By: Hatice Karahan*
Der Spiegel is not the only one slamming Turkey after the coup attempt. It is clear that many international media organs are attacking our country after we successfully repelled a coup attempt last week… Moreover some have actually started a systematic negative approach against Turkey, as there is a lot happening for them to bend and twist in their favor…
It seems that most are very miserable. They obviously loved us so much that they wanted to fix the deficiencies in our democracy with an anti-democratic method…
Therefore, some are growing anxious since the Turkish nation slammed down the last hope of those who believed “this coup was Turkey’s last hope.”
This corrosive image portraying that there is a “lack of democracy” in Turkey is backed by The Economist and The New York Times with headlines like, “Erdogan’s Revenge.”
As we fill the city squares to celebrate our victory against the coup perpetrators, they are portraying this as “the revenge of Erdoğan and his supporters.” The point of interest for them after the declaration of the state of emergency is the fight on the terrorist organization…
One-line-headlines are negatively arranged focusing on the thousands that have been fired from their jobs, moreover some like the Le Monde have added the tortures to make things seem worse.
Fixing the image
Therefore, after July 15 we have to show “extra” efforts to fix our tainted image and prove that our democracy is solid. And while we do this, we need to make sure we explain in detail the background of what went on, and also stress how proud our people were to repel the coup perpetrators. So those in the faraway lands do not worry over our internal matters… Another thing that needs to be carefully dealt with is the “discharge” of Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) members from their positions in state institutions, so that it does not prove the “revenge” headlines right.
Yes, we are talking about those who are waiting to manipulate anything that comes from our way; therefore, we have to stress on all positive aspects and ensure that nothing negative will happen for them to twist and bend. We have to say and ensure they say, “Turkey is still a democracy” with its people and representatives, and moreover, “it is now a stronger democracy.”
I have touched upon political stability and democracy, since these two terms are closely linked to many other things… In my previous article, I mentioned that these terms were important for the economy. We are now in a position to establish confidence for both internal and especially foreign economic actors. And the first requirement for this is to ensure a steady democratic environment…
At this point, I should mention that we discussed this need during our Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) meetings a few days ago. As the message we currently get is that the Western business world in particular is hesitant toward the Turkish economy… Foreign media’s negative attitude toward Turkey is obviously affecting this too. For this reason, we need to fix the misperceptions working hand in hand with the business world and nongovernmental organizations. Therefore, I believe we need to plan a strategic PR study and ensure effective coordination. We have been discussing what needs to be accomplished in detail. If I were to explain it from my own perspective, I would say we need to show that the Turkish economy will hold its steady structure and expand its market by stressing political stability and democracy.
Of course, the channels to which this rhetoric will flow are going to be the elements that create the real effect. In this context, especially:
*We need to get in touch with foreign media members who are known to hold an objective attitude and who will have the capacity to try and understand, and show them the current situation.
*We need to come together with foreign investors currently in Turkey to ensure that everything is OK and consult with them, ensuring that they present their country’s positive messages.
* We need to put together groups of business people, nongovernmental organizations and academics, who fluently speak foreign languages, and place them in strategically effective locations to convince.
* Moreover, we should get into contact with effective and objective foreign specialists and have them address the world.
* Invite our shareholders to Turkey and have them see that things have been manipulated by the foreign media.
* Last, but not least, we have to update our websites, especially those related to the economy, have them running in several foreign languages starting from English, and make sure they are actively running.
In order to achieve all of the above, we need to ensure that we work “systematically.” As we can only protect our future with effective coordination.
Today is the day, Turkey!