Update (8th February 2016): I had given up on ever getting to the bottom of this story. Prompted by an enquiry from a reader, I revisited this case and found
a post on le Monde, which had been published just after I had given up (30th April 2012). Au Fil du Bosphore makes the convincing case that ‘Maxime Gauin may very well have fabricated this false report himself [Maxime Gauin aurait très bien pu fabriquer ce faux rapport lui-même]’.
Ghislain Noyer studies ‘political radicalism: extremisms, nationalisms, racisms at their underlying psychological mechanisms [radicalité politique: extrémismes, nationalismes, racismes et de leurs mécanismes psychologiques sous-jacents]’.
He has questioned the account of the deniers of the French intelligence report on Turkish nationalism. And he and Zaman France‘s Emre Demir have heightened my concern that I may have unwittingly reproduced Armenian and/or Turkish nationalist propaganda.
Reviewing the Gauin Affair: a False Controversy that Hides the True Questions [Affaire Gauin: une Fausse Controverse qui Cache de Vraies Questions], Noyer traced the evolution of the story; then, he analysed the claims in and about the story. As he summarised it,
- le Point publicised the alleged French intelligence (DCRI(1)) report on Turkish nationalism in France, highlighting ultranationalist ‘warlord [seigneur de guerre]’ Yusuf Arpacık and Hérouville Saint Clair municipal councillor Fadime Ertuğrul Taştan;
- the file was uploaded to Calaméo;
- Nouvelles d’Arménieexplored the story,
- showing Taştan with Arpacık,
- showing Taştan making the sign of the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves (Bozkurtlar), and
- claiming that the administrator of Turquie News was an ‘informant [honorable correspondent]’ of the DCRI, who had infiltrated and gathered intelligence on Turkish nationalist movements in Turkey; then,
- on the advice of ‘anonymous sources [sources anonymes]’, Zaman France claimed that the DCRI informant was a history student, Maxime Gauin.(2)
Questioning the questioners
Noyer noted that the pseudonymous “journalists” who questioned the authenticity of the DCRI report used ‘the same method as denialism – the quibbling with associated details in massive ignorance of the incriminating evidence [la même méthode que le négationnisme – l’ergotage sur des détails associé à l’ignorance massive des éléments à charge]’.
Moreover, Noyer pointed out that the pseudonymous authors showed an ‘at least unusual understanding of the functioning of the secret services [connaissance pour le moins inhabituelle du fonctionnement des services secrets]’; he queried how the unknown persons knew that French police had forbidden reports without authors’ signatures and institutions’ stamps.
In addition, I would ask: do the French secret services really require their agents to sign their names to their work?
Noyer noted that the French interior minister disowned the alleged DCRI document on 3rd April, but that Turquie News only reported that disowning on 8th April.
Meticulous fakes are rare, leaked reports are not…
Zaman France noted that it was ‘not uncommon [pas rare]’ for DCRI briefs to be leaked to the press, but implied that it was incredibly rare for a forged document to contain so much material of such ‘breadth, precision and importance [l’ampleur, la précision et l’importance]’ (including biographies of nationalists and photographs of nationalist activities in France and abroad).
Conflict between the U.S., Israel, Azerbaijan and Secularist Turks, and Iran and Islamist Turks… and trouble in France
Noyer fears that the revelation of these Turkish nationalist groups’ ‘mutual suspicion, their hate fantasies and their genuine discord [suspicions mutuelles, leurs fantasmes haineux et leurs dissensions réelles]’ may ‘above all else make it possible for them to elude the real, inconvenient/uncomfortable questions to the benefit of secondary considerations [permettent surtout d’éluder les vraies questions gênantes au profit de considérations secondaires]’.
Specifically, Noyer fears that the dispute over the report reflects the growing conflict between the United States, Israel and Azerbaijan (and Secularist Turks), and Iran (and Islamist Turks), and distracts from very real and dangerous problems in France:
- ‘Is it, then, reprehensible/censurable in France to shout “death to Jews”, “death to Arabs” or “death to gays” but authorised and perhaps good to say “death to Armenians”?’ [Est-il donc blâmable en France de hurler “mort aux Juifs”, “mort aux Arabes” ou “mort aux pédés” mais autorisé et même peut-être bien vu de dire “mort aux Arméniens”?]
- Regardless, it is ‘truly stupefying and no less disturbing [proprement stupéfiant et non moins inquiétant]’ that there is no public outcry over evidence that ‘French citizens are being targeted in France, and on the basis of their ethnic origins, by foreigners who came specially for that end [des citoyens français sont pris pour cible en France et sur la base de leur origine ethnique par des étrangers venus spécialement à cette fin]’.
I can only echo those sentiments.
Unwitting reproduction of propaganda?
Zaman France‘s journalist, Emre Demir, condemned ‘the rapidity with which it was affirmed with certainty, but probably without any proof, that the report had been produced by a “militant Armenian” [la rapidité avec laquelle il a été affirmé avec certitude, mais vraisemblablement sans aucune preuve, que le rapport a été réalisé par un “militant arménien“]’.(3)
Initially, I repeated the document’s claims. Then – notably, with my mind focused by Gauin’s contemplation of ‘the possibilities to sue for defamation and fabrication of forgery‘ – I presented the problems with the story: the mistakes in the document, the journalists’ choice not to contact their “victims”, and the French state denials of the report.
Did I unwittingly reproduce Armenian and/or Turkish nationalist propaganda?
1: Central Directorate of Internal Intelligence (Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI)).
2: As Noyer keenly observed (as preserved in the web address), anti-Semitic Turkish media discussed a Mossad Agent in Ankara: the French Jew Maxime Gauin (then revised it, a Mossad-French Agent in Ankara: the So-Called Researcher Maxime Gauin). Sky1Blue says they did not realise that the original title ‘could be misunderstood‘.
3: Noyer pointed out that Demir’s challenging of secularist (Kemalist) Turkish nationalist principle of Armenophobia, in an Islamist (Gülenist) newspaper, was a demonstration of the factional splits within Turkish nationalist circles.
[Originally, I asked whether I had been ‘complicit in propaganda’; but complicity requires active choice. Obviously, I fear that I may have incidentally contributed to the spread of nationalist propaganda.]