The analysis conducted by the Directorate General of Press and Information (Turkey) regarding the titles attributed to Gülen, the head of Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in foreign media has revealed that particularly the Western and US media engage in a perception management operation in favor of Gülen to depict him as an “innocent” person:
"Expressions in Western media from ‘self-imposed exile’ to ‘pleasant-spoken’. Under the title"FETO leader in foreign media",we have conducted an analysis of 2726 news from May 1 to August 9, 2016 that appeared in 126 foreign newspapers and magazines, 21 television channels and 15 international news agencies
It has been observed that US media has positioned Gülen as “retired preacher," “imam on self-imposed exile," "pleasant-spoken," "popular," "old and sick man aged 77", “reclusive cleric", "influential opposition" and”Erdoğan’s former ally”.This attitude of American media is indicative of hypocrisy and runs counter to the statements of US officials calling Turkey a friendly country and an ally at ever opportunity.
According to our analysis, German media preferred expressionssuch as " Gulennetwork," "Imam on self-imposed exile", "moderate preacher", "long-time enemy/former ally of Erdogan," "sick old man who lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania," “influential congregation in Africa”, "poisonous snake". In order to avoid presenting FETO as a “terrorist organization”, the German media often used the word "so-called."
French media have referred to Gülen as "former ally", "preacher on exile", "spiritual leader", "sick and tired man aged 75". That the French media used Turkish officials’ definitions of FETO in quotes is considered to be an act of avoiding solidarity with Turkey against terrorism.
British media called FETO leader Gülen "a charismatic cleric", "77-year-old religious leader," "reclusive cleric", "opposition", “a person giving messages of inter-faith dialogue"while expressions like “terrorist leader and parallel structure” were treated as allegations.
What expressions did the world media use to define Gülen?
Middle Eastern media defined Gülen as “cleric living in the US”, “intellectual”, “an important figure for Africa”. Iranian media referred to Gülen as “strict opposition of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, “cleric on exile”, “person accused of organizing the coup attempt” while FETO members in the military were defined as “FETO-member military rebels”.
Chinese media defined FETOleader Gülen as “Americanized Turkish cleric”, “religious figure”, “opposition on exile” while the Israeli press referred to him as "radical Islamist", "secret terrorist organization", "Sunni cleric born in Turkey", "Muslim preacher on exile".
Japanese press used the expressions “Islamist religious educator”, “Hodja Gülen” for Gülen; Italian press wrote “Sunni imam”, “son of an Imam”, “Gülen empire” to define Gülen; Dutch press referred to him as "influential Imam who owns international companies, education institutions, and banks". News in Kurdish defined Gülen as “inviter of Islam”, “the only power that can overthrow Erdoğan state”, “anti-Kurdish”, “leader of parallel organization”.
Russian media have identified the terrorist leader as a "mysterious cleric", "individual who owns a network of Islamic schools in the Turkic-speaking countries", "Gülen empire," "irreconcilable opponent of Erdogan”. Greek press wrote “Gülen who assumed a decisive role in the political spiritual character of the Turkish leader”, "individual who merges pro-Western attitude with Islamic principles"; Saudi press wrote "terrorist organization leader", "leader on exile accused of coup”; Egyptian press wrote "Turkish cleric", "primary culprit of military coup attempt", "Islamic thinker", Greek Cypriot press wrote "father of the service movement that already overstepped its bounds" and the Swedish press wrote "US based cleric", "Muslim leader", "Muslim preacher on exile.”
Efforts to find “moderate” definitions for Fetullah Gülen
Our anlysias has revealed that the lobbying activities carried out by Gülen by using the money he collected under different names such as alms, relief, donations for sacrificeby exploiting the benevolence of the Turkish people also contributed to Western media’s attitude against Turkey.Close relations between various Western media organs and the members of the organization, financial support extended to some foreign politicians to formulate reports agains Turkey constitute the most concrete evidence of lobbying activities.
Turkish people are not surprised at this attitude of Western media in view of its rhetoric on PKK and PYD in the past. Western media, which previously referred to PKK and PYD as 'guerilla,’ 'Kurdish militants’ has once again been engaged in an effort to find “moderate” definitions for Fetullah Gülen, thehead of FETO, an organization which carried out various illegal activities against Turkey, killed hundreds and injured thousands of people.
Our Deputy Director General Ekrem Okutan gave an interview to Anadolu Agency correspondent regarding the analysis in question. Okutan noted that the reports on FETO in foreign media demonstrated who FETO served in reality and that the foreign media failed the class when Turkish democracy was in question."