Many Turks who have been following the latest developments in the U.S. over the last six months and the presidential elections have been making statements similar to this headline.
The circulation of false news, the climbing societal polarization and the unification of media outlets against one candidate are unavoidably reminiscent of the election atmosphere in Turkey over the last 15 years, in which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan triumphed.
However, in Turkey, no electorate raided the rally of an opposition candidate or was subjected to violence after raising tensions through protests. It seems that the U.S. is on the axis of a more severe societal tension.
Recently, CNN released material that was prepared as oppositional research to Donald Trump dissident Republicans and Democrats with an example of sloppy journalism that is especially beneath journalist Jack Tapper.
The sources and allegations in the material cannot be verified at all. Subsequently, BuzzFeed News proved that even worse could be done and released a curious intelligence memo simply to get more clicks.
The file was sent to many journalists before reaching CNN and Buzzfeed, but none of them released it because it was totally unsubstantiated. Even the editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed said, "there is serious reason to doubt the allegations."
Moreover, within the first few hours after its release, one of the most critical allegations in the file, which suggests Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen secretly visited Prague to meet with some Russian officials, were refuted after Cohen said that he had never been to Prague and his passport offers proof to this. The FBI also verified that there is no evidence suggesting that Cohen has been to Prague.
Even graver than the media coverage is the question of why such an unverified and unsubstantiated intelligence report was presented to both President Barack Obama and President-elect Trump with the joint decision of the heads of four U.S. intelligence agencies.
The resemblance to Turkey increases at this point. As a result of the cooperation between the Gülenist intelligence officers and prosecutors that controlled the order in Turkey, a covert judicial coup was attempted on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013. The public was heavily exposed to a series of leaked tapes, unverified allegations and untold sources.
This force took action when then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted that the Gülenists would not govern the state with the power vested by the people.
Parallel to this, it is widely known that Trump has had tense relations with intelligence agencies from the very beginning. With the latest incident that could be regarded as an explicit declaration of war, they came on the brink of breaking ties on top of the other developments including the CIA's overt support for Hillary Clinton, the impression that the agency used its own means and capabilities to undermine Trump, and Trump's rejection of even routine intelligence briefings.
Trump bluntly said following those words on Twitter as his first response to the incident, arguing that the intelligence agencies are the guilty ones since they are the source of the leak, "Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak' into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"
Are the commentators, who drew parallels between Trump and the Nazis based on some of Trump's remarks, aware of the fact that Trump is the elected candidate while the U.S. deep state apparatus or establishment is trying to undermine, control and overthrow the president-elect by using their bureaucratic power? One of the most dangerous possibilities that could be encountered in a democracy is now happening in the U.S.'s democracy.
If Americans espouse the domination of these "psychological war" experts that are not part of the democratic processes over the elected ones only because of their grudge against Trump, no one can take the U.S. democracy as a role model. Turkish people have won the war against the deep state under the leadership of Erdoğan. Hopefully, the U.S. can do the same.
About the author
Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.