Battling the communication wing of terrorism - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

Battling the communication wing of terrorism

Like thousands of fellow citizens, I, too, didn't get a wink of sleep last night. Anger, sorrow and reaction has agonized us all. Terrorists are laying treacherous ambushes, young fellows are being martyred, and other betrayers defending this treachery are propagating baldly. We are all in a state of exasperation. We are overwhelmed with this grief.

We can cry, get angry, blow up in rage, and react. Yet, those directing the government have to stay strong and steadfast, act wisely and plan strategically. Their trial is very hard as the nation's sorrow is deep, and the country's distress is immense. May god help us through this. Although our sorrow is immense, there are points we need to discuss. I will explain.

The PKK's professional communication team

The security part of the battle against terrorism is not included in my topic. Battling against terrorism is the world's hardest battle. This battle needs a serious amount of education, accumulation, strategy, intelligence and technical knowledge. We are all aware that the PKK has changed its armed fighting tactics. They are no longer an organization fighting in the mountains, but are in the streets, towns and cities. Mines planted in the streets, ditches dug, and attacks carried out in the cities indicate that we are face to face with a different sort of war. If there are insufficiencies in the way these are dealt with, then experts need to speak up.

I would like to discuss a topic, which is just as detrimental as armed attacks. Terrorism's communication wing. If we were to draw up a hierarchy of the organization, the Picture would include, the organization's armed wing, the political wing, and the communication wing. We should understand that this wing is just as effective and strong as the armed and political wings. Establishing a public opinion, managing perception and pioneering the media are very important for terrorist organizations. This is now probably the strongest part of this war.

I would argue that amongst all terrorist organizations in the world, the PKK has the most important communication power. It didn't establish such a good communication network with the efforts of its skilled militants of course. The PKK has very important experts, both in Turkey and Europe, who support it with communications, perception and media. This support is provided by the private sector and the intelligence agencies of foreign countries. I am talking about a “terrorist communication team” which works professionally.

Let us just think about this: There has been a battle with terrorism in Turkey, for forty years. The public opinion and the media always supported the government within this struggle. For the first time, the government has not been supported in its struggle against the PKK, DHKP-C, ISIL and the Parallel State, by the public opinion and the media. Why? Because important steps are taken in order to hinder a public reaction, a common mind and feelings. Terrorist organizations, foreign government intelligence and interest groups do this mutually.

The Hürriyet's dangerous manipulation

Fighting against terrorism needs public support more than regular wars do. In a regular war, another country is overtly your enemy and visibly attacks your country. This produces the public to hold onto each other tightly and withstand the enemy. In our case, the enemy is walking freely amongst the public. If armed militants are killed during their attack on a police station in the middle of a city, and an HDP representative and some locals run to help the militant, this means there is an issue here. The same scenario happened in Hakkari, Diyarbakır and Cizre, too.

Now let's take a close look at this. While President Erdoğan was speaking on A Haber television channel, the Hürriyet Newspaper twisted his sentence and made it out to be something totally different. This twisted statement would even make an AK Party supporter react. This was the most dangerous and despiteful manipulation of recent years. When the President reacted to this on live TV, the newspaper deleted this tweet, yet created the perception it was after. Besides the Zaman Newspaper circulated this tweet and manipulated further.

The foreign media, which can accuse and damn even at a time Turkey is battling terrorism, is an important part of this team. I am not talking about their center. I am referring to their correspondents who are working in the battle fields. They are like members of the terrorist organizations. İmagine an Arab journalist in New York praising Al Qaeda while the U.S. is battling Al Qaeda. Or a journalist praising ISIL in London. What would have happened?

What should we do against the three-headed beast?

Therefore, it is obvious that there is a political wing which; protects the terrorist in Tunceli, carries food to the PKK militants in the southeast, criticizes the government for fighting against the PKK (during a press conference in Ankara) and says the terrorist organization will win. There is also a communication wing which; twists the President's statements, organizes propaganda campaigns on social media and directs international media. Finally, there is an armed wing behind these two. In short, a three-headed beast.

Well, what are we doing against this?

Prime Minister Davutoğlu complained about the manipulation and perception management in media, during his press conference yesterday. I do not want to criticize in such critical times when our wounds are just so new. Yet, I would have to say, the government is insufficient in creating a public opinion, informing and expressing to the world that it is true and rightful.

The government has to urgently establish a national and international communication strategy and create a system, which will carry it into effect. A part of the security meetings should be reserved to find ways to fight against terrorism's communication and public opinion power.

It is vitally important to establish discourse supremacy, public opinion power and accurate informing against a terrorist organization, which has international connections.


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