Hats Off To Andy Finkel

Andrew Finkel is as earnest and insightful a journalist as one might wish. He has lived in Turkey for many years and knows Turkey very well. Andrew Finkel knows what’s what. He’s also, by the way, a generous, kind and companionable person who has been very good to me, a near stranger, introducing me to people and answering my sometimes last-minute questions. He always seemed to keep his equanimity and perspective, not easy to do in a country as aggressively polarized as Turkey is these days. For several years, he has written for Today’s Zaman. He explains his rationale for doing so in the attached essay. His view was similar to mine — that the newspaper, even though it was supported by the Islamic Gülen Foundation, was trying to do good journalism and had respect for opposing views. I too wrote an article for Today’s Zaman early in 2008 and I used to quote the paper a lot on this blog, to the dismay of my anti-Gulen readers. I did that, as I explained, because I thought TZ had respectable journalists working for it and did good reporting. I stopped referring in this blog to Today’s Zaman during last year’s  Green Revolution in Iran because despite everything that we could see was going on in Iran’s streets, TZ used only official Iranian government news media accounts for its coverage. That, I thought, was so outrageously partisan and just plain wrong (both morally and factually) that it destroyed my respect for the newspaper.

To get back to Andy Finkel. Today, he tried to publish his usual column in Today’s Zaman — it is critical of the recent intensive and broad police searches of writers’ and journalists’ homes and offices to track down copies of a recent book, Imamın Ordusu (The Imam’s Army) by Ahmet Şık, that apparently asserts that the Fethullah Gülen movement has infiltrated Turkey’s security forces. The book has not been published (although the content is available on the web under another title here) and authorities have jailed the writer and wish to destroy all copies. Finkel argues:

…I have already expressed my concern that the fight against anti-democratic forces in Turkey has resorted to self-defeating anti-democratic methods. This in turn has led to a polarization in Turkey. If your side loses power then the natural fear is that they will use your methods against you. In case this sounds like I am speaking in riddles, I am referring to the aggressive prosecution of people who write books. These may be bad books, they may be books which are written with ulterior motives, they may be books which contain assertions which are not true. But at the end of the day, they are books – and there are libel courts – not criminal courts – designed to protect individuals from malicious falsehood. In short, writing a book offensive to the Gülen community is not a crime..

It’s probably that last sentence that lost Finkel his job at Today’s Zaman, which did not print this essay. Instead it was published by the Hurriyet Daily News. You can read his whole essay here. Meaningful reform means finally dropping the trappings of a police state where thought is a crime and knowledge is rationed and controlled. You cannot have freedom of religion without freedom of speech or thought.

44 Responses to “Hats Off To Andy Finkel”

  1. I used to quote the paper a lot on this blog, to the dismay of my anti-Gulen readers. I did that, as I explained, because I thought TZ had respectable journalists working for it and did good reporting
    .
    No, you were given trouble because you endorsed people and their printed views even though neither the people nor the enclosed views were worth endorsing by someone we considered to be an educated American who understood the values held dear in her native land. For my part (and the other regulars) we tried to show you why we were saying what we were saying. As far as I can see very few people here are/were categorically anti-Gulen (I, sure as hell-he-promises-some-people, am not).
    .
    It is easy to tell the truth when there’s a crowd already doing so. What Finkel now appears to realize was obvious to ordinary people here whose plain old common sense you are choosing to label as anti-Gulen sentiment. I cannot fault people for holding down jobs — so discrediting Finkel isn’t what I wish. That said, I should point out that we are not seeing him resign on a matter of principle but getting fired. (We picked on the guy here for example. If you read those few comments you’ll see we’re picking on Turkish/English Zaman for good reasons that we demonstrate — not due to some dumb anti-Gulen sentiment. We dislike our press in general for very good reasons. I am sorry your friends end up having to work for them.)

  2. JW,

    Zaman early in 2008 and I used to quote the paper a lot on this blog, to the dismay of my anti-Gulen readers. I did that, as I explained, because I thought TZ had respectable journalists working for it and did good reporting. I stopped referring in this blog to Today’s Zaman during last year’s Green Revolution in Iran because despite everything that we could see was going on in Iran’s streets, TZ used only official Iranian government news media accounts for its coverage. That, I thought, was so outrageously partisan and just plain wrong (both morally and factually) that it destroyed my respect for the newspaper.

