Meyer: NY Times: Saber-rattling Against Turkey

Carlyn Meyer writes in a Guest Editorial for Informed Comment, also mirrored here:

NYT Saber-Rattling Against Turkey

The New York Times prides itself on being a newspaper “of record’ reporting crucial information for citizens to make informed choices in policy and elections. What I want to know is how NYTimes editors can claim that last Friday’s article, Sponsor of Flotilla Tied to Turkish Elite, about so-called ‘ties’ between Turkish officials and I.H.H., the Turkish foundation that organized the Gazan Blockade flotilla, did anything to inform me or anyone else who read it. Instead the article confuses and misinforms its readers by throwing several stand-alone facts and vague statements together, never clearly saying what it certainly implies. It plays brinkmanship with a loaded gun.

I’ve learned enough about Islam to know that the faith requires that observant followers contribute regularly to charity as one of five basic duties. “Giving” in Islamic countries if huge. And from the Dan Bilefsky/Sebnem Arsu article we learn I.H.H. is a large Islamic charity originally founded to help needy Turkish children and that now operates in over 100 countries. The article mentions I.H.H. support for besieged Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan wars, as well as a sizable donation to Haiti in the wake of last January’s disaster. We also learn that many currently-serving Turkish officials support I.H.H. (Most of this information is available through open public records.). Then the sizzling link: the article tells us I.H.H. is accused of having ‘ties to terrorists.’

What we don’t learn is the nature of those ties, who is making these accusations, whether the ties are direct or indirect and what those ties mean. This is not the first instance that a New York Times article linked I.H.H. to terrorists. Yet there is no indication that Times reporters have checked out and independently verified whether such ‘ties’ actually exist, even as the newspaper prints another story making that claim!

What is going on here? Before I give a hoot about Turkish officials giving to a large Islamic charity, I want the NYT to answer the immediate questions flowing from previous reporting.

Did I.H.H. give money to Hamas to buy guns? Did its $8 million donation in support of Gazan orphans filter through one of the many social service agencies Hamas runs in Gaza? Is I.H.H. funding a shell front-group or corporation? Or funding projects where money is illicitly skimmed off by genuine terror suspects? Are Turkish officials who serve on the board of I.H.H. also being accused for ‘ties’ to terrorism? Do they know of any I.H.H. ties to terrorism? These would be the logical questions to be answered by second and third NYT follow-up stories that focus on I.H.H.

Just as The Times quoted government officials certain that Iraq possessed MWD yet neglected to investigate other expert views and independent sources, the newspaper repeats a cavalier brand of reporting this time by linking I.H.H. to ‘terrorism’ and Turkish officials to I.H.H. – and by extension Turkish officials to terrorists – through innuendo and unnamed sources.

Addendum: The Times continues with its saber-rattling in today’s paper.

Turkey’s shift toward the Muslim world — from the recent clash with Israel to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s description of Iran’s nuclear program as peaceful — has prompted concerns in the United States and Europe that Turkey, an important NATO ally, is turning its back on the West.

Turkey, a NATO ally and candidate member of the European Union turning its back on the West? This type of alarmist rivals Fox News in its lack of documentation and example. Though the New York Times has mentioned some Western sources in a previous article who were critical of Turkey, Turkey has taken no actions that in any way supports the charge it is turning its back on the West. It is this type of preemptive saber-rattling that is disastrous to US foreign policy and paves the war for needless aggressive actions by the US government.

Carlyn Meyer

Apologies for the typo in Ms. Meyer´s name in the first edn.

12 Responses

  1. So please tell us Juan, who is C. E. Carlyn?
    Not mentioned in Wikipedia.
    Only reference in Google is to this article.
    Would be nice to know.

  2. That these “reports” emerge from a newspaper well-established as a media outlet for pro-Israeli sources is no surprise…….note how frequently it refers to nuclear policies in Iran as “illicit” despite the fact that they are not. The Times is eager to bolster the notion of Israel as noble but abused victim in the eyes of Washington policy-makers and influentials. Whatever the Times’ virtues in other arenas it is rarely a reasonably objective source of news related to Israel.

  3. The news paper of record (whatever that means) made a whoooopsie.

    Correction: July 23, 2010

    An article last Friday about the connections between Turkey’s political elite and I.H.H., the Turkish charity that organized the Gaza-bound aid flotilla stopped by a deadly Israeli raid on May 31, contained several errors.

