To an empiricist, the hardest thing to understand is how people can continue to believe things that are patently false. This has been a source of great frustration ever since I got involved in one of the landmark court cases going in Turkey. The liberal intelligentsia, the prosecutors, much of the media, and of course the government have been having a field day over a coup plot that never existed. Once you get your mind around the fabrication and the framing of innocent individuals, your ideas about Turkey are changed forever.
Here are the opening paragraphs of a new article on this.
In just about three months, 196 active-duty and retired officers are scheduled to go on trial in Turkey, charged with plotting in 2003 to overthrow the then-newly elected Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. The alleged coup plot—codenamed Operation Sledgehammer—involved horrifying acts, including the bombing of mosques and the downing of a Turkish fighter, aimed at destabilizing the government and paving the way for martial law and eventual takeover.
If the charges prove to be well-founded, the country’s powerful military establishment will stand disgraced for harboring violent, anti-democratic elements among its senior ranks. And it will be the first time that civilians have brought it to account for its frequent political intervention. Turkish democracy will have gone through a rite of passage, emerging stronger. Conservative-Islamist groups—the AKP and their ally the Gülen movement, a network of the followers of the Muslim spiritual leader Fethullah Gülen—will be vindicated and their political dominance assured.
But if the prosecutors’ case crumbles, it is the government, the Gülenists, the prosecutors, the media, and much of the country’s intelligentsia that will find itself discredited. For these groups have fought hard in recent months to convince Turks (and Turkey’s friends abroad) of the veracity of the Sledgehammer coup plot.
The sad irony is that the facts of the case leave no doubt as to where the truth lies: Operation Sledgehammer is a fiction. Its authors are not the defendants in the case but unknown malfeasants who fabricated the documents sometime after 2008. Anyone with a couple of hours to spare—and a good command of the Turkish language—can see it for themselves. That the charges have been allowed to stand for so long—and that a trial will take place at all—is testimony to the intensity of the disinformation campaign waged by the AKP and its supporters.
The rest of the article is here.