Zizek puts blame for falsified quotes on his friends

Slovenian academic Slavoj Zizek responds to criticism of his article which links Turkey to DAESH over baseless claims by saying 'friends' pointed him to fake story

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Slovenian academic Slavoj Zizek is seen in the file photo.

Published on Dec. 9 on the website of the UK's New Statesman magazine, Slavoj Zizek’s article “We need to talk about Turkey” aimed to associate Turkey with the DAESH terrorist organisation in an apparent attempt at black propaganda.

Zizek, in his second article “Is something rotten in the state of Turkey,” published in the same magazine on Dec. 31, tried to respond to criticism of his previous piece.

The Slovenian academic said his initial article about the “war on terror” had led to criticism that he described as a “well-coordinated campaign.”

Acknowledging that his quoting of Turkey’s intelligence chief Hakan Fidan was “falsely attributed,” Zizek gives the following explanation:

“With regard to the statements quoted in my text and falsely attributed to Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkish intelligence, things are simple and clear. After friends informed me about these statements, I searched for them on the web and found a couple of sites with them, plus I did not find any sites denying them. So I quoted the statements, mentioning the website where I found them. After it was discovered that these statements are false, the paragraph containing them was immediately deleted. What more could I have done with my limited resources?”

However, Fidan did not give an interview to the agency and a fabricated article based on his invented “quotes” was published by AWDnews.com, a website of questionable origin.

The fabricated story was refuted by Anadolu Agency on Oct. 20.

Moreover, Zizek failed to answer questions and criticism relating to the ethics of proper citation and editorial standards raised by Anadolu Agency in a response “Slavoj Zizek’s shameful bid to tarnish Turkey’s image” on Dec. 15 and an analysis published on Dec. 24 entitled “The passion of Zizek.”

Additionally, it is noteworthy that Zizek did not answer the arguments laid out in Anadolu Agency’s official response even though he attributed Fidan’s fabricated quotes to the agency without checking with the agency itself.

These specific criticisms were that Zizek did not adhere to basic media ethics even though he made accusations directly targeting Turkey and failed to follow citation ethics when referencing an article by David Graeber in the UK Guardian newspaper to support claims that Turkey helped DAESH’s oil trade and treated wounded terrorists in Turkish hospitals.

“The Passion of Zizek” article also noted his record of plagiarism, giving examples of his failure to provide proper citation.

Responding to a Dec. 24 article by Ibrahim Kalin, the spokesman for the Turkish presidency, on Al Jazeera's website entitled “Zizek, Turkey and intellectual frivolity,” Zizek rejects Kalin’s interpretation of his original article by denying making claims about Turkey’s links to DAESH.

Instead of addressing questions on his lack of citation, Zizek refers to the headline of the English version of “The Passion of Zizek.”

He wrote that “I find totally out of place the attempts to locate this accident into a series which allegedly demonstrates my 'passion for plagiarism and fabrication,' and where I am accused even of plagiarising myself [in one of my columns for NYT, I used two passages from a book of mine].”

He concludes his Dec. 31 response with the following remark that “An observer has to make a choice here: are all these accusations reported in hundreds of texts part of a gigantic plot -- or is there effectively something rotten in the state of Turkey?”