Although they have become history for those who view events via a daily perspective, two incidents happened just before France’s presidential elections.
The first one was the things that happen to former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who faced a probe into his alleged involvement with a prostitution ring in France. In France, Strauss-Kahn was considered as the presidential candidate who would give France a way out of this economic crisis with his knowledge, bring hope to the Socialist Party and balance former French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s charisma. However, Strauss-Kahn quit the IMF after a New York hotel maid said he sexually assaulted her in May. Then he withdrew from the election race. Although it has been revealed the maid’s claims against Strauss-Kahn was not true, it was too late.
The second incident happened when the second presidential candidate of the Socialist Party, Francois Hollande, started to challenge Sarkozy. Two months before France’s presidential elections, all public opinion polls indicated that Hollande would win the elections. Right at that moment, an incident took place which brought “Islamist terrorism,” which was the primary focus of Sarkozy’s election campaign, back onto the agenda.
Mohamed Merah killed seven people in Toulouse in the name of al-Qaeda. After a 32-hour standoff with police, he died in a hail of gunfire as he jumped out a window of his apartment in the southern city of Toulouse. It was announced that Merah killed these people in order to take revenge for the deaths of Palestinian children. The prosecutors said that he had contacts with al-Qaeda and had trained in the Pakistan. Every detail about Merah was meaningful. When the French police determined the place where Merah was hiding, Toulouse attracted the attention of both French and international media organizations.
While there were already doubts lingering about whether he committed the murders alone or with the support of an organization, Merah’s being shot dead in the head as he was about to be apprehended by elite police officers served to multiply these doubts. Official statements assured us that it was a terrorist incident undertaken by an individual. The implications that Merah undertook such an attack independently were much more macabre for the French public.
Soon it was found out that Merah was actually a police informant who was under close police surveillance and he had committed the murder under the close “supervision of the police.” The one who announced that Merah had been working for the intelligence organization was no ordinary person. It was Yves Bonnet, the former head of French intelligence, who made this disclosure.
It was revealed that Merah had entered some Middle Eastern countries, including Israel and Turkey, with the help of the French secret service and his telephone was wiretapped by the police all through 2011 and the intelligence authorities had access to his IP address one day before he attacked the Jewish school, but still no efforts were made to stop him, and he was blacklisted from air travel by the US. However, the mainstream French media networks, which were no different from each other despite being positioned to the right or left wing of the political spectrum, avoided further examination of this matter.
Yet, it was impossible to see the purging of Merah as an ordinary incident, nor what happened to International Monetary Fund (IMF) President Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
A heinous film, produced by mysterious people in the US while the country is heading toward the presidential elections, has had repercussions in the country’s domestic politics and it has created a lot of disappointment and resentment across the Muslim world, and the developments leading to the death of an ambassador in Benghazi make one remember these two incidents that occurred in France. Questions abound and Libyan Parliament Speaker Muhammad Yusuf says that the findings in Benghazi imply that there was a “delicately conducted operation.”
People in Turkey and across the world have always had suspicions that “shadowy networks” tend to mastermind such incidents, but nothing has been proven so far. In this respect, the progress made in uncovering the people or organizations involved in the Council of State attack, and the fact that Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK) security cameras were turned off during the incident, which came to be portrayed as the “revolt of radical Islamists against the Republic,” is a historic move against such politically motivated plots. But the identification of the “local Ergenekon” is only a small move as there is still much to be done to uncover the “global Ergenekon.” But, will the world find the media, political will, police and judiciary that will be capable of performing this gigantic task?