    {emphasis mine}
     
    I suppose I too am lumped into your definition of ‘anti-Gulen’ crowd here; but I never was.
     
    Actually, it’s just that I (as well some others in this blog) had seen what you seem to have recognized only recently.
     
    One wonders, then, if your new position makes you ‘anti-Gulen’ or simply not a blind ‘pro-Gulen’ as you seemed to have been before..
     
    One other thing: If you changed your opinion looking at TZ’s position on Iran, I think you did so for all the wrong reasons.
     
    Gulen himself is no fan of Iran at all –in fact he hates the guts of Iranian regime as well as the clergy there. I am told he has gone as far as calling the Shia people (Iran’s sect of Islam) ‘kafir’ (heathens).
     
    Your bemusement of TZ’s position on Iran can probably best explained on your Americanized views –not German, that is– since it was basically only the US that wished that dream come true. Germany, as well quite a few other EU countries paid at most a lip service while supporting the regime behind the curtain.

  3. “When the objects of our studies become the subjects of their realms, we get irritated.” an infamous orientalist

  4. Anti-Gulenist??? Do we not have enough ambiguous categorizations to begin with, such as a Gulenist? I do not even know what exactly it means. The whole movement seems to be a hot potato that even Gulen himself throws at the others whenever he wants.

    Also, did you really have to wait until the coverage on the Iranian revolution to realize TZ’ partisan and morally/factually wrong reporting? You could have glanced through the writings of its columnists to determine the level of demagoguery. I guess it takes another foreigner to convince a foreigner.

  5. […] Hats Off To Andy Finkel by Jenny White […]

  6. CA,
    .
    One wonders, then, if your new position makes you ‘anti-Gulen’ or simply not a blind ‘pro-Gulen’ as you seemed to have been before.
    .
    I don’t know. It is, however, likely that the motives of people who make noises here for comments in the other direction will now be attributed to their pro-Gulen or even nationalist sentiments. Y’know, it can’t possibly be the case that ordinary folks have less trouble discerning and telling the truth than pundits and columnists working for various propaganda organs or other channels used for introducing trash into the public discourse. Therefore, objections voiced by ordinary people have to be due to some flaw in their outlook. A variant of this tactic is employed by ‘Hypocrisy’ in his bland mischaracterization of comments here as ‘AKP bad.’
    .
    Gulen himself is no fan of Iran at all –in fact he hates the guts of Iranian regime as well as the clergy there. I am told he has gone as far as calling the Shia people (Iran’s sect of Islam) ‘kafir’ (heathens).
    .
    If Today’s Zaman took the stance it did, it wouldn’t be because Gulen likes Iran but because of the position the government here took at the time. Anyway, I don’t know if Gulen called them kafirs — that would be too direct at least for his public persona. Just like his characterization of his doubters, he probably would describe them just as he would describe a kafir.

  7. I used to like TZ their news section, as it was not so dramatised. But later, especially the last year, I have my doubts how sincere they are. But their columnists, with the exeption of AF, OKGendiz and ERGUN BABAHAN, are some kind of piece.
    Take Ali Bulac as an example and you know enough.
    On Iran, they are on line with PressTV, the mouth piece of the Ayatollah’s, and that’s not good.
    I am curious how my fellow Dutch countryman, Joost Lagendijk, will do at TZ. Personally I dont care what he say, but you can expect some words about this dispute from him tomorrow…

  8. Turkish Armed Forces boycotts Zaman too. So it seems they are actually right. By the way, Jenny should let Today’s Zaman know about her boycott against TZ because I am not sure if they are aware of it.

  9. by the way, i wonder what other Turkish newspapers our modern American friends boycotts?

  10. Good piece, Jenny. My solidarity goes to Andrew Finkel, who was by far the best columnist in this third-rate Gulenist propaganda paper.

    To those who criticize Jenny: please, don’t be mean. It doesn’t matter whether she changed her views on TZ after Iran’s protests or at some other point. She demonstrated that she can be objective. This is what matters.

  11. Please let us know the other papers Turkish or American that we should boycott:)
    Note: I think if we boycott the Turkish newspapers based on censorship, we should boycott all the newspapers whether Islamist or Atheist:)

  12. Hypocricy, why do you write nonsense? The thread is about TZ, not about Turkish media as a whole. By the way, another English Turkish daily – Hurriyet Daily News – is much better in terms of pluralism that this cultist TZ.

