Headlines or weapons of mass destruction?


Date posted: February 24, 2014

BEGÜM BURAK

The Dec. 17, 2013 graft and corruption probe will most probably be regarded as a milestone in Turkish politics for researchers in the future.

 

The Dec. 17 operation and its aftermath have revealed how the sine quo non dynamics of democracy like the rule of law, freedom of speech or press freedom have been sacrificed to ensure the “supreme interests of the state” and to guarantee the privileges of the political elites.

It should be noted that since the inception of the Turkish Republic, the supreme interests of the state have never been in harmony with the interests of the nation. The values of such a democracy, the guarantee of individual liberties or the protection of human rights have most of the time been regarded as elements of secondary importance. In parallel to that, press freedom and pluralism in the media landscape have always been seen as a threat to state interests. The unquestionable interests of the state have generally been supported through authoritarian policies carried out by the so-called democrats.

In fully fledged democracies, an independent and free media plays a vital role. As Robert Dahl (1915-2014) puts it in his conceptualization of polyarchy, alternative sources of information is a significant requirement  in democracies. If we have a look at the media landscape in Turkey to see whether this principle is implemented or not, we can easily see that the majority of the media today has no reliable news sources, let alone alternative sources of information. Each day, the newspapers close to the government (and also close to the state apparatus) publish plenty of biased news reports, articles full of lies, threats and insults as well as pieces as tools of black propaganda vis-à-vis the “parallel state.”

We all know that since the graft probe became public on Dec. 17, the pro-government media in chorus with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has labeled the Hizmet movement as a parallel state structure getting engaged in illegal activities with external forces to overthrow the government. Despite the fact that there is no evidence for such accusations, the pro-government media in this process has acted as a propaganda machine to demonize the Hizmet movement through smear campaigns.

Frankly speaking, the recent policies of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, like the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) bill, Internet bill and Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) legislation all indicate how strongly the government has embedded itself with the state apparatus. The EU dream has started to fade away while important steps have been taken in the path to a police state wherein the security forces along with MİT will undisputedly become greatly empowered. However, all these developments have been constructed and represented in the pro-government media as steps contributing to democracy and national will. Every single day, the headlines of the pro-government media have been trying to justify these steps by attacking the Hizmet movement.

According to T. Van Dijk, a distinguished discourse analyst, the formulation of headlines and leads reflects the way a newspaper (reporter, editor, writer, etc.) frames the topics and how these shape the meaning of the whole text. In the chapter “The Role of the Press in the Reproduction of Racism,” from “Migrations: Interdisciplinary Perspectives” (2012), Van Dijk states the following:

“Since topics are normatively expressed in headlines, the predominance of negative topics in the news also shows in the headlines, as the dominant and defining structural category of news reports. Similarly, the more negative a story about them, the more it will appear prominently and at length in the paper, that is, on the front page, on top, across several columns, and with big letter types.”

From this perspective, it could be said that the headlines of the pro-government media portray actors who oppose or criticize the government as traitors and members of the parallel state. The formulation of the headlines always involves a stress on a “negative other” (the parallel state) with the aim to positively represent and even sacralize the government and today also the state.

Lastly, it is noteworthy to say that, most of the time claims by these newspapers have been refuted. For instance, independent deputy İhsan Barutçu denied telling the Star daily that the Hizmet movement had plotted against him after the daily ran a headline misquoting the deputy. Barutçu later made a statement in which he denied having ever referred to the movement as “parallel state” in his interview with the daily. This single case is enough to show how some particular media outlets aim to harm the Hizmet movement and its members and followers through misinformation, misrepresentation, biased news reports as well as headlines telling lies.

Source: Todays Zaman , February 24, 2014


Related News

To save itself, Turkish govt stabs hard-won democracy

“I don’t want to say that – but this is an executive coup over judiciary,” lawmaker Bal said. He noted that blaming the graft scandal on a “parallel state” – a phrase Erdogan often employs to describe his alleged opponents within the state – significantly damages Turkey’s reputation.

Rubin says Gülen’s extradition would convince Erdoğan that blackmail works

“If Gülen is turned over, however, I suspect relations will get worse because the extradition will convince Erdoğan that blackmail and bluster work,” said Rubin in an interview published in the Vocal Europe magazine on Monday.

Journalists and Writers Foundation holds media forum in Moscow

Gülen touched in his letter to the forum :The principle of objectivity in the media, which he said is often violated worldwide. “Adopting this principle and reflecting this principle in stories require a strong character, a strong culture, a sense of responsibility and an understanding of putting national interests above anything else.

Fethullah Gulen on attempts to associate Hizmet with terrorism and ISIS

Fethullah Gulen: As I have stated earlier, I have long called ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Murabitun, and many other organizations terrorist, maybe fifty times. And I have said a Muslim cannot be a terrorist; a Muslim can never engage in terrorism.

Damage assessment report for Erdoğan

The wounds Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is suffering as a result of a war waged against the Gülen movement in connection with the corruption and bribery probe are becoming clear. Whether or not Erdoğan has become more authoritarian is now less debatable; it is a concrete fact rather than a perception.

Attempting to discredit Gülen by linking him to Israel

A typical example of black propaganda is the “anti-reactionaryism action plan” prepared in cosmic rooms with the intention of destroying the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Gülen community in 2009, which was initially denied and passed off as a “piece of paper,” but which led to the trial and sentencing of those who prepared it.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Internship opportunities at Rumi Forum

Dutch government calls on Turkish community to report threats by supporters of Turkish President Erdogan

Hizmet, forming a party and capturing the state!

Kimse Yok Mu extends help to thousands in Palestine

Conference on “Hunger in the world and searching for ways to solve it”

Why does Fethullah Gülen matter to the world?

Fethullah Gulen on Israel and Jews

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News