exist in different countries. Without the support of the forensic medicine and law enforcement, torture couldn’t have existed after the military coup and all up until recently.

          A more recent example is the shady killing of a Nigerian refugee in Turkey, Festus Okey, in the police department. Now there are many problems with this case, such as the police officer who might have shot him being the one who filed the event, the loss of Okey’s bloody shirt/evidence in the filing process, etc.

          But even more important, when activists tried to become involved as “mudahil” and filed an official complaint, the court considered this an insult and filed a lawsuit against 121 activists who became, like Hanefi Avci, a victim of the checks and balances mechanism that they tried to initiate by raising their voice publicly. [1]

          This is also the case with the military: I do not recall any openly public display of admitting their own mistakes, etc; protecting their professional community against others.
          This in part might be the reason why many people today interpret Balyoz as a checks and balances at play, as justice rendered, without seeing the bundle of injustices involved.

          This said, the dynamic of c) is exactly a case of “kol kirilir yen icinde kalir” that suggests keeping and faults, breaks secret from public eyes.

          So yes, I do agree with you in that there is a cultural disposition, as there is even a saying for that disposition, but I think it is not fixed. Rather it is because there are no serious structures of consequence that penalize such non-professional codes and the one who raises the voice is the one that might be punished instead. This in turn stifles opposition and forces people into subordination. Thus, fairness as a principle doesn’t function properly, not only because of cultural circumstances as you rightfully pointed out, but also because of the lack of very concrete enforcement structures.

          I think there is a lot to say about subordination. But one thing is certain, such an environment invites cliques and gives the message that if one wants to be safe, one needs to be part of a clique. There is nothing wrong with being part of a community like the Gulen movement. If people are happy, so be it. Such communities existed all throughout the Ottoman Empire and regulated the social lives of people. What seems to be happening is the resurfacing of these communities that were pushed underground for decades. I don’t think they ever disappeared. They were just suppressed, and now they become more visible, that’s all.

          But the problem arises when these affiliations have serious consequences for others. Then not only ethical issues arise and checks and balances mechanisms malfunction, but also allegiances get mixed.

          I tried to embed our conversation as much in to the dynamics here as possible. I should note, however, that these examples could be multiplied in relation to different professions or even different countries.

          What I tried to show is that Turkey’s case might not be a cultural exception but rather a problem with proper checks and balances mechanisms and a lack of professionalism. I will draw conclusions though:

          i) This environment fosters power struggles, and this might be the reason why those who obtain power don’t try to change it and use it in their favor instead. Military, civilian governments, and seemingly now the Gulen elites all have been part of this.

          ii) With a proper educational system, these issues can be engaged at their roots whereby the political system doesn’t give the message to its citizens from the very beginning that they need to be good subordinates in order to be good citizens. And that in order to be protected from this, one needs to have cliques and affiliations, connections, otherwise the system might swallow you.

          The fairness principle you are talking about can be respected and internalized from the very early school years. But the conceptualization and put into practice of citizenship in Turkey is different. And I think this is a concrete problem that can have concrete solutions. But then because of i) above, I don’t know if it will ever happen.

          I would like to say a few things about empathy and education and happiness in Turkey (I write these down so that I don’t forget), but I am running out of space, so I save it for later. I apologize this has been so long.

          **********
          [1] http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/101739-police-cover-up-in-okeys-death
          to start a legal process to have a checks and balances work

          http://www radikal com.tr
          Radikal.aspx?aType=RadikalYazar&ArticleID=1047606&Yazar=%D6ZG%DCR%20MUMCU&Date=11.05.2011&CategoryID=97

          http://bianet.org/bianet/insan-haklari/125895-festus-okeyi-oldurene-degil-savunana-ceza

          Cevapla

          • Ilhan Kemal Says:

