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January 01, 2013, Tuesday

Demirel, psychological warfare and media

"Everyone should forgive each other; the country needs a torrent of love, and this is something politicians should do," said former President Süleyman Demirel, one of the architects of the postmodern coup of February 28, 1997, recently speaking to the Akşam daily.

Of course, if Turkey had followed through its democratization processes and attained full normalization, we should have done without delay what Demirel suggests.

But unfortunately, neither were we able to complete our democratization processes nor did the members of deep state networks and military juntas as well as their collaborators from the media and civilian groups --who made it their habit to undermine democracy and popular will incessantly-- express their regret for their demonic deeds. So our impression is that they will not hesitate for a moment before resuming their demonic plans, God forbid. For this reason, before rushing to walk on the "forgiveness" lane, it is essential that we wait for them to confront, albeit in pretense, with their never-ending anti-democratic interventions and conspiracies and to pay an apology to the nation for the sorrows they caused. Unfortunately, neither the members and supporters of Ergenekon --a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government-- nor the defendants at the criminal case against Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plan nor business, political and media groups who collaborated with these deep state networks exhibit any sign of such an endeavor --in pretense or genuine.

Moreover, to attach any importance to Demirel's call, made with a perfect Eastern guile, that equate the victims with their oppressors would be a great injustice to the victims who suffered big sorrows at the hands of subversive generals and their Demirel-like collaborators. Really, who can suggest that these victims need to seek any forgiveness from Demirel and his likes? Shouldn't Demirel-like coup perpetrators and businessmen, bureaucrats, journalists and so-called civil society organizations (CSOs) that collaborated with them take the lead and pay an apology to these victims and seek their forgiveness in the first place for the normalization of the country? It is finest example of insolence to equate coup perpetrators/junta members with their victims and suggest that these victims should ask forgiveness of their oppressors. But it is not surprising to hear such suggestions from Demirel.

Yet, a news story that appeared on Aksiyon, Turkey's only weekly news magazine, on Monday reveals how coup perpetrators and their collaborators and certain media networks were making coup preparations until very recently --and perhaps, they are still in such a conspiracy. I must note that the General Staff sent about 3 million documents copied from the data produced between 2005 and 2009 on the hard drives of the desktop and server PCs of the Information Support Department (BDD), formerly known as the Psychological Warfare Department, to the requesting court, and this is a very positive development and something we are not accustomed to. In other words, these documents were not leaked or they were not seized during a police operation. Rather, they are sent to the court by the General Staff finally acting with a democratic maturity.

Judge Hüsnü Çalmuk was assigned to the task of examining part of these documents, and he came up with a 212-page preliminary report. Aksiyon analyzes this report and portrays a horrifying picture for us. These documents contain continuously updated psychological warfare operation plans, memos, and briefings and they substantiate the publications and other efforts of the black propaganda websites, set up by the BDD, against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Fethulah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar. In one of these documents, it is said, "The conditions for meddling with the ruling AK Party [AKP] either with violent or non-violent methods are not ripe." Then, what should be done in order to ripen the conditions is listed in utmost detail.

The report also has a section titled, "having certain media networks publish news stories and columns." When you read this section, certain news stories and certain columns that appeared in recent years in certain media outlets particularly including the Hürriyet newspaper, about the investigations into Ergenekon and Balyoz flash into your minds. According to the documents, the anti-democratic efforts targeting the ruling AKP and the social groups that support the government's policies gained momentum hot in the heels of the parliamentary elections of July 22, 2007, held after the presidential election process had been impeded with another anti-democratic intervention. In a document, dated July 30, 2007, i.e., only several days after the AKP had been reelected to office with a whopping 47 percent of the general vote, the situation is assessed and what should be done to divide the AKP is discussed.

The document in question gives much room to the building of public opinion and the use of public opinion building tools. "Academics having the desired characteristics may be convinced to conduct guided surveys," the document suggests, and it appears that this advice has been complied with to the letter. For instance, the infamous "neighborhood pressure" survey, which was performed at that time by Professor Binnaz Toprak, who is currently a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and which had created much controversy both in terms of its methodology and its findings, quickly pops into one's mind. On the other hand, the Hürriyet daily-led campaign to publish news stories and columns that argue that "Turkey is becoming like Malaysia" apparently falls into this category.

The document also lists the strategies to be used by the civilian groups who are close to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). These include the establishing the gray and black propaganda websites, establishing news agencies, planting agents into the CSOs, manipulating the CSOs, promoting certain media figures, making them write down books, and procuring these books in large volumes to support them. As noted by Aksiyon, after reading this document, you realize that numerous ill-founded and irrelevant debates or controversies of the past were not in vain or coincidental, but they were planned in painstaking detail beforehand and implemented by the proper media outlets and collaborating academic circles.

Unfortunately, the media always played a crucial role in these plans. We know that the soldiers who conducted psychological warfare operations against the great majority of people and the government as if they were enemy categorically found unfailing support from the collaborative media networks. You may ask, "How do you know?" Of course, we know it from the publications of these media networks. Who can argue that the neo-nationalist publications as well as the publications and broadcasts of the Doğan Media Group's newspaper and TV channels have nothing to do with the strategies I sum up below?

"The explicit or implicit media coverage of the targeted themes boosts their influence." For instance, instead of reporting the scandalous content of the documents and information seized by the police during the operations against the deep state networks and military juntas, certain media networks ran headline stories, saying that there were cartoon films inside some CDs seized by the prosecutor's office.

"It is not part of psychological warfare operation to appear on the media. Media appearance should influence the emotions, views and attitudes of the target group." This is what they did and continue to do. Thus, certain media outlets failed to make any mention of the serious charges against the Ergenekon and Balyoz defendants, but they did their best to create public sympathy in them.

"News stories, articles and analyses that can attract the media attention should get to the public." Certain newspapers published numerous news stories and articles depicting the defendants who are on trial with serious changes as heroes.

"Black propaganda books about reactionaryism should be printed and distributed to all publishing houses. These will be about religious orders and communities, the businesses run by pious people, swindling, etc., and they will employ a fluent language and their authors will use different aliases." We saw many examples of this. Such books are abundant and they are aggressively promoted. You can see how this is done by looking at the D&R bookstores, owned by the Doğan Media Group.

"Fully controlled CSOs cannot be efficiently used. The CSOs that are controlled indirectly, implicitly or partially are more effective and this method is less risky and more cost-effective. It is wrong to use the CSOs which are in the TSK's backyard for creating public opinion." This item is really fully of gems: "fully controlled CSOs" and "the CSOs which are in the TSK's backyard"... Really, which CSOs are they? How many so-called CSOs controlled by the TSK --in addition to the already deciphered Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD)-- are there in the country? Actually, this is not a hard to answer question. It is enough to look at the so-called CSOs that organized the Republic rallies and similar demonstrations.

Do you think Turkey is in an atmosphere of "mutual forgiveness" Demirel refers to?

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