  13. Parviz, TZ is a Gulenist propaganda outlet, yes, but the other papers here aren’t much better. If anything Gulen’s people construct their Web sites properly and refrain from marketing skin. When they resort to obscurantism or write outright propaganda, they do it on purpose and do it reasonably well. (You can only do so much on some of the things they end up having to deal with. Of course they look ludicrous when they try to defend the indefensible. Lipstick on a pig and all that. They even ended up censoring their own hoca once in the English version.) I say this not because I love them but because we have a lot of reason to believe that much of the rest of our pitiful press corps would screw things up even when they don’t wish to. Read what Dogan’s press produces and see what I mean: columns and editorials meant for imbeciles, a remarkable inability to relay simple facts, horrible quoting discipline, apparently no real editing in the English version etc. etc. The cemaat and Zaman (and AKP for that matter) exist for a reason and you can partly see what that reason might be when you look at the other press, the owners and the kind of people they employ.
    .
    So yes, it may be [and is] third rate but that’s in reference to some abstract idea of first rate — not when compared to the rest.
    .
    BTW, if you didn’t already you should check out what’s going on between Dogan&Rodrik and TZ. TZ people show us just what kind of a crowd they are by printing lots of [demonstrable, clear-cut] lies. They even attempted something that looked like a call for Harvard to restrain or fire Dani Rodrik. Again, nothing really new there — we knew what these people were like from their past behaviour. The question is, could Hurriyet (or Radikal etc.) survive the same kind of scrutiny? I don’t think so. Would our supposedly secular and educated crowd notice? Probably not.

  14. Bulent, I agree with you great deal. There is a crucial difference, however, between Zaman and secular-oriented newspapers. Zaman has a lot of money and enjoys the government’s benevolence. The secular press that matters (Dogan) is subject to intense pressures through fines, boycotts, etc. How can you improve your standards in this situation? They are just fighting for their survival. Even so, HDN record on pluralism is much, much better than TZ’s.

  15. Parviz,

    Zaman has a lot of money and enjoys the government’s benevolence. The secular press that matters (Dogan) is subject to intense pressures through fines, boycotts, etc. How can you improve your standards in this situation? They are just fighting for their survival.

    Apologeticism can only go so far.
     
    No, they are not fighting for their survival –if anything, they are fighting to keep their luxuries and privileges. Dogan Group is no way near shortage of funds, what they do lack is people who actually would want to do some useful work that’s in touch with people. They have long given up on that: You cannot claim to be in sync with people if all you’re doing is writing an article a day from the comfort of your own home or from a 5-star office in their plazas.

  16. Hurriyet Daily News or Hurriyet? One can lose his/her English let alone Turkish while reading these newspapers. The Turkish version is full of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes of the simplest kind, misuse of punctuation and etc. I do not even think some of the words are even used correctly. The English version seems to be OK but as BM stated there is almost no editing and proofreading. The TZ was far more advanced in these matters.

  17. Iran is bad. AKP is bad. Gulen is bad. Zaman is bad.
    Thank you Jenny, you are very enlightening.

  18. Turkish Media was better when we used to get news from Syria, Iran, and Iraq and the rest of the world through American media. And it was easier because all they had to do was to translate news from English into Turkish. Now, for example, they rely on Iranian news agencies for the news from Iran rather than American news agencies which know Iran better than Iranians and more objective than Iranians.

    I think we all should work against AKP in the coming elections to convince the ignorant people that they should not vote for AKP. We should enlighten them we should free them from AKP.

  19. Two out of three of his last articles were defences of American military activities in the ME. This is not a writer with prinicples. TZ has much better – Ergil, Mahcupyan, Matur, etc, etc. Their “Western” writers are just to help the ex-pats identify with the newspaper- they contribute little except lots of condescending lectures to their “oriental” readers.

  20. Which expats, Turkey abroad or foreigners in Turkey? The foreigners who leave comments on TZ are pretty dismissive of the columns. They are usually fluff pieces unworthy of their disk space.