            Acracia Bey,
            Thank you for your response. I appreciate your emphasize on checks and balances on professionalism and I agree with you on that in general. However defining M&M meetings as a mechanism for checks and balances is not completely right. Yes you can say that these meetings contribute checks and balances process, but it is not the main motivation behind these meetings. Their purpose is actually almost purely professional and strictly ethical: objective assessment, honest and constructive criticism of the incidents to provide a better service. Better definition for them might be “retrospective review” and “root-cause-analysis” of the incidents. Checks and balances mechanism in medical practice is very well-defined (at least in US and Europe) and I purposefully ignored the classical examples of checks and balances mechanisms in medical practice and especially mentioned M&M here because it provides us a much better window to peek at true professionalism. I believe honest retrospective review and root-cause analysis is a “must” to be an ethical professional. You may do this in regular meetings with your colleagues but you can also do this by yourself while laying on a bed at night by thinking about the problems arising in your practice that day and by assessing/criticizing yourself. If it is honest and critical enough, then each one of them is perfectly fine. However if the person does none of them, then there is a significant problem. And I think common practice in Turkey is doing neither of them and living in a self-congratulatory fashion. I am following this trial for months with an increasing amazement. My amazement is coming from seeing so many foot-soldiers but almost no real professional (just a few maybe) in police, judiciary, media etc. Can you imagine seeing a trial like this in a civilized country? Forget the political agenda behind these trials, where is the professional ethic of involving people in judiciary, police, and media? How do they sleep comfortably? I agree with you, professional “ethic code” in Turkey is actually a “cover up”. As you said “kol kirilir yen icinde kalir” is the perfect motto (especially considering its positive connotation) of professional ethic in our country.
            You said,
            “Or, a lot of so-called intellectuals finding it right to have Sledgehammer push through even if the case is almost entirely based on a CD that the blog owners proved is fake, on the grounds that the case and the people involved don’t matter, because what matters is putting a mentality to trial…. And yes, in the past the military has done the same after the coups.”
            Yes, this is the most disturbing part of these events. (We kept using “aydin ahlaki” words so many years and when I look at back, I see better now what that was. It was very frequently (and it still is) just hypocrisy.) The most shameful chapters of this trial have the signatures of so-called intellectuals unfortunately. On the other hand, I see nothing surprising about how military tribunals worked. Fake evidences, unproven accusations, insensitivity to personal freedom and human rights… These are all natural and expected things under military regime. We all suffered under these and they are painfully tragic periods in every country. However when you see the similar trials under an elected government of a so-called democratic regime, and when the politicians, media personalities, pundits, intellectuals support these trials and present them as a road to freedom and democracy, that becomes shockingly absurd. I have been closely involved in politics in Turkey for a very long time and I have not seen this much hypocrisy and absurdity before. This is bordering a Kafkaesque scenario. I did not feel this much pessimist about the future of Turkey even when we have been under the military terror years ago, because the problem was clear (military regime) and the goal was clear (getting rid of military regime) at least in our minds. But I started to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong here. That is why I am more focused on social-cultural roots of these issues in Turkey. I think roots of the many issues lie at individual-social level, not institutional level. So I am afraid the solution is not that easy, like changing the regime or government or creating a new constitution. And the ethic is the big topic on this. Professional ethic, personal ethic, social ethic… Isn’t it interesting that we, in Turkey, use “ahlak” word with a much stronger emphasis on “cinsel ahlak ve namus” while unethical behaviors in moral sense do not sound as bad as promiscuity. We are almost desensitized to moral deficits and corruptions of our politicians, but we are very sensitive to their affairs. Baykal and MHP cassettes are typical examples of these hopelessly corrupt ethical codes in our society. That is why I believe that the problem is deeper than rules and regulations or institutions. There are a lot of missing gradients to create a fair society (even conscientiousness, as you see in these pages) here.
            Although I understand and appreciate your emphasis on checks and balances, I have an impression that you see the main problem as an absence of necessary regulations and rules to create a well-defined, functional checks and balances mechanism and looking for the solution there as well (I may be misunderstood you, I am not sure). I personally think that problem has deeper roots as I mentioned above. In my opinion, every society creates its own checks and balances mechanism. It is a natural product as a response to society’s demands. It is not just creating a well-defined legal framework for that purpose. Legal frameworks stay as artificial constructs if they do not rise on a social demand. If it does not fit the society naturally, then people would find creative ways to navigate around it. As you know, we are especially very creative people to find smooth navigation routes around the rules and laws in Turkey. If the legal framework does not provide a well-fit checks and balances mechanism to do society, then the society creates its peculiar check-and-balances system slowly. I believe that is what happened in Turkey since the beginning. I think the military’s political role in Turkey was in fact part of our peculiar checks and balances mechanism which was created with a non-verbal social consensus even maybe starting from Ottoman Empire (although I do not have necessary background, as Bulent bey says, I still could not resist to state my humble speculation on this).
            Lastly, I would like to add a few words on your statements regarding to FG religious order and its role in today’s Turkey. You said:
            “There is nothing wrong with being part of a community like the Gulen movement. If people are happy, so be it. Such communities existed all throughout the Ottoman Empire and regulated the social lives of people. What seems to be happening is the resurfacing of these communities that were pushed underground for decades. I don’t think they ever disappeared. They were just suppressed, and now they become more visible, that’s all.”
            That’s all of course, only if they stay as a community with aspiration to regulate the social lives of people “belongs to that order”. Then, you also rightfully add:
            “I also consider the Fethullah Gulen movement’s elite groups’ actions in this light: approaching the opponent as something to eliminate and ends seem to justify the means. Even this page is an example of that.”
            And this is the core of the problem. Lowest ranks of the order might be there to regulate their own social life but the upper ranks have very clear-cut ambitions to regulate the whole society’s life. Their actions can only be described as seeking “political power” by using every means possible to impose their values on whole society by creating an almost “parallel state“ extending from education system to law inforcement agencies. It is very difficult to see them just as a charitable and religious order. Otherwise, why on earth a religious, charitable group functions in law enforcement agencies so actively and passionately?

