The Guardian infringes the journalistic rules of ethics with its conspiratorial thesis, hideously claiming that the terrorist PKK is an organization that aims to realize Erdoğan's ambition of a presidential system through war
So many things can be said about the definition, functions and limits of journalism, but I guess presenting facts to the reader is a clear limit of ethics, which is unquestionable.
In a recent editorial in The Guardian titled "The Guardian view on Turkey and the Kurds: Putting peace at risk," some facts were intentionally discarded in order to convince the reader of their highly conspiratorial thesis. In order to avoid any misunderstanding, I would like to underline that The Guardian of course, has an institutional point of view regarding many events in the world, and I personally agree with the newspaper in most cases. This is not the point I want to make. My point is that The Guardian is supposed to explicitly present the data without discarding any of it while exhibiting it to readers.
According to the editorial, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants early elections in order to introduce his presidential system and is initiating a war in order to facilitate his plan. If this is the picture, one has to believe in the conspiracy that the outlawed PKK is a confidential organization that aims to realize Erdoğan's ambition of a presidential system by means of the war, since the PKK had announced on July 11 that it ended the cease-fire and declared on July 15 that the reconciliation process had come to an end and the process of a revolutionary people's war had begun. The Turkish military did not bomb the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq, the headquarters of the PKK, following these statements.
On July 20, two hours after the suicide bomb attack organized by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) in Suruç, the PKK attacked a military base in Adıyaman province and killed one military officer. The state did not hit the Qandil Mountains that night either.
In the morning of the following day, some PKK members sneaked into the house of two police officers in Şanlıurfa province and killed them - shooting them in the head while they were asleep.
On the same day, the PKK's urban youth wing, the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), killed two civilians in Adana and Istanbul provinces. The PKK took responsibility for all these attacks with announcements released on its official website.
Upon the slaughtering of one military officer, two police officers and two civilians by the PKK, the state started to hit PKK emplacements in the Qandil Mountains. Who do you think risks the reconciliation process in such a picture?
If the Irish Republican Army (IRA) killed one British soldier, two British police officers and two British civilians, how would the U.K. respond? Based on the past, it could be argued that it would retaliate like Ankara has done. When we look at the archives of The Guardian, we do not see any instance in which they regard such retaliation in the framework of political ambitions of prime ministers in office then. So what is the difference for Turkey? Do states not have a right to self-defense?
But this is not the actual point, either. What I would like to emphasize is no matter what The Guardian's own view is, it does not include even one sentence about the above-mentioned attacks perpetrated by the PKK before imposing its own view to the reader. Regarding this point, the editorial did say: "There may or may not have been some PKK provocation, but the direction of events is clear."
What is clear is The Guardian glossed over the provocative assaults by the PKK with the phrase "may or may not," and there was nothing said about the soldiers, police officers and civilians who were killed.
The assaults by the PKK are still ongoing. The number of murdered military officers has gone up to 23. The number of murdered civilians is four. Lately, Harun Çekdar, a 16-year-old PKK member, carried out a suicide bomb attack on a base in Şırnak province with two tons of explosives. Yesterday two PKK members attacked a Yüksekova district's police department with rocket launchers. New attacks and casualties are reported in a different city every day.
In the face of such a picture, The Guardian can still prefer to interpret the situation focusing on Erdoğan and his presidential system, which Erdoğan has not mentioned since the elections. I guess they disposed of some explicit facts intentionally to bring the reader round to their conspiratorial point of view. That's against the most basic media ethics.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.