Cablegate: Media Gets It Wrong On Two Terror Stories

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) On July 26, TGRT TV station, a part of the Ihlas
Group of companies, aired a mistaken report on its daily news
program that there had been a large explosion with many
injured in Istanbul's Taksim Square. (Note: There was no
such explosion. End note.) The report was supplemented by a
TGRT reporter calling in "live" from the scene, who confirmed
the bombing. Several other channels, including Haberturk and
reportedly some international wires, picked up the story, as
did police who rushed to the area to verify reports. Minutes
after the story was broadcast, TGRT reported that the
"explosion claims proved unfounded." Turkish national police
detained two TGRT reporters who were released after giving

2. (U) It is unclear if this incident was the result of a
bad hoax for which there will be punishment, or if it simply
resulted from the two reporters' incompetence. When the CG
queried Istanbul's Police Chief about the TGRT story in a
July 27 outcall, the Chief simply stated the TGRT report was
a "false report" and did not elaborate on the case.

3. (U) TGRT and the Ihlas Group are owned by the Oren
family. The group also owns Ihlas News Agency, one of
Turkey's news agencies, with a wide network of reporters,
that is often used as a source by other channels. They are
generally considered to be professional and post has worked
with them in the past.

4. (U) In an unrelated development, Vatan newspaper on July
29 reported that Istanbul's Deputy Police Chief Sammaz
Demirtas said he expected an Al Qaeda attack in Istanbul by
November 2005. When queried about the story, Demirtas told
RSO his remarks had been taken out of context and that he had
been misquoted. He claimed Vatan would be printing a

5. (U) Comment: The attacks in the U.K. and Egypt, on top
of the recent bombs incidents in Cesme and Kusadasi, may have
some Istanbul residents feeling nervous, with memories of the
2003 bombings not so distant. Some Turkish media outlets may
be seeking to capitalize on that sense of unease by pursuing
terror-related stories that sell, whether the story is there
or not.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Myanmar: Stop ‘Widespread Violence’ Against Children, UN Officials Urge

Senior United Nations officials on Thursday strongly condemned the ongoing violence by Myanmar’s security forces against civilians, including children, as the members of the Security Council expressed alarm at the rapidly deteriorating situation in ... More>>

COVID-19 Origins Report Inconclusive: We Must ‘Leave No Stone Unturned’ – WHO Chief

The report from a team of international scientists assembled by the World Health Organization (WHO) to examine how COVID-19 first spread to humans was published on Tuesday, and was described by the UN health agency’s chief as a welcome start, ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Department Of Global Communications: UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ Message For World Health Day 2021

5 APRIL 2021 As COVID-19 Reveals Immoral Inequities in Health System, Secretary-General Observance Message Calls for Applying Policies, Assigning Resources to Ensure Everyone Thrives Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World ... More>>

Global Development: Responding To COVID-19 Pandemic, Young People Advocate For Bold Solutions

From climate action to addressing inequalities and building peace, youth leaders scale up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 7 to 8 April 2021 Follow on UN Web TV Youth leaders, activists and youth-led organizations around the world ... More>>

SDG Action Awards: Winners Announced

Mobilizing, inspiring, and connecting individuals around the globe to #TurnItAround for people and planet Bonn, Germany, 25 March - The 2020 SDG Action Awards Ceremony, which took place on 25 March as a part of the fifth SDG Global Festival of Action ... More>>