As far as I remember, the global Feb. 28 process was a headline of a Turkish daily just after the 9/11 attacks.
I am not sure if it was a result of an analysis or wishful thinking, but to a certain extent, Islamophobia increased after the attacks. Yet, thanks to dialogue initiations that started well before 9/11, well-integrated Muslim minorities in the West, objective liberal and leftist intellectuals, writers, journalists and politicians all over the world, the proactive global activities of Muslims and the diversity of media prevented a global witch-hunt similar to the Feb. 28 process in Turkey. What could not be achieved after 9/11 has been attempted by some in Turkey.
The Feb. 28 process is well-known for its psychological war on practicing Muslims. Terrible headlines and overblown and exaggerated news stories that framed religious people were ordinary. Fabricated documents, rumors, libelous accusations and imagined threats of the so-called Iranization of Turkey bombarded the Turkish people every day. Several villains were fabricated by the media, which was almost monopolistically and hegemonically controlled by the Kemalist bureaucratic oligarchy. They were actually either sincere, innocent practicing Muslims or some “actors” who were given the job of playing the bad guys.
As a result, the oligarchy succeeded in toppling the government that did not give them what they wanted, especially economically but also politically. Maybe millions of people suffered at the hands of the brutal bureaucrats and media personalities. Many women could not get an education just because they wore the headscarf. Now, 15 years after the coup process, it is crystal clear what happened, how it happened and who were the real culprits and their international supporters. As Cengiz Çandar quite rightly underlined, we must never underestimate the role of the Islamophobic right-wing Israeli lobby and their supporters in the state administration. It is obvious that similar to the local Feb. 28 process, the same local, international and global groups and individuals are now engaged in a sort of Feb. 28 process. It is a kind of global Feb. 28 process. Even though it also targets similar groups in Turkey, especially the Hizmet movement and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, now the media activity is global. In the local Feb. 28 process, Turkish media outlets were more than enough to tackle the imagined enemies, i.e., practicing Muslims. But now, due to several reasons and factors, one of them being the loss of credibility of the oligarchy’s media, Turkish media outlets cannot undertake the mission. Thus, a regular media campaign has been launched, especially in the West against both Hizmet and the AKP.
Thus, it is now becoming ordinary to see a caricaturized picture of Turkey that disrespects not only the reality but also sophisticated socio-political phenomena. The very same people who would justifiably object to any conspiracy theory centered on them can relentlessly develop conspiracy theories about Muslims. Since they are more intelligent than their Turkish partners, they do not make similar mistakes and are careful to pretend as if they are also giving the accused a chance to respond, which effectively works toward creating an image that their story is not biased.
Nevertheless, this is a very dangerous game. Muslims may not be powerful in Western societies, but if the majorities in these Western countries discover that there are those who wish to brainwash society with distorted and even fabricated evidence and their foreign relations are manipulated at a cost, they may also lose their credibility, to say the least.
Published on Today's Zaman, 27 April 2012, Friday