Turkey's reality and perceptions

Published 30.05.2014 22:52

What is really happening in Turkey is not to the taste of opposition circles and most foreign observers. This all started with the last very bloody attack organized by the Kurdish terrorist organization PKK, in the aftermath of the Arab awakening. The PKK attacked Şırnak, a southeastern town in Turkey, almost exclusively inhabited by Kurds. The operation was carried out by more than 300 heavily armed militia members, whose aim was to infiltrate the town, possibly invade public buildings, get into the private homes and resist security forces trying to fight them off. Such an event would have been seen as a direct continuation of the "regional" uprisings, giving the world media the picture of an entire city of armed Kurds resisting against "Turkish Army." Well, the whole operation resulted in a total disaster for the PKK.

The security forces were alerted by the local population which had had enough of armed attacks and were able to stop the PKK militia well before they reached the city by encircling them and destroying all their forces. After this terrible blow, the PKK accepted a truce, which still stands today. That has shown the reality of Turkey, where even the Kurdish population had faith in democratic openings and functioning, rebuffing "armed struggle."

The second major event was the Gezi protests, in direct line with social uprisings as seen in France in 1968, in Germany recently, in Spain with the movement of indignados...

Instead, this manifestation, which suddenly erupted and almost as suddenly disappeared, has been portrayed as a new Tahrir Square revolt. It became evident that Turkish society was definitely much more like the U.S. or the EU societies, but it did not stop the opposition circles.

Since Dec., 17, 2013, there is an overt conflict between a bizarre organization under the guidance of Fethullan Gülen and the government. Fabricated information has been used against the premier, his family, his government, his close circle of collaborators to discredit him and his political stance. That is the visible part of the iceberg. However, a more pernicious, more undercover approach to discredit Turkey, its development, its economy, its soft power is being implemented step-by-step, cautiously, through international media, to alter the foreign perception of Turkish regime.

Not a week passes by without an alarming analysis about Turkish economic growth appearing. Not a month passes by without foreign sources preconizing a major diplomatic setback for Turkey. This has being going on for the last quarter in a more and more visible way. Nothing Turkey undertakes with success can become the subject of any serious analysis in a reputable foreign media organ.

For instance, Turkey hosts almost 1 million Syrian refugees on its soil, having raised the standards of refugee camps in an incredible way, but unless you really search well in specialized web pages, it would be very difficult to find any information about this.

Still, all this incredible black and pernicious propaganda did not lead to the results expected by its instigators. The premier has largely won a local election after a whole one-man-campaign he organized. Popular support has remained intact. More importantly, the new disequilibrium in international relations has shown Turkey's importance as a provider of stability in the region and in the world. The Cyprus issue is nearing a solution after 40 years of division, new energy routes are being devised through Turkey, especially from Northern Iraq and Azerbaijan. Long-awaited and heralded economic turmoil remains far away. This is definitely not to the taste of the opposition.

The new issue is a "movie" that will be shot in the U.S., concerning the life and deeds of the prime minister. The movie will apparently try to restage another version of "Fahrenheit 9/11," which was shot to ridicule and denounce the policies of President George W. Bush. Such incredible propaganda could have perhaps been effective in the case of a president who waged war against third-world countries. When it comes to the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has prevented conflicts in his region through Turkey's soft power, who has been winning all the democratic and pluralist elections he has participated in since 1994 as a party leader or contender, such a defamation initiative is at best ridicule.

This will certainly not diminish the ardor of the parallel organization that is waging an open war on the government. However the nature of the instruments they try to use only show their despair and disappointment for not undermining the premier's popular support. Their propaganda is likely to become more open and less persuasive in coming months.

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