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