The dust has not settled yet. Yes, the Cablegate is on and Assange’s Wikileaks is leaking almost 40 years of American Foreign Mission correspondence. Only the first 24 hours over and only 0,1% of the documents released, it’s rather early to comment on anything. However, very interesting commentary from several countries are already hitting the newswires. And this brief note would try to deal with those early comments and one specific document within two hundred seventy something that has already released.
People call this event the third world war. Some others call it a precursor of an inevitable cyber-war which they think would be the future of warfare. I call it a major test on online civil rights and liberties. Some US politicians already declared that they would love Wikileaks to be included in the list of terrorist organizations. I somewhat agree to Secretary of State when she said that confidentiality of private information is paramount to civilization as we know it. But leaking administrative information pertinent to International manipulations and diplomatic hypocrisies could not be considered a pure breach of that principle since it produces information gathered for the people, funded by the people and implemented against both the will and benefit of the people. I also agree with Clinton, when she said that this information might harm individuals or societies at large. Yes, but can we say that these “individuals” or “societies”, while maybe performing their duties stuck to universally accepted principles? For example the report I will mention below by then Ankara Ambassador Edelman, whom does it harm? Labeled as a “hawk” and “pro-con” once, it shows his competency as a political analyst and sheds the limelight onto the corrupt and hedonistic political arena in Turkey. And if these actors that he speaks of in his report would be harmed, what’s wrong with that?
I’m aware of the fact that information is a two sided knife. Every opinion holder might have some justifiable points. But we must be aware of a new age in which we are living for a good 20 years now. The concept of private and confidential information is changing. Responsible behavior is no longer the duty of only common masses. This could lead to two things; one is compartmentalization of private information by the governments, which would in turn add to their clumsiness and authoritarianism like a new Patriot Act, and the second is liberalization of information in the long run. And this author thinks both will happen respectively.
Another reaction came from the PM of Turkey, Erdogan on his way to a new episode on his endless foreign visits declared Wikileaks unreliable and stated that all the documents should be revealed until they would officially comment on them. In a few hours, all major International players have neither declined nor confirmed allegations surfaced by Wikileaks cables, which in diplomacy means a silent acceptance. Turkey once more was isolated in its haste.
Let’s read Edelman:
“In surrounding himself with an iron ring of sycophantic (but contemptuous) advisors, Erdogan has isolated himself from a flow of reliable information, which partially explains his failure to understand the context — or real facts…”
“A second question is the relation of Turkey and its citizens to history — the history of this land and citizens’ individual history. Subject to rigid taboos, denial, fears, and mandatory gross distortions, the study of history and practice of historiography in the Republic of Turkey remind one of an old Soviet academic joke: the faculty party chief assembles his party cadres and, warning against various ideological threats, proclaims, “The future is certain. It’s only that damned past that keeps changing.””
In his analysis, after establishing the current outlook in 2004, and a vivid portrayal of many imminent politicians in Turkey, ends his words with the above remark on the infamous Soviet joke. It looks like only yesterday’s statements by the PM proves him right. Lack of understanding and vision is encumbering Turkey for almost a century now. Despite any ossible argument on morality or outcome scenarios of Cablegate, one has to first indicate the good it could do to world politics. Many ideas, analyses or directions were taken and put away only to be destroyed when due date comes. Introduction of these ideas into public domain would help understand our recent past better as well as enabling academia and think-tanks to envision a future with a different kind of freedom of flow of information and access to so-called public documents.