TRUTH, FICTION, AND STRANGE EVENTS

Horatio: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
Hamlet: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
~Hamlet, Act 1, Scene V, William Shakespeare.

It has been brought to my attention, by a couple of people, that there is a certain article which is making ridiculous claims. Sure enough, the article is making ridiculous claims so we might as well go ahead and discuss it.

The article in question is from The Journal of Turkish Weekly, by one Dr. Sedat Laciner, who presents himself as a intellectual. You’ll need to check the “About Us” link on the website for that info. Suffice it to say, I like it when people present themselves as intellectuals. I always have a good time with academic snootiness.

Not only is Dr. Laciner an intellectual, but as I gather from this article, he is also a liar. He writes:

According to the Turkish side there was no difference between the PKK’s Roj TV and the Al Qaeda’s propagandas. As Journal of Turkish Weekly we asked the Danish authorities if Turkey allows an Islamist extremist TV channel encouraging violence in Denmark and in Europe, could it be considered by Denmark in terms of ‘freedom of expression’.

According to the Danish broadcasting authorities, who examined the videos supplied to them by “the Turkish side,” as in the Turkish embassy in Denmark, there was no encouragement to violence to be found in the videos of Roj TV footage. I have already written about this fact and if I, the simple village idiot, can figure that out with the help of Google, why can’t this fat-cat intellectual figure it out too?

Dr. Laciner also lies by making a lot of claims without sources. I mean, if the guy has a PhD, do you think he’d be so unfamiliar with footnotes and citation? Think of all the money the guy paid for his post-graduate degrees from the University of Sheffield and the University of London, and he still can’t do footnotes! Maybe it’s just that Dr. Laciner, being an intellectual, feels that he can run free and wild with assumptions that all us ordinary mortals cannot take for granted. Let me give you some examples:

1. Denmark first allowed the Roj TV to broadcast from Denmark to the Middle East though it was well-known that Roj TV was the PKK’s propaganda channel and it was encouraging violence in the Middle East.

Right. We’ve already been through the “encouraging violence” thing, can we stop beating the dead horse now? How was it well-known that Roj TV is a PKK propaganda channel? Again, we might check what the Danish broadcasting authorities had to say about the videos they observed. They didn’t mention anything about “propaganda” in their press release.

2. The security reports clearly show that the Roj TV is financed by the PKK’s drug and human trafficking money.

If the allegations are clearly shown, then why is there no source? Obviously it isn’t so clear after all, is it? We all know that everyone in Turkey is guilty until proven innocent, but come on! This is ridiculous! What security reports?!

3. It is argued that the terrorist organization uses the ‘TV channel’ for its money laundering businesses.

It is argued by whom? The same intellectuals who can’t supply a source for the drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering business? By the way, Mr. Intellectual Laciner. . . sorry, Doctor Intellectual Laciner, the use of the passive voice doesn’t sound very solid when you’re trying to claim a fact. You could have stated it much better by saying: “The terrorist organization uses the ‘TV channel’ for its money laundering business.” Use of the passive voice tells me that you wouldn’t be sure of what you’re saying, even if you did have a source.

4. One of the members of the Roj TV managers is the high-ranked PKK (Kadek) militant.

Okay, which is it? PKK or KADEK? Oh, let me think! KADEK hasn’t been around since it merged with KNK to form KGK, or KONGRA-GEL. We had a recent statement from KNK on the cover-up over the bombings in Semdinli, but I haven’t heard anything from KADEK in a couple of years. Maybe the intellectual means KKK? Maybe he means HPG? Maybe he means PJAK? Maybe he means PÇDK? The guy is an intellectual and he has written on the “Kurdish movement in Turkey,” and he says that the security reports, which he doesn’t cite, are so clear, which makes me ask: Why is he so confused?

