ASO Analysis and Strategic Study Organization
The Istanbul Bureau Chief for The New York Times published on 16 Feb, 2021, an article about her visit to the Kurdish town, Afrin, and its countryside -1-. Bearing in mind that Turkish occupying authorities prepared this visit, where the report was in line with what the Turkish authorities expected. As soon as the article was published, the official Turkish Anadolu Agency and the Daily Sabah Newspaper, which is close to the Turkish government, republished the article on their platforms.
The first topic sentence of the article reflected the writer's intention to present a false picture for the reality of crimes that were carried out by Turkish authorities and its affiliated militia in the region. However, the article comes as opposing to many international reports and studies that are prepared by investigation committees and international human rights organizations. Like the report of Amnesty in 2018, or the reports of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic 2019/ 2020. Besides, a special report reveals further details how eight women were forcibly disappeared by the Hamzat Division? -2- Likewise, the report of the International Commission on Human Rights in 2021. All those reports were documenting the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by militias under the name of the Syrian National Army, and the Grey Wolves organization that has become the second arm of the Turkish deep state, according to investigative research recently published -3-. Depending on this report, the security company with the name SADAT, organized mercenaries' transfer to fight the Armenians in Karabakh, mostly the militia that uses Ottoman names such as Suleiman Shah and Sultan Murad, whose members are descended from the Turkmen of Syria. This is a symbolic reference to the re-execution of the Armenians' new Ottoman arms -4-.
The tens of reports written by an investigative journalism talk about the religious cleansing against the Yazidis in the Afrin region. Beside extensive documents and reports published by Syrian Observatory for Human Rights regarding the operations of ethnic cleansing and demographic change in Afrin and Sere kaniye and Tel Abyad. All these documents can be found in English and Arabic language and other languages too. Moreover, they are free sources.
From this sense, it is impossible to assume that the writer is not aware of the truth of war crime, crime against humanity and genocide, which were committed by occupying authorities in the combat zone. Knowing that it was enough for the journalist to review her institute's standards to keep its position as a trustworthy newspaper. According to the Pew American Institute for Studies, only 14 percent of the audience believed what is published in The New York Times in America -5-. Which is a low rate in comparison to the status of contemporary media. Therefore, the content of this article is a moral scandal against the professional standards adopted at least by her newspaper.
Deceptive Language Adopted in the Article
Contrary to what has been explicitly stated in the reports of the international human rights commissions since Amnesty’s report in August 2018 -6-, and up to the last report of the International Human Rights Commission HRW 2021 -7-, which defined the legal description of the Turkish presence in Syria by occupation. The writer worked to use such a pragmatic description for Turkey, which unsuccessfully tried to promote for it and did not work. Thus, promoting the Turkish occupation by adopting the term safe zone. It is a misleading and contradictory use of the safe zone concept in international legal custom. Since 1991, the Security Council has started resolution 688 on Line 36 in Iraqi Kurdistan. And later in 1993/824 on Bosnia and Herzegovina. To adopt a regulation of standards based on and amended by the fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949. The concept of a safe zone has been regulated by requiring a Security Council resolution. It shall be determined that the geographical area will be a safe-zone, be freed from conflicting military parties and shall be protected by an international army.
Furthermore, the aim of putting those resolutions does not lead to ethnic cleansing or demographic change. The standards of which have been grossly violated in all Turkish-occupied areas. However, the author did not consider the legal criteria for formulating her expressions.
In addition to the aforementioned legal texts that have clearly and unequivocally defined the occupying forces' nature; it is a non-negotiable article of international law. Both in the Hague Regulations 1907, or the fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949, or attachments to the 1958 Geneva Conventions. All establish the status of occupation over a foreign Power that invades and occupies another territory. Whether there's resistance or not. International law is also imposed through the Hague Regulation 1907 (articles 42- 56), Fourth Geneva Convention (articles 27 34 and 47 78) -8-; the occupation authorities are subject to a series of restrictions. Among them are: The occupation does not give the occupying power the right of sovereignty over the occupied territory. The Turkish Governor of Hatay runs Afrin. The city of Sere Kaniye/Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad are under the jurisdiction of Urfa, and the city of Azzaz is under the Turkish state of Kils.
