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    Oktay Eksi: Who should the Turkish army be angry at?

    Hürriyet Haber
    16.10.2008 - 11:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    Yesterday’s harsh statements from the chief of Turkey's General Staff, Ilker Basbug, reminded us of the well-known "Pentagon Documents" incident of the 1970s.

    It is clear that the recent reports published by Taraf daily regarding the PKK's deadliest attack on the Aktutun military outpost caused this reaction.

     

    The newspaper published reports claiming that the Turkish army failed to avert the attack even though it was informed ahead of time; what is more, the daily also published confidential military communication documents.

     

    In addition to this, two additional newspapers, who we will not name, may also be the cause for his harsh reactions for their systematically publication of articles that aims to harm the military.

     

    Of course, it is Mr. Basbug's right and duty to defend the institution he is leading under any circumstances. We must respect his decision to strongly urge judicial bodies to act against those publishing material that violates convention.

     

    But we need to remind him of certain things, just as we have to politicians, in particular Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan:

     

    "Filing a lawsuit against a journalist is not the right way if the report is accurate. One method that could be implemented in such a situation would be to show an effort to change or correct this truth, especially if it is false. A second method would be to seek amends not with the journalist writing the story, but the person who delivers this confidential information to the media."

     

    Let me briefly outline the details of the incident surrounding the Pentagon Documents:

     

    A huge debate erupted in 1971 in the United States when The New York Times reported on a confidential report that included the U.S.'s government’s plans and policies regarding the Vietnam War.

     

    U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered a lawsuit be filed against the newspaper and the related correspondent. The New York Times however won the case. The outcome of this ruling was that the fault for leaked documents should not be placed with the journalist, but with those responsible from within their own institution.

     

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