The contact made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Washington, where he is attending the Nuclear Security Summit, and the contact made by his colleagues with the American intelligentsia have shown that people in the U.S. have not been properly informed about what is really going on in Turkey and how we are struggling at home and abroad to preserve our country as an island of stability in a volatile area riddled with terrorism, violence and intrigue in the heart of the Middle East.
While we have suffered promotional flaws over the past three decades or so, because we have failed to explain our realities to the Americans and the Europeans, there is also the fact that there are some people in these places who do not really want to understand because they are prejudiced against Turkey. But, they are being constantly misinformed by Turkey's enemies and adversaries.
President Erdoğan can be extremely persuasive not only with his charm and character, but because of his open and sincere speaking style. We observed this as he addressed Jewish leaders in the U.S. on Wednesday. He open-heartedly explained to them where we do not see eye to eye with Israel, our complaints, where we have mutual interests with the Jewish state and how we want to restore good relations with them. He also explained how Turkey wants to contribute to restoring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Jewish leaders were clearly impressed with the frank speech and the open-hearted approach, and said so.
However, we can't parade Erdoğan in Washington and Europe as a full-time lobbyist throughout the year, thus, we need a more permanent solution. Hiring lobby firms and pouring money into them has not done the trick in the past three decades since Turgut Özal was prime minister. Turkey needs to form teams to be sent to the U.S. and Europe to explain our facts and, at least, wipe away the disinformation and misinformation campaign conducted by its adversaries. These teams can be supported by the efforts of lobbyists and then we can make some headway.
We have observed here with disappointment that many people in Washington are unaware of the facts about the Gülen Movement and the PKK instigated violence in Turkey.
We have to explain to these people that the Gülen Movement is a dangerous terrorist outfit and it has infiltrated even the American ranks, including the bureaucracy, the media and, unfortunately, Capitol Hill, if not the White House. We have to explain that the Gülen Movement has infiltrated the Turkish state apparatus, including the police force, the military, and the judiciary to topple the Erdoğan administration under the cloak of "we are moderate religious people who fear Allah" and yet everything they have done is immoral and their acts are in defiance of the rules of the Almighty.
People in Washington are unaware that the Gülen Movement has grabbed American taxpayers' money to supposedly finance charter schools but instead have used those funds to build a financial empire bent on infiltrating the American system and also financing their coup in Turkey. They have flooded the U.S. with their supporters using the visa privileges granted to them with the pretense of bringing in Turkish English language teachers from Turkey as if there were no Americans fit for these jobs. They bought favors from U.S. politicians and bureaucrats. They bought favors in the U.S. media. While doing this, they pretended to be friends with the Jews and the Vatican, while in a very sinister organization.
People in Washington are unaware that the PKK has used the peace process championed by Erdoğan to mass arms around Turkey for an uprising and eventual secession. They are unaware that the PKK never wanted peace and put us all to sleep while they prepared for a secessionist campaign. They are also aware that when Turkey launched its anti-terrorism campaign in the southeastern towns and cities to stop this campaign it made the extra effort to ensure that the local people would not be harmed and thus security forces suffered casualties above the 350 mark. Some people are so misinformed in Washington that they ask us, "as the Kurdish PYD [Democratic Union Party] in Syria is not on the U.S. terrorist list, wouldn't it be appropriate to take the PKK off the U.S. terrorist list?"
All this points to one thing. We have to get our act together and counter the misinformation and disinformation campaign with constant promotions and an information assault all year round in the U.S. and in Europe.