American companies reject claims that they proved telephone recording is fake

fter the release of scandalous voice recordings that purportedly show Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son Bilal Erdoğan discussing how to “get rid of” large sums of money cached in their homes and those of their relatives, pro-government media sources alleged that two American audio companies had found the conversations to be spliced together from other sources — but these companies have rejected the stories as lies.
John Marshall Cheary III, founder and CEO of John Marshall Media Inc., issued a statement on his company’s Facebook account on Wednesday denying the claims of some Turkish pro-government media that the telephone recordings had been proven to be fake after technical analysis by his company. He said his company has not issued any opinions on any Turkish-language digital recordings, calling the document a blatant forgery that is signed with the company name “J Ou Productions” and has a John Marshall Media business card stapled to the top.
 
“This is not official JMM letterhead. And the fact that the company in the signature and the business card stapled to the top are different companies makes this an obvious attempt at deception,” Cheary III said in the statement.

John Marshall Media has not performed any technical analysis on the recordings, and the company is not a forensic audio specialist, he said. The manager said the company is considering litigation against the person who impersonated one of their employees. “To those news agencies that reprinted this obvious forgery: Shame on you,” Cheary III concluded.

The other company, Kaleidoscope Sound, mentioned in the stories as having provided technical evidence that the recordings had been spliced together, also issued a Facebook message explaining that their report could only determine whether the recording had been edited or was a continuous conversation. Owner Randy Crafton said that making any determinations beyond this “would certainly require at least a native Turkish speaker.”

“We are a commercial recording studio that specializes in recording, editing, and mixing audio, mostly music. We have no credentials as audio forensics specialists, just our experience as audio professionals,” Crafton said.

“Please do not construe this to be an indication of innocence or guilt on anyone’s part; it is simply an answer to the question asked,” he added. Those who say the recording is genuine admit they are an audio file containing five different conversations that took place at different locations over 26 hours.

Erdoğan rejected claims that the recordings are genuine in a written statement and later at public rallies, claiming that they had been “dubbed” and edited. In the speeches, however, he acknowledged that his encrypted phones had been tapped, which has been perceived as a confession that the conversations actually occurred. Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık, who is responsible for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), seconded Erdoğan, saying, “He feels that the recordings were manipulated.” He also stated that five TÜBİTAK employees in charge of the encrypted phones had been sacked.

Evidence of the recordings’ authenticity abounds, however. On Wednesday, audio engineers and specialists released analyses they had conducted in professional labs to verify that the talks had not been edited or spliced and that the voices actually belong to the prime minister and his son. Engineer Kıvanç Kitapçı, former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and IT specialist Tacidar Seyhan, the studios Babajim Records and STD, among many others, found no trace of doctoring in the recordings.

US-based publisher McClatchy published an article on Thursday on its webpage about the controversy over the recordings’ authenticity, including technical opinions from an expert on encrypted communications. Joshua Marpet, managing principal of cyber analytics firm Guarded Risk, told McClatchy that the recordings appear to be genuine. The only apparent “montage,” Erdoğan’s term for the recordings, was the combination of the five different conversations into one audio file, said Marpet, who was reported to have testified in court on the validity of computer evidence in Turkish criminal cases. He said there was no sign that the individual conversations had been edited. “If it’s fake, it’s of a sophistication that I haven’t seen,” he said.

Reklamlar

About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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