Research reveals that both during and after the failed coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ), the stance taken by Western media outlets has been highly problematic, focused primarily on criticizing the democratically elected government of Turkey for its reaction against the attempt to seize power over the country by force of arms. Assistant professors Filiz Barın Akman and Beyazıt Akman of Ankara Social Sciences' University have conducted a research analysis titled, "Rhetorical analysis of news about the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey in Western media." The research, which examines media coverage of the military coup of 19 Western media outlets, from July 15 to July 29, reveals a shocking defamation campaign of Turkey and its citizens for standing against the attempted coup. Beyazıt Akman noted that "Since the morning after the coup attempt, a number of media outlets; primarily the BBC and CNN, published reports that create a positive perception of FETÖ leader Fethullah Gülen and make positive attributions when mentioning him."
Within the comprehensive study, experts provided 38 examples of controversial reports made within a two-week period. Just recently, the Washington Post published two articles on the U.S.-based terrorist leader in articles that used words that appeal to the West and portray Gülen as an innocent man. In an article published by the Washington Post on Thursday, Gülen is described as "frail" and his age is highlighted.
The analysis also revealed that Western media reports make serious aims to legitimize the terrorist leader and depict the citizens who stood up against the coup-attempt as "Islamists," "Erdoğan followers," or "powers loyal to and affiliated with Erdoğan." Furthermore, according to research findings, Western news commentators initially described the coup attempt as "sophisticated," but when it failed began to accuse the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for "staging" the coup attempt. Moreover, experts found strong, anti-Erdoğan rhetoric being used, particularly by the diplomacy editor of Sky News, Tim Marshall, who said: "They didn't kill President Erdoğan; that is the first thing you should do."