  21. CA,
    .
    The people? Who cares about the people? What’s next? Will you mention the truth or, taking in down a notch, intellectual integrity? C’mon, you are older than me.
    .
    Here’s someone else misrepresenting objections and explaining things away by ‘Islamophobia’: My opinion on the ‘Imam’s Army,’ the book banned before it was published. I will not say anything more, but link a piece of (absolutely unpaid for) prose by a member of the public (ie not belonging to the mutual admiration/advertisement society), a woman in her 20’s: Cemaate devşirme entellektüel aranıyor. It seems we know a few of those respected devsirmes, don’t we?
    .
    That woman might be wrong (nice swearin’ tho), but at least she’s genuine and she’s not misreporting the sentiment — unlike the bunch who know damn well why the public is getting increasingly suspicious of the cemaat but obscure the issue by attributing it to Islamophobia. Y’know, it isn’t the cheating in police and civil service exams that gave ordinary (and sometimes pious) people these suspicions. Oh no. It is Islamophobia. See? Simple. Say this w/o blushing and you too will be a respected intellectual.

  22. Bulent, Sahin Alpay used to be respectable guy. Now he is just another AKP/Gulen penslinger whom nobody takes seriously anymore. No one likes to be treated as an imbecile. Yet this is what Alpay tries to do with his readers presenting this kind of extremely biased, simplistic and plain silly comments.

  23. Hipocricy, Gulen is not just bad. His movement is plain pedophilic. If not, how could one explain the role of “abis” in their “houses of light”, where young boys are totally isolated from the opposite sex? Even cleaners there are always men.

  24. BM,

    The people? Who cares about the people? What’s next? Will you mention the truth or, taking in down a notch, intellectual integrity?
     
    Truth (or intellectual integrity) is, as we all know by now, relative and objective: It is only important ONLY when it serves our purposes, otherwise we ignore it.
     
    To give you a personal example, take smoking: Even though I am fully aware that there’s a lot of truth in the claims that it (smoking) causes various cancer –hence may turn out to be fatal for me–, simply because it interferes with my pleasure, I choose to ignore that truth. (I am actually smoking while I write this.) [I could argue that the same thing applies to JW when the topic is women.]
     
    I think it is much the same with the public/people at large: They want to hear of the truths they want to hear about.
     
    And, the knack lies in making sure that they want to hear about certain truths and not others.
     
    Cemaat is very good at this.
     
    They have been very –VERY– successful in appearing to voice the kind of truths people want to hear and/or voiced.
     
    Here, by ‘people’, I am referring to the people at the grass roots.
     

    C’mon, you are older than me.

     
    What good is age if it only means I am an older fool?..
     

    Here’s someone else misrepresenting objections and explaining things away by ‘Islamophobia’: My opinion on the ‘Imam’s Army,’ the book banned before it was published. I will not say anything more, but link a piece of (absolutely unpaid for) prose by a member of the public (ie not belonging to the mutual admiration/advertisement society), a woman in her 20’s: Cemaate devşirme entellektüel aranıyor. It seems we know a few of those respected devsirmes, don’t we?

     
    This whole thing reminds me of the Ottoman times –in its heydays–; or the “go West, young man” days: When you have an army (people at the grass roots) of eager and hungry individuals that is set on expansion, it isn’t hard to recruit devsirme generals to do the job –not that Sahin Alpay is anything close to being a general or even much of an intellectual.
     
    Indeed, when I look at those foot soldiers –and to what Cemaat promises them–, ‘religion’ is at best a uniform. The real motive is to conquer places, positions of riches.
     

    That woman might be wrong (nice swearin’ tho), but at least she’s genuine and she’s not misreporting the sentiment — unlike the bunch who know damn well why the public is getting increasingly suspicious of the cemaat but obscure the issue by attributing it to Islamophobia. Y’know, it isn’t the cheating in police and civil service exams that gave ordinary (and sometimes pious) people these suspicions. Oh no. It is Islamophobia. See? Simple. Say this w/o blushing and you too will be a respected intellectual.

     
    I see what you mean; but, you also need to see that the word ‘Islamophobia’ (in this case) means “sentiments of those who are likely to stand in our way”. Much like ‘the axis of evil’ demagogy in the context of “lands we want to own the riches of”.
     
    In these battles of words, the war itself will be won not by showing how some words lack truth (or, intellectual integrity) but by proving to the grass roots that the conquest isn’t likely to benefit them.

