Hussain Rahhal, Hezbollah’s press liaison, has issued a written statement:
“Our secretary general Nasrallah has not given any interviews to any Turkish or other non-Lebanese journalist during the month of August. In the face of this imaginary interview that is untruthful, and hence does damage to journalism, credibility and objectivity, Hezbollah reserves its right to take legal action against those who have published it.”
This is in reference to an interview purporting to be of Hezbollah’s leader,Sayeed Hassan Nasrallah, by a Turkish collective in Beirut. It was published in Evrensel, a socialist Turkish daily, on August 12 and 13, causing some stir in the Turkish press. It was translated into English and posted on least one left site, Marxmail, one of whose readers forwarded it to CounterPunch. We ran excerpts from it on August 17.
In an item last weekend I noted charges that the interview was fraudulent, also interesting and important observations about radical components in the Shi’a tradition, which might buttress arguments for the interview’s genuineness. I hope this particular fakery won’t discredit those insights, which are important for the left.
Hezbollah’s denunciation is categorical, and should be taken as the last word, though if there are any significant or interesting updates we’ll let CounterPunchers know. I do find Hezbollah’s threat of legal action somewhat comical. Will they also try to drag Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner and other barons of the First World press into the World Court for misrepresentation? Wasn’t that the hope of the proposed New World Information Order, twenty-five or so years ago?
Today we received this statement from Evrensel Daily.
STATEMENT FROM EVRENSEL DAILY
ABOUT THE FORGED NASRALLAH INTERVIEW
Foreign News Desk
Evrensel Daily / ISTANBUL, TURKEY
It is now clearly understood that, the so-called “interview” with Hezbollah leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, which appeared on our newspaper (12th August) in Turkey is a forgery.
Press Representative of Hezbollah, Hussein Rahhal, on a question asked by the official Anatolian Agency correspondent, replied that Nasrallah has not conducted any interview with any Turkish journalist in August.
With this forgery, “Mutlu Sahin” and “Roza Cigdem Erdogan”, the forgers, who are members of the “Sheikh Bedreddin Film Collective” (Turkish initials, SBFK) have attempted to tarnish the reliability of Evrensel, a 12-years old socialist newspaper. But this is not all. They have attempted to erode the reliability of all progressive, antiwar, antiimperialist sources and people all over the world; as the “interview” had far reaching consequences than they probably have imagined in their pathetic minds.
Evrensel General Coordinator, Ihsan Caralan, has made a written statement about the developments. This statement is printed on the 2nd September, 2006 issue of Evrensel, from the front page… We believe this statement will shed light into the forgery, though the real aims and connections of the instigators are still unknown …
Here is the statement:
“This ‘interview’ was sent to us by members of the Sheikh Bedreddin Film Collective members, Mutlu Sahin and Roza Cigdem Erdogan. The fact that these people who are known as ‘documentary filmmakers’ were members of a known cultural organization is the most important factor that we approached them without any suspicion.
These people, whose “Beirut impressions” were printed in some other newspapers and internet sites, have also sent us, before the said “interview”, their ‘Beirut impressions’ and these were printed on our paper, too.
The so-called interview with Sheikh Nasrallah included symphatetic remarks about historical persona such as Deniz Gezmis and Che Guevera. These remarks were found suspicious by us; but at that time our thought was that Hezbollah, who had won the support of Islamic circles, was attempting to erase the prejudices and suspicions in the West and especially, in left-wing circles by these words. Our aim of publishing the ‘interview’ was, our desire to reflect the developments of an important conflict from all perspectives.
After the interview was published, there were various suspicions raised in various circles. Because of this, we demanded from Mutlu Sahin that he should immediately confirm that the interview was actually done. But they have evaded us until the last minute by continuously saying that they will confirm the interview, will present documented evidence, make Hezbollah print the interview on their website etc.
When the news of Anatolian Agency was put into service, we immediately sent the text to them via Windows Messenger. After reading the message, and without making any comment, Mutlu Sahin became offline and from then on, did not answer our phone calls.
As obvious to all, this attitude amounts to nothing more than an ‘unqualified forgery’. Our newspaper, since the beginning, has uphold the principles of peoples’ right to true information and learning the truth. But another principle of our newspaper is follow-up. Thus, we will continue to seek and tell the truth about these people and the figures behind them, if there are any.
These people are responsible for cheating us and thus, making us the instrument of the dissemination of false information. But nevertheless, we cannot evade our own responsibility as the newspaper who printed this false interview. We have encountered such a situation for the first time in our history and this teaches us again that meticulousness in newsmaking should never be forgotten.
We sincerely apologize from our readers, from the various publications (online or print) who trusted us and printed this text and those who translated the text to various languages and sent it to various news resources.”
And here is another recent development from the film collective. This piece of news below also appeared on Evrensel on 2nd September.
SBFK did not even apologize
Mutlu Sahin and Roza Cigdem Erdogan, who had their names on the fake interview are nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, SBFK made an announcement yesterday:
“This sudden development about the interview was totally unexpected. SBFK Press Representative Yilmaz Kilickaya, Foreign Relations Coordinator Zafer Hanoglu, members Roza Cigdem Erdogan, Berfin Gunes and Esra Celik, have gone to Beirut to inform the public and put an end to the debate.
After weekend, they will inform the public on behalf of SBFK, which Hezbollah representatives will also attend.
We had declared that we retain some of our rights. We will explain these rights in this last information we will give.
From now on, the drawees are not Roza Cigdem Erdogan or Mutlu Sahin, but our collective. Until this last information meeting, we deem our friends innocent. After that last moment in which all debate will be put an end, their duties and authorities are suspended temporarily. We also note that we will not take seriously the attacks and insults circulating the internet against our collective and our members.