    Because of an editing error, the article misstated the effect of a ban on I.H.H. in Germany, where a charity that operates under the same name and was founded by the same people became legally separate in 1997. The ban applied only to the German charity, not the Turkish one.

    The article also misstated the price paid by the Turkish charity for the lead flotilla vessel, the Mavi Marmara. It was $1.2 million, not $1.8 million.

    And the article referred incorrectly to the relationship between Istanbul Fast Ferries, the municipal agency that sold the Mavi Marmara to the Turkish charity, and the Istanbul City Municipality Transportation Corporation, another city agency. While both are controlled by Turkey’s ruling AK party, the transportation corporation is responsible for land transit; it does not oversee the ferry agency.

  4. Yesterday on local music radio, the on-air “Personalities” howled and pilloried Oliver Stone over his recent comments on how many Russians died in WW2 compared to jews, and his stated suspicions the American press is heavily influenced, possibly controlled, by a determined pro-Insraeli lobby. Never the brightest of folks, these radio people serve as great indicators of how untouchable all things Israeli and jewish are in this nation. No criticism, no suspicion, no questions allowed.

    • You are absolutely correct.

      In this country of ours called USA, one can criticize USA, US President, senator or congressmen but cannot say a critical thing about Israel.

  5. It would be much easier to demonstrate ‘ties’ between the New York Times and terrorists than it would be to show that IHH had any links to Hamas.
    This is not to suggest, for a moment, that the Times’s support for terrorists, in Colombia for example, is anything more than an accidental result of its support of the US government’s foreign policies or, in the case of Mexico, of the necessity of its major shareholders to protect their businesses.
    In the case of Turkey, the danger is that the sub-text of the Times’s articles is urging military officers to stage a coup against a government which is “islamist’ only in the sense that the British government is Christian.

  6. The message to demonize Turkey must have gone out from the Village. The Providence Journal, my local newspaper, ran an article (link to projo.com – originally from the LA Times) accusing Turkey of having “an over-inflated sense of its importance on the world stage”. They dutifully followed up the next day with an Editorial (” Ataturk overturned?” – link to projo.com) tut-tutting the policies of the Erdogan Government.

    Is this part of the build up to attacking Iran? Or is it just a natural response when the little brown people don’t kneel and tug their forelocks when we pass by?

  7. Amazing. America keeps getting sick of unwinnable wars faster and faster, but we are surprised that the rest of the world is getting sick of us escalating these wars in the first place. Instead of embracing peace, our leaders seem to be indoctrinating the voters that we are entitled to order other countries to do all our fighting for us – and Israel’s fighting – because our two nations are the only moral ones in the world and all the wicked servant satrapies must pay tribute to that with the blood of their young men. And our voters are buying into this insanity because they want the costs of war to go away but refuse to sacrifice any of the emotional benefits of being the “most powerful country in the world”.

    I can’t figure where this thinking is headed. Since we keep losing these guerrilla wars that require so many of our couch potatoes to become boots on someone else’s ground, I guess we secretly desire to blackmail other countries into providing the IED fodder instead. We might not be able to hit the right tent in Pakistan, but we sure can hit London and Berlin with nukes.

  8. Dare I ask: What exactly is the link (or links) between the NYT and the Israeli perspective, which the newspaper so unfailingly, and sometimes outrageously, promotes and defends?

  9. “Just as The Times quoted government officials certain that Iraq possessed MWD yet neglected to investigate other expert views and independent sources, the newspaper repeats a cavalier brand of reporting…”

    Loved that last little bit “cavalier brand of reporting” or in straight talk dissemination bordering on and often fully brute propaganda. It is painful in its don’t mess with Texas type of we don’t give a damn what’s right or fair here we just know who we back and in this case as so many others for the NYT, it is Israel and big money US military adventurism.

    The NYT is fast attaining the credibility of a pathologic liar only they are not funny. Try to get them to say that when the US waterboards helpless prisoners that it is torture because they won’t; they won’t make that statement. They are cowards who know they have a bad position. Hope they are getting paid well.

  10. Isn’t it clear–at least since 1991–that the NYT will miss no opportunity to slander any Muslim person or nation?

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