            Cevapla

            • acracia Says:

              Ilhan Bey, you are so right on many different levels. I will have to think a bit more about this before I answer; I am writing only to say that I wrote #8 below before I saw your reply here. It was not in response to this, but simply thinking through some of the issues you had raised in your previous answer. Thank you again for this thought-provoking reply.

              Cevapla

            • acracia Says:

              Ilhan Bey,

              Thank you for taking the time to read and to reply to my post. You are right, since I don’t know too much about the medical field, I didn’t explain myself thoroughly, but I did think of the M&M meetings as an intermediary practice that mediate the medical practices and the system of checks and balances. And I agree with you in that these intermediary spaces for ethical and professional negotiation and criticism are productive sites to observe group dynamics in a place.

              “I purposefully ignored the classical examples of checks and balances mechanisms in medical practice and especially mentioned M&M here because it provides us a much better window to peek at true professionalism. I believe honest retrospective review and root-cause analysis is a “must” to be an ethical professional. You may do this in regular meetings with your colleagues but you can also do this by yourself while laying on a bed at night by thinking about the problems arising in your practice that day and by assessing/criticizing yourself. If it is honest and critical enough, then each one of them is perfectly fine. However if the person does none of them, then there is a significant problem.”

              I agree. And I know that some medical schools actually hire philosophers specializing in ethics to teach students of medicine. There is, however, a difference when you enter the field of ethics in different professions. I am not an expert, but in medical practices, what is right and what is wrong seem to be more clear cut: that is to say, saving human life and improving life quality, delivering a babies, curing or researching medical conditions, etc.

              And yet, when the field in question is journalism for example, things change, and not because people are less idealistic necessarily, or that they are unethical. But because when you enter the field of verbal communication open to interpretation, a common site for political battles, a profession under the tight grip of corporations and the world of advertisement, etc. This is why I tried to emphasize the importance of being able to agree
              on the “wrong” in my previous post. Nonetheless I see why you are putting the emphasis where you did.

              “And I think common practice in Turkey is doing neither of them and living in a self-congratulatory fashion.”

              This in my humble opinion is because precisely primary allegiance is not to the ethics of the profession. The priorities might range from camaraderie to affiliation with different groups (ideologies, religious orders, etc), or simply doing one’s job without commitment and not caring about it. These are the dynamics that I had tried to call attention to.

