Western media and the 2015 elections

Published 05.06.2015 00:18

By repeating the same, age-old biases about President Erdoğan and the AK Party, Western media outlets have failed to come up with tangible insights on the elections

Ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections, a number of articles and stories have appeared in Western media outlets that have brought nothing original to the table. At this point, international observers seem interested in determining Turkey's position from a narrow angle that simply mirrors the opinions of certain groups in the country. For Turkish readers, there is nothing exciting about coming across an article about the country in the Western media. Such pieces, after all, hardly offer anything but what most Turkish speakers have already seen or heard in national outlets. Perpetually reproducing certain criticism of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, international observers fail to come up with novel ideas about Turkey. For AK Party supporters, meanwhile, such arguments only represent the translation of what they hear inside the country to foreign languages. To make matters worse, the opposition parties, graced by the approval of foreigners, mistakenly think that the Western media's criticism of Turkey will give them the upper hand in political battles.

All things considered, the consumption of Western criticism of Turkey and the AK Party at home leads to outcomes almost completely opposite to their intended effects. The coverage of Turkey in English-language media outlets, which is informed by public diplomacy and manipulations by the intelligence community, merely serves to sustain the global intellectual hegemony while engaging in character assassination of the country. Nothing new has happened ahead of Sunday's elections either. Western media outlets, informed by their sources inside Turkey and certain groups in their native countries, have picked their horse in the race, which, of course, is none other than the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Of course, hardly anyone seems to notice the inconsistency that a political party that has mobilized Turkey's leftists who are obsessed with national independence enjoys such popularity in foreign capitals.

Surely enough, the mainstream media in the West has quite high standards provided they do not end up with something akin to the captivating fiction of Iraq's liberation or end up turning their back on integrity for the sake of counter-terrorism. When it comes to national interests, however, they have no problem with recklessly manipulating the news. Taking a quick look at all the claims that certain news outlets such as The New York Times, Financial Times and The Economist have made over the past couple of years, no doubt, would reveal that the vast majority of their accusations ended up proven wrong. The relationship between Western media outlets and their domestic allies has become so complex that it has become impossible to tell which group translates from the other. Western media outlets, particularly British publications, have openly endorsed the HDP ahead of Sunday's elections by suggesting with big words but no concrete evidence that Turkish democracy cannot survive unless the party passes the 10 percent election threshold, just like they gave similar advice to the Scots last year.

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