Turkey Coup Attempt: Propaganda Beats Journalism

Sufyan bin Uzayr

Few days back, Turkey witnessed an unsuccessful coup conducted by certain factions within the Turkish military. The Turkey coup d’état attempted to overthrow the Erdoğan government and install military dictatorship.

Amidst all the hysteria and chaos, Turks took to streets to protect their democratically elected government. As a result, the coup failed, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is still in power.

However, even though the Turkey coup attempt failed, it left several questions unanswered.

Turkey Coup Attempt: Propaganda Beats Journalism

The events and happenings of the Turkey coup have become common knowledge by now. Turkey did not go the way of Egypt, and in the process, the Turks taught us all a very important lesson. The military coup did not fail of its own accord — it failed because the people rose up against it.

Thousands of Turkish people came out on the streets, stirred further by the Islamic call to prayer, and challenged the coup. Similarly, the police did not succumb before the highly-trained military personnel.

There were several casualties, and following the coup, there have been numerous arrests. The conspiracy theories aren’t dead either, with some even propagating the claim that Erdoğan himself organized the unsuccessful Turkey coup attempt.

 Yet, in the midst of it all, the role of Western media remained dismal and below par. In fact, journalism was hardly visible! It was all propaganda .

Western Media Outlets: Journalism or Propaganda?

Let us begin with everyone’s favorite, Fox News. The “strategic analyst” was happy to exclaim that if the coup succeeds, “we win”:

fox news turkey coup

In fact, Lt Col Ralph Peters tried even harder, writing on the Fox News website:

That tragically failed coup was a forlorn hope, not an attempt to take over a country. Turkey is not a banana republic in which the military grasps the reins for its own profit.  For almost a century, the Turkish armed forces have been the guardians of the country’s secular constitution.

Not wanting to be outdone, Sputnik went a step ahead and projected the images of Turkish people protesting against the coup as “celebrating” it!

sputnik turkey coup

The New York Times, trying hard to get some extra pageviews probably, decided to seize the moment and indulge in its dislike for President Erdoğan by reminding everyone of his “controversial rule”.

new york times turkey coup

Also, The Telegraph defined the army as “the guardian of Turkey’s secular constitution” — mind you, guardians of the constitution that were trying to topple a constitutionally legitimate government!

telegraph turkey coup

But it was painful to see The Daily Beast, a publication that I actually follow, too falling prey to propaganda. According to The Daily Beast, President Erdoğan was denied asylum in Germany (even though he never sought it in the first place). Again, facts? Nope!

daily beast turkey coup

The above, obviously, are just some instances wherein Western Media failed miserably at journalism, and excelled at propaganda. By and large, the Western media outlets failed to realize that it was not just the police that arrested the rebellious soldiers, but even the common people who, in spite of the firing, came out in large numbers and challenged the coup. They further failed to notice the ground reality; the mood on the streets was different. Anyone who even casually browsed through alternative media sources or social networks knew that the mood was in favour of Erdoğan.

You cannot really blame the media channels and publications for their fault though. Many international powers were eager to see the Turkey coup succeed. They wanted Erdoğan out of power. They badly hoped the AK Parti would fall out of favor.  Blinded by their bias, it was only natural that they projected rumors and propaganda as “news”. 

What more could one expect anyway? Much like Egypt, in the case of Turkey as well, they wanted a legitimate government out of power, and a military regime in place. Folks who talk the most about democracy refuse to support democratically elected governments in Algeria, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and everywhere else if the said governments do not act as their stooges. It is never about rights; it is not about values. It is only a matter of interests.

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Conclusion

As for the government of President Erdoğan, there indeed have been some issues. However, times have not been easy for Turkey. One cannot forget the fact that Turkey has absorbed a large number of refugees. Plus, it has had its share of friction with Russia and other states, and Erdoğan has faced it all pretty well.

Furthermore, the people of Turkey have been wrongfully vilified in Europe; supporters of Brexit have been scaring others by claiming that two million Turks are on their way to UK.

As such, it was not shocking to see the Turks rally out in support of their leader and his government.

Over the course of the next few days, further events will unfold. There have been reports (again, in Western media outlets) that some of the rebel soldiers were not even aware that they were part of a military coup. While the authenticity of such reports is yet to be verified, it’s also true that unlike Sisi’s soldiers in Egypt, the renegade soldiers in Turkey did not open fire at the general public en masse. Unfortunately, there were many casualties. However, for the most part, the rebellious soldiers exercised a certain level of restraint. Millions would have perished if it were the army of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

This incident also showed that traditional methods of military coups are now over. You cannot enforce martial law simply by taking control of the state television channels; you need to focus on social media, private television and ratio outlets, and especially the internet.

Who was responsible for this failed coup attempt in Turkey? Was it really Fethullah Gülen, or some other front? Answers awaited.

Lastly, when it comes to foiling military coups, the people of Turkey who fearlessly acted in the best interests of their country, have schooled the world.


Founder-editor of Muslim Memo. :)