Writing in Riochet, Claire Berlinski discusses the vastly divergent perceptions between Turkey and the West of the attempted coup, the product of an aggressive Gülenist public relations strategy:
My doctor, who I visited yesterday to renew a routine prescription, knows I lived in Turkey for many years. As I stood up to leave, he asked me if he could ask my opinion. “The coup in Turkey,” he said earnestly. “Was it real? Or did Erdoğan stage it?”
It suddenly occurred to me how strange my experience of all of this has been. I imagined telling him the truth. “No, he didn’t stage it, and interestingly, your question indicates to me that you — like most people in the West — have been the victim of an extremely sophisticated media and asset-recruitment operation conducted by a powerful, multi-tentacled Islamist cult run out of Pennsylvania, you see.
This divergence of perception has significant ramifications for the West’s relationship with Turkey. Since the botched coup on July 15, the Gülenists have been working overtime to promote their narrative about it in the West. You can discern their machinations the way you know there’s a submarine under the water from the turbulence in its wake. Example: a Facebook friend who works for a libertarian think tank wrote to me to say, “Claire, I know you’re interested in Turkey — can you help me get the word out about these imprisoned liberal journalists?”
Then she rattled off the names of notorious shills for Gülen. … These same people defended the arrest of journalists who wrote about the Gülenist infiltration of the Turkish state. They eagerly undertook the task of selling these arrests to the West as part of Turkey’s “advanced democratization.”
It’s creepy not only that these people have quickly reinvented themselves as “liberal dissidents,” but that they know exactly who to call to get that message into the Western media.