For all of his post-graduate education in the UK, Dr. Laciner really has no clue as to what the right of freedom of expression means. He thinks that by PM Rasmussen and Jyllands-Posten issuing an apology over the cartoons affair, it negates their stand on the right of freedom of expression. I bet our fat-cat intellectual will even take the slippery-slope into a total denial of the legitimacy of the right of freedom of expression based on an apology. However, this line of argument, which you can read in the third paragraph of Dr. Laciner’s non-sourced commentary, is a red herring. To apologize does not mean that PM Rasmussen or Jyllands-Posten have changed their minds about the right of free expression. It certainly would not mean that I had changed my mind.

Let’s pause for a moment of silence to remember how well the right of freedom of expression is practiced in Turkey.

Since it has been the hot topic of conversation for the better part of a week now, everyone knows that the cartoons in question were first published in September, 2005. But there is an interesting point in that third paragraph:

So, how about the freedom of expression? Why have both Rasmussen and the newspapers changed the mind? If they apologized 4 months ago, or Rasmussen met with the legal representatives of the Muslim world, would the ‘freedom of expression’ principle damaged?

Notice the time frame? Four months ago. Four months ago the cartoons were originally published, so why has the Islamic street waited four months to vent their anger? Does anyone remember the alleged Quran-flushing story by Newsweek? The story was published at the beginning of May, 2005 and by the end of May, 2005, some fifteen Afghans were dead from the ensuing violence. All this happened in a space of less than four weeks, let alone four months. Why was the reaction so slow this time, especially since Erdogan had brought up the subject with Rasmussen during his visit to Denmark in mid-November?

Another question: Which cartoons were spread throughout the Islamic world? Why do I ask? Well, there was this little commentary, from Asia Times:

Jyllands-Posten – along with another newspaper in Norway that reran the offensive cartoons – is obviously neither self-respecting nor serious. What good will it do to depict a Prophet revered by hundreds of millions all around the globe as a terrorist, carrying a bomb under his turban? What sort of input to humor or intellect is it to portray a man who has contributed to the spiritual composition of a large portion of humanity as a pig?

WHOA! Where did that last line come from?

The Jyllands-Posten cartoons can be seen here. Someone please point out to me the one with the depiction of a pig.

What this tells me is that there were other cartoons, besides the ones published by Jyllands-Posten, that were taken to Islamic countries in order to manufacture the event we have been watching recently. Only one Middle Eastern paper published them, in Jordan, and it didn’t publish all of them. Given that no other Middle Eastern paper has published them and, given that the internet is not as widely available there as in the West, how can we be so sure that the cartoons disseminated on the Islamic street are the same cartoons that Jyllands-Posten published, and only those cartoons? Obviously, the author of the Asia Times commentary has seen at least one other cartoon.

There is something funny going on here.

Dr. Laciner, our intellectual, is not the only Turk to have made a connection between Roj TV and cartoons. Semih Idiz did also, in Turkish Daily News. I don’t believe that this association is coincidence. Turkey is in an excellent position to coordinate the Islamic street, since it holds the secretary-generalship of the OIC. We all know that the AKP is an Islamist party, a Turkish-Islamist party, and the head guru of Turkish-Islamism is Fethullah Gulen, who has worldwide connections, especially through his “schools.” What an excellent network to disseminate “ideas” and “documents,” although it might take a little time to do it that way. Maybe four months?

In the meantime, the fox has been asked to guard the henhouse, from Zaman, the Gulen gang’s paper:

The European Union (EU) top foreign policy chief Javier Solana has sought help from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to calm down the row over the offensive depiction of the Prophet Mohammed by the European press.

The EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Solana talked with Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, OIC Secretary-General, on the phone on Thursday, to discuss recent developments in the wake of the reproduction by a number of European newspapers of insulting caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

How convenient for Turkey, to create such violent momentum four months after the fact (maybe, as a friend suggested, to make sure the Palestinian elections were over so that their agenda would be clear for full participation), in order to threaten Denmark into backing down on the right of freedom of expression. Then, for good measure, as a bit of baksheesh, to show good will, friendship, understanding and all that, close Roj TV and silence the Kurds as well.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Yes, Hamlet, prince of Denmark, you got that right.

UPDATE: Something interesting about the manufacture of the event and other cartoons here.

Thank you, Aine.

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