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  • Rory O'Keeffe

Fake news? Turkey, Somalia and Reuters

A brief note in two parts, as an illustration of how the media works.

Yesterday, Daily Sabah, reported that Turkey had responded to Saturday's (14 October) bombing of Somali capital Mogadishu, which killed 512 people and injured another 316, 'faster' than 'the West'.

It is certainly true that Turkey responded extremely quickly to the bombing, and that many ‘Western’ states did not.

It is also true that this swift response has been noticed – and noted – by Somalian citizens, including the national government.

But it is also an example of the Turkish government (by proxy) using an incident to attempt to show that ‘the West’ (Turkey is currently engaged in an ongoing attempt to paint itself as a ‘victim’ in its failure to join the EU, and Turkey and the US have suspended the issuing of visas to one another’s citizens) is self-interested, and does not care about other states (including Turkey), and that Turkey (which has a massive military base in Mogadishu, which Somali intelligence officers believe was the target of the bombing) is ‘better’ than ‘the West’ – by implication, too, that it may be better off without it.

It would, of course, be better if ‘the West’ did not do so much to prove the accusations laid at its door.

Regardless of the reasons for the Daily Sabah report, the story was today picked-up by Reuters news agency.

Reuters is treating the story as fact (despite the fact that Somalia made absolutely no mention of ‘the West’ and that in any case, Qatar and others had also flown aid to the state), and as a result, today/tomorrow, it will be carried by roughly 60 per cent of all US news sites, perhaps 35-50 per cent of those in the EU, and will possibly reach non-Somalian East Africa for the first time.

In this way, a fiction concocted by the Turkish state - and intended at least in part to be read and digested by Turkish citizens - will become globally-accepted fact, despite the fact that Somalia has made no criticism of the response of 'the West, however justified such criticism might be.

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