  25. CA,
    .
    To give you a personal example, take smoking: Even though I am fully aware that there’s a lot of truth in the claims that it (smoking) causes various cancer –hence may turn out to be fatal for me–, simply because it interferes with my pleasure, I choose to ignore that truth. (I am actually smoking while I write this.) [I could argue that the same thing applies to JW when the topic is women.]
    .
    This is a bad example in this context because ‘ignoring the truth’ isn’t quite the same as ‘concealing the truth’ or asserting a falsehood. I, too, am smoking as I write this but I don’t claim smoking is good for me. Neither would you, of course. I would recognize that it is a harmful addiction and say as much. In case of the devsirmes [for any organization], the equivalent behaviour would be for them to say ‘we are people who love being close to power, this may be why we do what we do and this is our human failure, we may lie and spin, take that into account.’ Do you see that happening? I don’t. The transvestite streetwalkers I see in Elmadag when I take walks at night are far more honest and open about who they are and what they do than these devsirme people. We’re not exactly looking for saintliness here.
    .
    As far as writing down ideas go, I warn people that I might be partial to the US in addition to Turkey, and in case of people I know like Fethi bey (aka Stres Abi) I try to point out that — since I have met him and like him — I may favor him. This is easy to do since it is, after all, the plain truth. Not doing so is much harder. It isn’t and probably cannot be the case that we know all of our biases but we certainly know some of them or have good reason to suspect that they might exist.
    .
    So, yes, perhaps we don’t particularly like saying smoking is bad [as you imply in your other paragraphs] but we wouldn’t lie about smoking or the reasons why medical professionals speak against it.
    .
    This is a very minor kind of integrity constraint, mind you. Perhaps an analogy in terms of effort from the ‘net would be something like quoting discipline. You need to go out of your way to misquote since the text is there and you can just copy with enough context. In the same vein, claiming that habitually setting something on fire and inhaling the smoke is actually a good thing for one’s health takes a huge amount of effort. Why even bother?

  26. BM,

    This is a bad example in this context because ‘ignoring the truth’ isn’t quite the same as ‘concealing the truth’ or asserting a falsehood.

    Why would I have to confront ‘the truth’ the way you (or others) want me to?
     
    What if I said “they want me to quote smoking because they are after our beloved tobacco manufacturers” (deferring to asscociation) or “they want to take away the only pleasure our poor desparate masses have” (taking refuge in populism) etc. etc.?
     
    I could even go further and claim you’re being blasphemous as you are wanting me to quit something which God himself/herself/itself explicitly hasn’t, nor has the clergy.
     
    In short, you have no way of holding your counter party to the yardstick of truth and integrity when the audience has their priorities elsewhere.

    In case of the devsirmes [for any organization], the equivalent behaviour would be for them to say ‘we are people who love being close to power, this may be why we do what we do and this is our human failure, we may lie and spin, take that into account.’ Do you see that happening? I don’t.

    Can you be –or can you really expect them to be– that naive?
     
    Anyone who said that sort of thing would be skewered and fried alive by his/her opponents who’d be claiming whatever they are doing is for the love of God/people.

    The transvestite streetwalkers I see in Elmadag when I take walks at night are far more honest and open about who they are and what they do than these devsirme people. We’re not exactly looking for saintliness here.

    Converts (‘devsirme’s) are people who either have excessive ambitions or no place to return to. In both cases, they have to act more devout or eager than the natives of the land –or else they’d be under constant suspicion for not having converted enough.

    So, yes, perhaps we don’t particularly like saying smoking is bad [as you imply in your other paragraphs] but we wouldn’t lie about smoking or the reasons why medical professionals speak against it.

    On the latter, I would. I still haven’t figured out why smoking has been declared public enemy number one. [I don’t want to turn this topic into discussion of smoking, though.]

    In the same vein, claiming that habitually setting something on fire and inhaling the smoke is actually a good thing for one’s health takes a huge amount of effort. Why even bother?

    If you’re an incurable arsonist –but a smart one–, coming up with a creative interpretation of some obscure old scripture would be very helpful. You could write the detrimental effects of inhaling the fumes down to your love of God too –until you have cleared large enough piece of land for you to claim as your own.
     
    A little like fiercely opposing banking until you (or your followers) have gathered large enough sums. Then, you set up your own bank, and tell people that it is the only one that serves the God.

