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This is not just any trick. This is downright "tabloid trickery"

Reader comment on item: I Taught NATO to Stand Up to a Dictator

Submitted by US Citizen living in Turkey (United States), Apr 20, 2018 at 16:38

Dear Dr. Pipes / MEF Forum members / Readers:

I read the full article, along with updates, addenda, some of the comments (even Dr. Pipe's responses), etc.

I find the "free speech" and "teaching a dictator or NATO a lesson" arguments unconvincing-- logically and ethically.

The "trick" looks and sounds (and reads) spell TABLOID MATERIAL.

I will try to explain why I say this.

In short, your case is internally and externally inconsistent. It is internally inconsistent with "defense of freedom", and externally with common practices/expectations with civil (moral, ethical, etc.) code of conduct. In fact, if a different cast of characters on "conflicting sides" had featured in this event, it would have been illegal (as I explain below).

The internal consistencies arise mainly from the conspiratorial nature of the "trick", i.e., lack of transparency, disingenuity, and outright and willful violation of an agreement. In fact, it is hard not to call this a conspiracy outright. Such a set up (ambush?) is rarely associated with the honesty and integrity that is hoped of/from **free** speech. Thus, it is as hard to accept this was done for a noble cause any more than supporting two people bear false witness to help a "bad" person receive punishment. I believe you when you explain your intentions and logic -- which are for a good cause -- but the means cannot justify the means -- at least not in principle, not when there is no life and death situation on your shoulders.

Internally, your argument also suffers from circular logic -- or self-fulfilling prophecy, rather, that comes with well-planned and -executed setups. People react negatively to being taken in, esp in matters that are sensitive to them and where they may be harmed (in terms of reputation or worse). In effect, by setting NATO PA (and Turkish members) up this way, you insured a negative, even "explosive", reaction. You know, the type of stuff tabloids love. They ambush, harass, attack, barb, stalk, spy, etc until a person reacts and the tabloid take a snapshot and serve it with questionable "reporting" -- "see, we told you he had something to hide etc". This is not just any trick. This is downright "tabloid trickery". Not the type of stuff I would expect from MEF.

There are also external problems. Freedom of speech is "high up there", but it takes a second seat when there is risk of harm to others.. We do not get to yell fire in a crowded theater, we do not get to praise Hitler's Final Solution or deny the Holocaust in many places -- not without the threat of serious consequences, anyway. So, we do not get to say whatever we want, whenever we want -- verbal agreement or not. And, for good reason.

Another problem is morality and ethics -- or lack there of. Do unto others as you they unto you, is a core value/principle generally respected and applied in most NATO countries, if not by most stable societies. So, we do not expect American, French, UK, Danish, German, etc people (esp government officials) to share any stage with Al Qaeda or ISIS members in a Turkish forum -- or any forum. Devil may care how a person came to being tagged "an Al Qaeda member" -- it could be falsehood. (We do not insist on habeas corpus and years of imprisonment of "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo was not Hollywood fiction.) We simply do not ambush US and other governments to face their "sworn enemies", even if those enemies may not deserve the title. In this case, we know what the "Gülenist Movement" is capable of even before the July 15, even if you do not buy into the "coup theory". Inviting them is like inviting a member of the Meddelin Cartel to face a Colombian delegation. To my knowledge, The Cartel never organized a coup, but -- like the Gülenists -- they have destroyed tens of thousands of lives, countless careers, organizations, etc. that took generations and life-long sacrafice to establish and maintain. They were criminals even before July 15. So, what is the sense of giving the criminal such deference and respect. If you want someone critical of Turkey, there are many respectable people able and willing to do the job.

Last but most importantly, even if it is a **First** Amendment or "end of civilization" issue, we get to punish people for yelling fire in a theater, even if it is done with good intentions. Like I mentioned, FETÖ or not, the "Gülenist Movement" has a long and well-documented history before July 15, 2016 of doing terrible things to many innocent people. Logically, one must conclude they cannot be treated as if they are there with only truth-telling in mind. They can turn on a dime if and when it suits them. Harm they inflict on others is inconsequential to them, and necessary if it will further their goals. (They conspired with AKP for years, and when they felt the need/saw the opportunity, they attacked in Dec 2015 with corruption cases. The cases were real, as far as I am concerned, but they were more than willing partners in the entire nightmare that has been AKP rule until then.).

In short, whether Turkey is a dictatorship or not, worthy of NATO or not, no Gülenist/FETÖ-suspect or whatever should be part of a NATO meeting. They can attend as normal audiences if they wish, without preferential treatment.

I look forward to reading about and, if possible, attending your events in the future - but, please, leave the "tabloid tricks" to incite out of them.

Best regards
Basat

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

My, my, quite the blast.

To be technical and legalistic, as you are: We only told NATO-PA that we took Çelik off the schedule, which in fact we did.

And why are you not upset that the Turks changed the terms on us a few days before the event, when we had invested substantially in it and faced the prospect of losing a large amount of money unless we capitulated to their demands? Is that not a problem?

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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