              “I am following this trial for months with an increasing amazement. My amazement is coming from seeing so many foot-soldiers but almost no real professional (just a few maybe) in police, judiciary, media etc. Can you imagine seeing a trial like this in a civilized country? Forget the political agenda behind these trials, where is the professional ethic of involving people in judiciary, police, and media? How do they sleep comfortably? I agree with you, professional “ethic code” in Turkey is actually a “cover up”. As you said “kol kirilir yen icinde kalir” is the perfect motto (especially considering its positive connotation) of professional ethic in our country.”

              This is what amazes me too. And you know, Ilhan Bey, there is hope as long as there are people who can still be amazed. The moment of not being surprised by the scale of this carnival anymore is perhaps the time to worry, as it would mean one has lost his/her sensitivity.

              It is also hard to disagree with what you say:

              “The most shameful chapters of this trial have the signatures of so-called intellectuals unfortunately. On the other hand, I see nothing surprising about how military tribunals worked. Fake evidences, unproven accusations, insensitivity to personal freedom and human rights… These are all natural and expected things under military regime. We all suffered under these and they are painfully tragic periods in every country. However when you see the similar trials under an elected government of a so-called democratic regime, and when the politicians, media personalities, pundits, intellectuals support these trials and present them as a road to freedom and democracy, that becomes shockingly absurd. I have been closely involved in politics in Turkey for a very long time and I have not seen this much hypocrisy and absurdity before. This is bordering a Kafkaesque scenario.”

              You are being too kind. I think this already is a shame. I consider all this an insult against the intelligence of the people reading about these issues.

              “But I started to believe that there is something fundamentally wrong here. That is why I am more focused on social-cultural roots of these issues in Turkey. I think roots of the many issues lie at individual-social level, not institutional level. So I am afraid the solution is not that easy, like changing the regime or government or creating a new constitution.”

              While I agree with this part, I think we should not undermine institutional cultures and practices. Especially, if we have a numb crowd today we owe it to a certain extent to the education system and to the extreme materialism. So yes, ethical questioning would have been great, but most people are not exposed to it so much in public now, are they? I don’t think we can undermine the socio-cultural components that you are raising, but we also have to think that institutional and legal structures both feed into them and are fed by those. It is not a linear relationship that is rooted in the individuals; individuals are also the ones who make laws, contribute to institutional practices, etc. So while I agree, I see the problem in a broader light.

              “And the ethic is the big topic on this. Professional ethic, personal ethic, social ethic… Isn’t it interesting that we, in Turkey, use “ahlak” word with a much stronger emphasis on “cinsel ahlak ve namus” while unethical behaviors in moral sense do not sound as bad as promiscuity. We are almost desensitized to moral deficits and corruptions of our politicians, but we are very sensitive to their affairs.”

              I cannot argue against that. Ethic is also a more secular word actually; morality is more cultural and religious.

              “Although I understand and appreciate your emphasis on checks and balances, I have an impression that you see the main problem as an absence of necessary regulations and rules to create a well-defined, functional checks and balances mechanism and looking for the solution there as well (I may be misunderstood you, I am not sure).”

              No, you are completely right. But my mind always works for concrete solutions, and this was the only way out that I could see with my own limited background.

              “If the legal framework does not provide a well-fit checks and balances mechanism to do society, then the society creates its peculiar check-and-balances system slowly. I believe that is what happened in Turkey since the beginning. I think the military’s political role in Turkey was in fact part of our peculiar checks and balances mechanism which was created with a non-verbal social consensus even maybe starting from Ottoman Empire (although I do not have necessary background, as Bulent bey says, I still could not resist to state my humble speculation on this).”

              This what some people would say, yes. But it is also dangerous to think of it that way, because it reifies the idea that the people in Turkey are like a bunch of infants who need some serious grounding by their patriarchal and disciplinarian military (and this is an understatement for a coup, I know). This is also dangerous to assume because it locates a person within the right or wrong paradigm. In other words, the seventies were wrong according to the military because of the rise of left and in the nineties and later, because of the rise of politicized Islam. And every time they intervened, it got worse. Yes each coup is different, and I would put 1960 on a different plane than 1971, etc.