  27. CA,
    .
    Can you be –or can you really expect them to be– that naive?
    .
    Of course not, but that’s the point — the non-naivite must take quite a bit of effort to maintain. It probably also takes a lot of effort/money/pressure to make sure that the false sense of reality that’s pushed and its pushers saturate much of the available information channels. Some of the victims/marks may help this process by attributing additional credence to various channels and people. (Jenny gets snide remarks in the comments for her respected people for this reason, at least from me. Of course she then matches the likes of Alpay by attributing this to some dumb motive — as in mischaracterizing objections to her excerpting from TZ to bland anti-Gulenism.)
    .
    This is all very interesting to me. Epistemology as it applies to hard sciences is investigated because it is successful but the kind of epistemology underlying the public/political discourse should probably be investigated because of its failure. (It probably is. If it is so grossly warped that I can notice a systemic failure, social scientists must have also. Since I noticed the pronounced effects of this in trained — not necessarily academic — social scientists themselves, I am unsure though.)

  28. Why was Andrew Finkel fired?

    Because the Ergenekon Terrorist Organization is using Jedi mind control tricks on him, says Bulent Kenes:

    Today’s Zaman’s faith and efforts to turn this country…into a country where universal democratic standards and the rule of law are ensured, and to bring individual rights and freedoms … No one should doubt that. It is obvious that Today’s Zaman has not changed. It is also obvious that we are making publications to expose bloody gangs despite several risks. So what is it that has changed? What has changed is that some of our writers have come under the influence of the strong and dark propaganda that is at play and have started to stagger. Unfortunately I feel the same way about Finkel…

  29. Excerpts from Bulent Kenes’s fine article:

    Let me note that contrary to what some people claim, the reason we parted ways with Finkel was not because of his last article. It was a decision taken as a result of an accumulation of issues over many months. If you read his earlier articles on the Today’s Zaman’s website you too will see that that Finkel’s last article, which was not published, is not the only article of his that contradicts the daily’s editorial line. You can find articles that are even harsher, more cynical and more insulting. But no newspaper is obligated to work with all of its writers until the end of time.

    {emphasis mine}
     
    Hmm.. An interesting similarity with what happened to Ahmet Shik’s book and Finkel’s article is this: Demonize something you yourself prevented from being published..
     
    Another similarity is this: Once they published through other channels, there’s hardly any justifiable reason why they are prevented from being published.
     
    Bulent Kenes is wiser than that. He is careful to note that it isn’t just that one article; he has been observing Finkel’s drift over many months –aparently the last article was the straw that broke the back of the proverbial camel.
     
    I wish I had the patience and the time to read all of Finkel’s articles and see how exactly he drifted away from TZ line.
     
    Bulent Kenes goes on:

    There isn’t a Catholic marriage between the newspaper and the writers. Newspapers have the right to work with whoever they want and they have the right to part ways with writers they feel are no longer suitable with the paper’s editorial policy and the nation’s democratization endeavor.

    Yes. But, how often do you blame one of your writers to “have come under the influence of the strong and dark propaganda that is at play and have started to stagger” after you fired them?
     
    Anyway, here is the telling bit:

    Just as it is absurd to ask why a pro Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) newspaper does not have a writer that advocates Turkish nationalism, why a Turkish nationalist newspaper does not have a pro-PKK writer, why an Armenian newspaper does not have an anti-genocide Turkish nationalist writer or why a racist-secularist newspaper doesn’t have liberal democratic writers, is it not absurd to interrogate a newspaper’s decision to politely part ways with a writer who has been writing articles that contradict the paper’s editorial line for a very long time?

    Let me check, did I get this correct: You can criticise “the government, the opposition, Today’s Zaman and the Gülen movement”, but not the Ergenekon trials..
     
    Does anyone know why the Ergenekon trials is the holy cow?

  30. BTW, Bulent Kenes’s article is also important as it enumerates the ‘esteemed’ writers by name.
     
    Here is the list, in alphabetical order:
     
    Abdulhamit Bilici
    Ergun Babahan
    Etyen Mahçupyan
    Hüseyin Gülerce
    Joost Lagendijk
    İbrahim Kalın
    İhsan Dağı
    İhsan Yılmaz
    Kerim Balcı
    Markar Esayan
    Mümtazer Türköne
    Nicole Pope
    Ömer Taşpınar
    Orhan Kemal Cengiz
    Şahin Alpay
    Yavuz Baydar

  31. Emre, Kenes is right in saying “It is obvious that Today’s Zaman has not changed.” It has not.

  32. BM,

    It probably also takes a lot of effort/money/pressure to make sure that the false sense of reality that’s pushed and its pushers saturate much of the available information channels.

     
    Hasn’t this always been so?
     
