The Daily Telegraph’s Con Coughlin has written an interesting article about an alleged donation of $25 million by Iran’s government to Turkey’s ruling AK Party.
The article is interesting because it tells you far more about the reporter, Con Coughlin, than about any actual facts about what has actually happened. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Firstly, the article carries the headline: ‘Iran donates $25 million to Turkey’s ruling party’. This is clearly an unambiguous statement. It is further emphasised by the standfirst (the one sentence summary that appears immediately below the headline) to the article which reads as follows:
‘Iran has agreed to donate $25 million (£16 million) to Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in a move that will increase fears that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to abandon the country’s secular constitution.’
Again, the import of these words is unmistakeable and can only mean that Iran has indeed donated $25 million to Turkey’s AK Party and that this is a worrying development.
But, where is the evidence for the assertion that Iran has actually donated this money to the AK Party? Coughlin’s first paragraph reads as follows:
‘Western diplomats say they are alarmed by reports that Mr Erdogan has negotiated a deal with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Tehran to make a substantial contribution to the campaign funds of Turkey‘s leading Islamic party.’
So, this so-called news story is based on ‘reports’ which Coughlin noticeably fails to source and alleged ‘alarm’ among some diplomats that Coughlin refuses to name.
I have previously written about Coughlin’s history of writing scaremongering articles about Iran and his latest piece appears on the face of it to be little different.
Hidden away inside Coughlin’s article, however, is this sentence:
‘The Turkish government denied having received the money from Iran.’
That seems to be a rather categorical denial of the basis for Coughlin’s story. And all that Coughlin offers the reader to refute that is unsourced ‘reports’ and rumours.
There really ought to be an award for journalists of Coughlin’s calibre. ‘For life-long services in the furtherance of bullshit’ seems about right.