              This said, I do think what might be behind Sledgehammer is the Fethullah Gulen movement’s elites. Considering how they seem to have nestled in the law enforcement agencies and their practices, how some of my journalist friends have been warned indirectly for writing against them, how former American ambassador Edelman confessed that already in 2004 (if I remember the date correctly) a person affiliated with the Gulen movement brought him fake documents claiming the army was plotting a coup that Edelman had found out were not authentic, there is a lot to think about in that respect.

              So yes, I do agree with you that the Gulen movement seem to be seeking political power. The arrested journalist Ahmet Şık’s book manuscript had brought together police and intelligence reports, newspaper articles, interviews, excerpts from other books, etc. And nothing was new in his unfinished manuscript, except maybe interviews. But the picture there looked very similar to what is going on with Sledgehammer. And again, according to the already published police and intelligence reports mentioned in Şık’s book, the police intelligence bureau as well as the police bureau against terrorism were two bureaus they tried to hold and achieved. Later the new law against terrorism passed in the Parliament—I am not claiming that the last two are related, but it does seem to be odd and I want to note it here, in case we later do find indications that they indeed were related.

              Because the state has been historically seen as a site for struggle and some power to be obtained by eliminating the opponents in Turkey, there is more, in my humble opinion than simply ethics, since precisely this power has almost always been obtained with questionable ethics.

              Cevapla

              • acracia Says:

                ps: you may wonder why I said the last sentence when there are democratic elections, but I do consider the 10% quota to enter the Parliament a gate keeping against the Kurds, for example, and in my view it is unethical to insist on that quota if one truly believes in democracy and the right of political representation for everyone.

                Cevapla

              • Ilhan Kemal Says:

                Acracia Bey,

                Thank you for your response. I am aware of my (over)sensitivity to the topic of personal/social ethics in Turkey. This is partly coming from personal experiences on ethical issues in our country and partly from my longstanding disappointments because of the unsatisfactory results of institutional changes that I witnessed in Turkey. In any case, I am hoping that you are right and I am wrong, because legal/institutional changes are much more attainable goals comparing to expecting significant positive changes in personal and social ethics of a society.

                Cevapla

                • acracia Says:

                  Actually, Ilhan Bey, I had come around myself and thought that you were right. The more I think of it with different examples, such as the patriarchal bias in the law enforcement against issuing cases of domestic violence, or homophobic psychologists/psychiatrists claiming homosexuality is a disease that can be cured (as we have seen on some TV programs), I do think personal beliefs, etc take a priority. This again is lack of professionalism, but what is a possible way to address that? I am not sure. I was thinking maybe structures of law, professions and checks and balances, but you’re right, at the end of the day, it is the same people who will apply those. I cannot see a way out (and when I reread my own thoughts, I found them to be contradictory actually), quite frankly.
                  Thanks for your reply.

                  Cevapla

        • acracia Says:

          Ilhan Bey, I replied but cannot see my post. It was rather lengthy, I hope it didn’t get swallowed (speaking of being swallowed!)

          Cevapla

  7. acracia Says:

    While I am still thinking about another entry for which I am doing readings (not necessarily for this rubric), there is something I would like to engage in relation to what Ilhan Bey said. Please do not get me wrong, I am not writing these long entries because somebody said he enjoyed reading this thread (as in “gaza gelmek”–I don’t know how to translate that one), but rather, I am writing because it helps me think through the issues that have been worrying me about Turkey as some dynamics here have also struck me. So mostly, I write now because it is cathartic. I thank whoever spends time to read and apologize for rambling, but these issues have been on my mind for too long.

    Ilhan Bey, when I read your last paragraph, I agreed with you. But I couldn’t get myself to write about it right away. You were talking about insensitivity. Often I wondered what gives rise to this mindset. Often I wandered how come human beings can have pleasure in the pain of others. Is “regarding the pain of others” so difficult? What makes a person come here and pretend he or she is a moral judge without thinking of himself or herself first and what s/he is doing in the first place?

    Ilhan Bey, you and I had an exchange about the human potential in Turkey. I still think the same way, and mind you, I respect this potential even more because it is something that surprisingly develops in spite of the system in Turkey. What I will write is not a study or research finding, but an observation and should be read that way. I have no claim to generalizations about Turkey.