    The only consolation is that they cannot fool everyone for the same thing all the time –and they counteract this by altering bits of it slightly.
     

    (Jenny gets snide remarks in the comments for her respected people for this reason, at least from me. Of course she then matches the likes of Alpay by attributing this to some dumb motive — as in mischaracterizing objections to her excerpting from TZ to bland anti-Gulenism.)

     
    I have no idea in what capacity Jenny is writing this blog; but, it sure does not seem to be journalism. If that’s so, she is a victim of association –same crime but shorter sentence.
     

    This is all very interesting to me. Epistemology as it applies to hard sciences is investigated because it is successful but the kind of epistemology underlying the public/political discourse should probably be investigated because of its failure. (It probably is. If it is so grossly warped that I can notice a systemic failure, social scientists must have also. Since I noticed the pronounced effects of this in trained — not necessarily academic — social scientists themselves, I am unsure though.)

     
    I thought psychology did just that.
     
    BTW, I find it most interesting that even though psychology is nearly totally useless in personal levels, it works wonders on groups of people (as in ‘PsyOp’).

  33. CA, that list is very impressive. We should invite them to a conference about getting close to power as respected intellectuals. Honoraria will be paid, of course, and a nice dinner will be served in the evening.

  34. Whoa. It appears the gloves are off. From here:
    .
    Fuat Tanlay, Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser, issued a riposte in Aksam daily. “The ambassador has been using Turkish expressions to show that he knows Turkish well,” Tanlay said. “Since he is so enthusiastic to learn Turkish, we have also another expression: cami duvarina isemek. He had better learn this expression as well.” The saying literally translates as “pissing on a mosque wall”, meaning to get into trouble for one’s words or actions.
    .
    The full expession for students of Turkish: eceli gelen köpek cami duvarına işermiş. (The ‘dog’ there isn’t meant to be insulting, AFAIR. So it isn’t that they are calling the ambassador a dog. Still it is not exactly diplomatic language, though.)

  35. BM,

    (The ‘dog’ there isn’t meant to be insulting, AFAIR.)

     
    From cultural/folk_lore POV, ‘dog’ represents a ‘low-file’ whose existence is tolerated as long as it does no significant harm.
     
    So, if I had to translate “eceli gelen köpek cami duvarına işermiş”, I’d say it’d be closer to “a low-life (that senses its own death) would piss on mosque wall”.
     
    This does not have to mean to imply reciprocity such as “we are insulting you because you insulted us”; it’s more like “your sacrilege indicates that you know you don’t have much time left here”.

  36. Joost Lagendijk ‘esteemed’. He had to stay as a book sales man. Complety nuts.
    Here Garteh Jenkins on Ergenekon ansd TZ. The latter…I cannot stand anymore, so much stupide, ignorance, retardhttp://www.crethiplethi.com/the-fading-masquerade-ergenekon-and-the-politics-of-justice-in-turkey/islamic-countries/turkey/2011/ness. but thats bliss for some;,;?.)

  37. CA, hmm, that makes sense, I better stop using that term for myself then. Thanks.

  38. Oh come on! Gareth who? No trace of the guy in any journal, newspaper, academic position, website or other until he suddenly “pops up” fully formed as an “expert” on Ergenekon’s non-existence. Puppet or what?

    And take a long slow look through Finkel’s columns. You will see that he started off denying the very existence of Ergenekon and then shifted his position to writing about it as a true democratic opponent of its nefarious deeds as he could no longer deny that writers of all shades of the political spectrum witnessed to its existence and effects. And Finkel too is untraceable as a writer before he was given a leg up by TZ

  39. There was no trace of Taraf and Todya’s Zaman before Ergenekon appeared either hehehe

  40. Habace,
     
    You seem to have an interesting way to arrive at conclusions.
     

    Oh come on! Gareth who? No trace of the guy in any journal, newspaper, academic position, website or other until he suddenly “pops up” fully formed as an “expert” on Ergenekon’s non-existence. Puppet or what?

     
    Don’t know about the ‘puppet’ thing, but he seems to have been in Istanbul (since 1989) as a journalist and sociopolitical analyst. While I would agree that spending 22 years in a place does not automatically make anyone an expert on anything, he seems to have done more [here] than merely spending 22 years.
     
    If you click that link above, you’ll see that he has also published a book about Turkey in 2001. [Gareth Jenkins, Context and Circumstance: The Turkish Military and Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)].
     
