July 21, 2014

This blatant distortion is too much

Ekrem Dumanlı

Last week, I participated in a TV program that was aired on Bugün TV. The first agenda item of the program was Israel's attacks on Gaza. I was asked, "Do you condemn it?" I said that I condemned it and tried to explain the horrible consequences of shelling people during the holy month of Ramadan. I further noted that we need to adopt a broader perspective and that this problem cannot be settled simply with condemnations, protests and harsh statements. I indicated that Turkey's prestige has been declining in the international arena and that its ties with the US and the EU have weakened; it cannot exert pressure on Israel because it does not have direct diplomatic contact, and it cannot press Israel because its ties with the Arab world, including Egypt, are not good...

We moved on to other matters after talking about this for 10 minutes. We talked about many other things. Toward the end of the program, we started to discuss the unfair practices being implemented against the Hizmet movement, and the host of the program, Erkan Akkuş, recalled that Fethullah Gülen has been silent for a long period of time. Indeed, Mr. Gülen has halted his weekly sermons and he is not directly responding to many offensive statements. "This is a silent cry," I said, as an expression of my perception. I explained the reason lengthily.

However, those who made it a habit to distort everything cut my "silent cry" remark and attached it to our discussion of the Gaza attacks. They started to market this distortion as a journalistic achievement and to deceive people. It is really unbelievable that they would distort remarks aired live.

Let us suppose they are men of no caliber. But what can we say about the prime minister's words? Despite the naked truth that the Zaman newspaper has been running headline stories about Israel's attack on Gaza (and despite the insensitivity of the media outlets he controls on the same matter), he has said during his rallies that the Zaman newspaper hasn't mentioned the Gaza attacks. The best case scenario: The advisers who show him newspaper clippings are deceiving the prime minister. The worst case scenario: The prime minister knowingly lies about the Zaman newspaper's publications. Both scenarios are disagreeable, but I prefer the former one.

Excerpted from the author's article published on Sunday's Zaman, 20 July 2014, Sunday