    This said, in the first place, the individual both as a person and as a citizen is often treated like a child who cannot make his or her own choices.

    With military interventions, people were supposedly “protected” from communism and later from religious politicization. With history books, people were “protected” from their own history and through censorship it was sought for them to face some bitter facts from the past. With civilian governments like this one, people are supposedly protected from sex and sexuality, whatever lifestyle deemed to go against the fantasy of the non-existent Turkish family values (whatever that means, especially with so much incest and rape going on in the country), the internet, and opposition. Political sanctions of the past protected Turkishness (with prosecutions of books on minorities interpreted as insult against Turkishness, with special thanks to Kerincsiz) etc, to the extent of banning Youtube altogether, and now with the latest developments politicians condemn TV series to protect the image of their new taboo: the Ottoman Sultans. School textbooks protect the kids from critical thinking and reinforce a mere repetition of how their teacher interprets a text for example, who in return, is probably repeating what he or she has learned at school. The teenagers who want to go to university cannot make their own choice of profession (just because both necessitate math doesn’t mean a person has the inclination for both architecture and medical school) because the rights to enter a university are “protected” by the system of centralized entry exams.

    At home, it is no different: there are many families that seek to “protect” their kids from making “bad” choices and try to decide whom they should marry. They seek to protect their sons and daughters from sex, even though a lot is going on behind the scenes. In some neighborhoods, differing lifestyles are to be protected from; hence pushing out the unwanted element.

    Dissidence, plurality, differing life styles are all things that the society seems to be in need of being “protected” from.

    How can we expect this system of thought and practices that span the state, communities and personal relationships to produce a healthy understanding of fairness, if such an understanding exists of course. I think the whole system sets a trap to the individuals; it is like a recipe of how to create unhealthy psychologies. Couple that with extreme materialism on the one hand, and power struggles on the other–a mindset based on eliminating the perceived opponent that is manifest not only in changing street names but also as we see for example in newspapers, including Zaman here.

    This doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are outside this or that everyone is equally affected, but in one way or another, this mindset touches at least through one of the things exemplified above. And yet, in spite of this, people can still think (you know how the song goes, “when I think of all the crap I learned in high school, it is a wonder I can think at all”) and function. As I said, I really believe in human potential in Turkey, but this mindset of the self as something to be protected in spite of himself or herself is embedded not only in the understanding of citizenship in Turkey but also in the personal plane. I wonder, however, how happy people are in general. And I also wonder if we can expect any sensitivity towards others in that respect?

    Cevapla

    • acracia Says:

      Correction: “…and through censorship it was sought for them to face some bitter facts from the past.”

      should read

      “and through censorship it was sought for them *not* to face some bitter facts from the past.”

      Cevapla

  8. Dr. Kaz Says:

    A Gulenist threatens free speech and fair balance and everyone seems to think this is strange?
    The Gulen Movement has had several lawsuits against it’s critics, the Movement doesn’t encourage anything but pro Gulen information.
    Haven’t we seen this with the arrest of the journalist in Turkey, another black eye to our country?
    Shame on the Gulen Movement who professes to be about DIALOG 0- issue any threats, intimidations or encourage his followers to file lawsuits via his mouthpiece the Today’s Zaman.
    Gulen’s brand of democracy will not work in America. Maybe this is why the Gulen Movement is trying to immigrate Legal Analysts to the USA via the h1-b visas through his schools and NGOs.
    Any credible university has a fair balance of information with critical thinking. These staged “gulen movement” events are nothing more than a sales job about Gulen the 5th grade educated “Scholar”
    After all who else receives “honorary awards” from his his own group while trying to place Gulen alongside Ghandi, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King.
    Still till this day, no one can tell me SPECIFICALLY what Gulen has done to promote world peace and dialog beyond the ancient photo of Fetos with the late Pope John Paul II, which is about 14 years old.
    I am not going to censor any Gulenists, but would one please explain what Fetos has done besides emassed $25 billion?
    http://azstarnet.com/news/blogs/senor-reporter/article_a9229dbe-6d33-11e0-b83b-001cc4c03286.html

    Cevapla

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