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Biased news coverage of the coup in Turkey disturbs Dutch-Turkish citizens!

Biased news coverage of the coup in Turkey disturbs Dutch-Turkish citizens!

In the night connecting July 15 to 16, a small fraction within the Turkish army attempted a coup in Turkey. After two weeks, the facts and the confessions of the suspect detainees point in the direction of FETÖ as the culprit.

The coup attempt was rebuffed by the people of Turkey who en masse stood up for democracy and freedom. 240 civilians and security personnel perished, more than 2000 were injured. Our heartfelt condolences go to the relatives of those involved and our deepest sympathies go to the people of Turkey. We condemn this barbaric attempt to overthrow the government which had inhumanely violent consequences.

Dutch-Turks who have closely followed the news about the attempted coup, were astonished each day by the prejudiced and one sided news coverage of the Dutch media over the aftermath of the coup attempt. No condemnation of the coup attempt was uttered. No words of sympathy towards the relatives of those who died. Not only a missed moral gesture towards NATO partner Turkey, but also a missed opportunity by politicians to acknowledge the more than 400,000 Dutch-Turks as fellow citizens with an own identity. While the ex-prime minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, questioned the misplaced emphasis of the political leaders of Europe, The Netherlands kept quiet.

The media, on the other hand, focused on the measures the Turkish state took under the state of emergency law. It was even hinted that the coup was fabricated by the government itself. Apparently, the fact that the Turkish nation, which faces war on its 1290 km long south-eastern border since decades, escaped a civil war does not matter at all! Turkey currently offers shelter to 3 million refugees from Syria and other war zones to relieve Europe from its ever growing refugee problem. But even this cooperation does not prevent Europe from criticising Turkey about the refugee issue. Meetings to celebrate the victory  in large cities over coup attempt is displayed by the Dutch media as “organized by Erdogan supporters only” even though, in reality, these gatherings are vigils for freedom of speech and democracy and are attended by the vast majority of the population including the supporters of opposition parties.

With dismay we have received the news that some provocateurs have made attacks to establishments and issued threats to citizens. We strongly condemn all threats and attacks on any citizen and business in The Netherlands made by a few provocateurs. Within the context of freedom of expression everybody has the right to criticize any individual or group. But criminal offences are not acceptable. Such crimes need to be reported to and followed by the authorities. We very much hope that these reprehensible actions prove to have been incidental. Dutch Turks have always lived here in a peaceful manner and will continue to do so. Turkish Dutch have always lived here in a peaceful manner and will continue to do so as they want to take part in and contribute to the Dutch society.

In The Netherlands, where the freedom of speech is of paramount importance, we expect a unbiased picture in the media that has more depth to it and especially does justice to the facts. We, therefore, urge the Dutch media to examine the issue in Turkey more thoroughly. Who is behind the attempted coup? Who would profit from a weakened and divided Turkey? What role did foreign powers play in the events as in the examples of: Arab Spring, in particular Tunisia and Libya, and the military takeover in Egypt. Such questions beg for answers which may be interesting to know.

Netherlands as a friendly nation and NATO ally of Turkey would not benefit from an unstable Turkey. Both countries could profit from not only a strong approach against all terrorist groups, but also from the prevention of terrorism.

Mehmet Emin Ates,


Centre for Public Debate (CPD),

also on behalf  of Landelijk Platform Overleg Turken in Nederland –LAPON – (National Consultation Platform for Turks in The Netherlands)