Media Outlet : Daily Sabah
Date of Publication : 01.02.2018
Writer : Saadet Oruç
Detail : Original Text
What a pity for a long career of journalism to end with becoming a propaganda instrument for the PKK terrorist organization and its Syrian offshoot Democratic Union Party's (PYD) defamation campaign.
I am talking about Robert Fisk's recent catastrophic piece for the Independent daily. The piece is a scandal filled with manipulation, disinformation and quite a solid defense for the terrorist campaign in Afrin, Syria.
Circles that have lost their whole moral relevance now tempt to fabricate false information in regard to Operation Olive Branch.
Fisk, who spoke with People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists in Afrin, claims that Turkey has attacked civilians and Arab refugees sheltered in the town. In reference to the records of Afrin hospital, Fisk tries to give a picture that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has targeted refugees, babies, women and children. Moreover, he refers to Ankara's counterterrorism operation in Afrin as an invasion.
Despite numerous statements from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Turkey has no intention to stay in Afrin, but that the only aim is to clean the terrorist presence, Fisk continues to defend YPG arguments and present them as valid, legitimate and persuasive. Bear in mind that he is referring to a terrorist organization whose campaign has so far claimed the lives of more than 40,000 Kurdish and Turkish civilians and security forces. Apparently, when it comes to Turkey, and particularly to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there seems to be no standard for journalism for Fisk. And any claim without referring to any solid evidence can be presented as verified arguments.
Additionally, a group of Western journalists has been brought to Afrin through northern Iraq by the outlawed PKK, which means more disinformation in reports, like Fisk's, is likely to continue.
Fisk's only major source, Dr. Polat – a manager at a hospital in Afrin, does not deny his affiliation with the PYD terrorist group, according to his own report. Hence, the hospital is being controlled by the PYD, as well. Perhaps this is the only claim that has any relevance to the reality on the ground in the article. Photos published in newspapers in order to confirm civilian casualties are of ordinary patients, but they are not the civilian victims of Operation Olive Branch.
Despite that the Turkish General Staff has issued 21 statements since the beginning of the Afrin operation, Fisk did not consult any Turkish official or unofficial sources to write an accurate story. As the terrorist front could not prevent the operation, it tried to initiate a process to slow down the Turkish operation against terrorism. Using so-called humanitarian claims, the front also aimed to dishonor Turkey taking in 3.5 million refugees, Kurds, Arabs and others. So, claiming that Turkey attacked Arab refugees in Afrin is clear manipulation of the biggest protector of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
It is also known that the terrorist group placed Arab refugees as a human shield, but the Turkish military took all measures to avoid killing them. In different statements, the Turkish military denied reports concerning civilian casualties in its counterterrorism operation. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that it was the YPG that targeted civilians.
The main goal of the operation is to save the people in Afrin who suffer from pressure from the YPG.
Fisk does not bother to contextualize the problem, does not feel any moral need to discuss the long history of terrorist activities of the PKK and PYD against the Turkish state and different Kurdish factions in Syria. What matters for First is to provide claims to delegitimize Ankara's position. I wonder whether Fisk would mention rocket attacks from YPG terrorists on Turkish civilians in Reyhanlı and Kilis.
The Independent story also forces a similarity between Turkey and Israeli strikes in southern Lebanon, NATO operations in the Balkans and U.S. attacks on Iraq. Turkey, as a country that follows a foreign policy prioritizing the relief of suffering of oppressed people such as in Gaza, Rakhine and Jerusalem, Syria does not merit such a dirty argument.
In the final analysis, Fisk should apologize for his manipulative, fabricated misinformation if he would like to end to his tragic reputation caused by his report.