The above legal articles also prevent occupying authorities from destroying cultural sites. But there are many reports state that Turkey and its radical militias, destroyed Kurdish cultural symbols, and looted and destroyed indigenous property in Afrin and Ras al-Ain, (Paragraph 47 48 49 50. Report of the UN Commission of Inquiry 2020).
International law also prevents the occupying Powers from abducting the civilian population. Or the rape of women and adolescents. On the other hand, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry has documented the systematic abduction and rape of Kurdish women by Turkey's jihadist groups and under its supervision. (Paragraph. 59, 60).
International law also prohibits the occupying authorities from destroying cultural heritage and property (article. Fourth Geneva Convention). While we find that the same jihadist groups belong to Turkey, which is responsible for the destruction of Koresh's Hellenistic archaeological site. The destruction of the Ein Dara site which was on the UNESCO List of Human Heritage and the destruction of Isaiah cemeteries and worship sites (Paragraph 63- 64).
International law prevents the occupying Powers from transferring and prosecuting civilians on their territory or detaining them. While, Turkey transferred detainees in the city of Ras al-Ain to Turkey, tried them following the Turkish Criminal Code and charged them with terrorism. (Paragraph. 57 United Nations Commission of Inquiry) Turkish authorities have also moved cereals and other crops to Turkey. Also, the Turkish exporter company categorizes Afrin's olive oil sold to the European and American market. As well as, salt being mobilized in the city of Idlib, as products of a Turkish origin. This is explicitly can be detected on the packaging and envelopes in which these materials are exported.
Turkey has imposed the Turkish language, even the economy in these areas is deliberating in Turkish currency; the Turkish flag is also flown to all departments created by the Turkish occupying forces. It would naturally follow that public services such as electricity and the health sector provided by the occupying authorities. After this area cut off from Syria, in the war in which Turkish drones overtook the Kurdish military sectors, turned into Turkish territory. As a result, Afrin and Ra's Al Ain became another Turkish Cyprus.
Promoting the Occupation Agenda in Detriment of the Newspaper's Credibility
Everything in the article is A beautification of the Turkish occupation.-9- The journalist only interviewed Turkish officials and some Arab settlers from Afrin without returning to the indigenous Kurds who have been subjected to forced displacement, according to the policy adopted by Turkey for demographic change in the occupied Kurdish cities. The article also allowed free charges by Turkish officials against a Kurdish party.
The abovementioned, cannot be fair and impartial. It again raises questions about the credibility of a newspaper as long-standing as The New York Times. As an institution, it had been subjected to a campaign of questioning its credibility in 2003 with the scandal of journalist Jamieson Beller, who had been found to have published stolen articles in the newspaper. Therefore, in 2004, the editor-in-chief of the New York Times established a committee of 18 employees to restore the then-shaken journal's credibility. One of the principles developed by that committee was the scrutiny of sources of information. Furthermore, and do not falsify facts.
There was falsifying facts in this article referred to above. And that reiterates new ethical questions about the credibility of the New York Times. To what extent can a newspaper like it put in its professional ethic a space for passing a political agenda that is certainly covert and funded. This article was published in conjunction with Al Jazeera Qatar's announcement of a partnership agreement with the New York Times in a leadership platform dedicated to joint economic reporting between the two institutions.
It should be noted that Facebook, too, colluded with the Turkish occupation in its bloody operation in Afrin and its countryside in 2018. The investigative magazine Propublica -10- recently published documents showing that Facebook administration sided with the Turkish regime, which had supplied ISIS with ammunition, according to the video and documents published by Jan Dundar, editor-in-chief of the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet in 2015. He was sentenced to prison for exposing the coordination between the Turkish regime and the organization ISIS.
The article, resembles a particular type of English thriller journalism, devised by a British lord in Harmsworth and directed at those who can read but cannot think. However, it is also an article that participates with the perpetrators of the crime by dissimulating the truth. One of the reasons for the anger in the Kurdish street of such an article, is not because it reflects a falsification of reality, for that is not possible when the reality has become exposed in an obscene way in the expression of the French philosopher Baudrillard. Everything forged in the article, is refuted by piles of documents. It was rather because a newspaper like The New York Times accepted to publish on its website, and to the detriment of its credibility, an article that deepens the wounds of people who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing in the combat region due to the presence of the Turkish occupation.