    So, not exactly an overnight appearance it appears.
     
    But, then again, since he has been in TR for all those 22 years, you could also claim that he is part of Ergenekon; a tactic –sometimes quite successfully– employed to discredit anyone not favored by Cemaat or by those frantic to see/believe things that does not necessarily exist.
     

    And take a long slow look through Finkel’s columns. You will see that he started off denying the very existence of Ergenekon and then shifted his position to writing about it as a true democratic opponent of its nefarious deeds as he could no longer deny that writers of all shades of the political spectrum witnessed to its existence and effects.

     
    Well.. that is one way of looking at it all.
     
    There can be other versions of that ‘truth’ too.
     
    Let’s walk it:
     
    Four years ago (in 2007), an otherwise “untraceable” guy called Bulent Kenes gets brought in as an editor-in-chief from a relatively obscure ‘Bugün’ [*] Daily to kick start something called “Today’s Zaman” [here] –allegedly as an attempt to counteract ‘Hürriyet Daily News’, a spokesman of Ergenekon in the eyes of the Cemaat or by those frantic to see/believe things that does not necessarily exist.
     
    [*: For those of you who hasn’t been following the scene, ‘Bugün’ is the new name of the “Ilıcaklar’ın Tercüman’ı” after it was sold {here} to someone we don’t know but can only guess. That sale must have been a very happy event as it paved the way for a new career for Bulent Kenes.]
     
    Bulent Kenes, as the fresh new editor-in-chief of the fresh new TZ, starts off head hunting for people to serve/suit his/their political agenda. He does have a shortlist of 3 people: “Hugh Pope, Nicole Pope and Andrew Finkel were the first ones that came to my mind”, he says [here], which means (to me, at least) Andrew Finkel wasn’t/isn’t as “untraceable” as you seem to think.
     
    Discontent with the things as they are elsewhere, Andrew Finkel joins in with the new holy jihad to be spearheaded by TZ.. Great.
     
    Except that, in the short span of 4 years or less, he seems to think he has made a mistake –other than a plain simple jihad for power grab, there’s nothing holy in the mission of TZ.
     
    He falls out with the paper.
     
    He then gets called all sorts of things –being otherwise “untraceable” is one; the others include hints of him being part of the “nefarious” ‘Ergenekon’ gang which has yet to be established even after years of court trials.
     

    And Finkel too is untraceable as a writer before he was given a leg up by TZ.

     
    Hmm.. I can see that you are either less than 9 year-old, or you have a very short and selective memory.
     
    Let me help you correct that: Take a look at here.
     
    You’ll see that Andrew Louis Finkel has been in TR ever since 1995 –that is, 16 years. He too has a book about Turkey (‘Turkish State, Turkish Society’) published in 1990, here.
     
    If you still insist that he is “untraceable” for you, you might like to go through copies of The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Economist, Time, CNN, The Washington Post, Cornucopia magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique of the last 16 years.

  41. Hahahaha, CA, you are Ergenekon personified. How dare you dig up the truth? More dangerous than a bomb, that is. You ought to be banned.
    .
    As for:
    .
    Except that, in the short span of 4 years or less, he seems to think he has made a mistake –other than a plain simple jihad for power grab, there’s nothing holy in the mission of TZ.
    .
    Here’s something cute I just remembered that can, with a slight stretch, be read in a way that gives Finkel the benefit of a doubt. From a conversation with Wittgenstein, quoted from here:
    .
    He once greeted me with the question: ‘Why do people say that it was natural to think that the sun went round the earth rather than the earth turned on its axis?’ I replied: ‘I suppose, because it looked as if the sun went round the earth.’ ‘Well,’ he asked, ‘what would it have looked like if it had looked as if the earth turned on its axis?’

  42. I remember seeing Finkel on Turkish T.V. in the 90s. He was debating the media’s distinction between being “sehit” and “olu” with regard to the PKK conflict.

  43. On Cingoz’s comment above:
    .
    I guess it takes another foreigner to convince a foreigner.
    .
    I actually disagree with this somewhat but I will link in an entry from a ‘foreigner’ on this issue: http://blog2.jhmeyer.net/2011/05/11/andrew-finkel-and-press-freedom-in-turkey.aspx

  44. Bulentcim. Canim. http://www.medyatava.net/haber.asp?ID=80775

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