There are hundreds of stories, facts and layers to the July 15, 2016, coup attempt that reveal the tragedy as well as put into perspective the awakening of the Turkish people. They help present a different viewpoint and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the incident.
One perspective, however, would be marked as a wall of shame for Western media, which came out with one-sided remarks, biases, ignorance and hypocrisy in the wake of the coup attempt.
As Turkey witnessed yet another coup, this time only to be defeated by its people, Western media ignored key developments and instead focused on twisting the facts. Almost none of the major Western media focused on the challenges faced by the Turkish democracy and the popular resistance. Rather, their portrayal of the situation was a twisted misrepresentation of the entire scenario.
Outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, BBC, CNN, Der Spiegel, Bild, ARD, Al-Jazeera English and the Daily Mail did not bother with objective journalism and focused little on facts like coup plotters firing at civilians, carrying out airstrikes on Parliament, blockading the Bosporus bridges (now the July 15 Martyrs Bridge), and their occupation of the state-run TV. They preferred focusing on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instead and continued their obsession over his "consolidation of power" in the country.
"Erdoğan's Revenge," was the headline run by The Economist on July 23, 2016.
Germany's Der Spiegel, on the other hand, ran "Once There Was a Democracy." France was no different as the French Courrier International went along with, "Turkey: A failed coup and a winner: Erdoğan." Some of the important and horrific details from that night, like the killing of hundreds of civilians, however, almost went unmentioned.
Fox News even went as far as claiming that "Friday night's failed coup was Turkey's last hope to stop the Islamization of its government and the degradation of its society," implying blatant support for the coup plotters on July 16, 2016.
Time magazine claimed that Erdoğan is a leader who gains power through conflicts and did not even mention the word coup in its initial take on the incident.
"If the coup succeeds, Islamists lose and we win," said Ralph Peters on Fox News, with no shame of presenting himself as a supporter of the putschists.
Given the mainstream media's treatment of the developments, coverage by far-right media came as no surprise. "Coup attempt in Turkey by the military was dilettantish. Erdoğan's reaction, however, was well-prepared," claimed German far-right mouthpiece Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung.
"A senior U.S. military source tells NBC News that Erdoğan, refused landing rights in Istanbul, is reported to be seeking asylum in Germany," claimed MSNBC reporter Kyle Griffin in a tweet on the night of the coup, going beyond his fellow journalists and lying to the public. Griffin's lie, however, was quickly falsified as Erdoğan appeared on TV and called on the people of Turkey to defend their democracy.
Meanwhile, the U.K.-based Independent shared a flood of tweets by Mahir Zeynalovö, a well-known member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the group behind the coup. The tweets contained supposed addresses to sources that would help "understand democracy in Turkey."
Unfortunately for The Independent, it could not manage to be at the top of the wall of shame with this move as CNN International, however, went a step further and actually interviewed FETÖ head Fetullah Gülen on July 31, 2016. Thanks to that interview, the audience had the chance to hear the following unbelievable and barefaced words from Gülen: "It looks more like a Hollywood movie than a military coup."
That sentence alone proves that Western media provided a platform to putschists to attempt to clear themselves, twist reality and pretend as if hundreds have not been killed because of them.