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How conspiracy theories spread(and people believe in them)
1.       thehandsom
7403 posts
 02 Aug 2010 Mon 01:24 pm


How and why do conspiracy theories spread in Turkey? ...the role of government rhetoric in spreading such theories, as well as anti-Western sentiments.

Lately, Turkey has experienced a spike in Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, terror attacks, resulting in more than 50 deaths in less than two months. ...AKP, pushing the party to shift focus on the issue and blame not the PKK, but Israel and clandestine actors for the attacks.


The party, for instance, now refers to the PKK as a ´subcontractor´ (taseron), suggesting that Israel and invisible actors, not the PKK itself, are responsible for the terror attacks. At the same time, the AKP has also begun labeling domestic and international media that have been critical of its foreign policy as other ´subcontractors´ puppeteered by the same forces that are ´“behind the PKK.´ These two new conspiracies are laying roots in Turkey. Here is how.


´On the same day [as the flotilla incident], there was an attack on a military unit in Iskenderun. We also condemn this act of terror. We do not think that it is a coincidence that these two attacks took place at the same time.´


On June 9, the AKP government voted ´no´ to U.S.-led sanctions against Iran’s nuclear project. This development prompted a barrage of criticism of the AKP’s foreign policy, at home and internationally. The AKP leader, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strategically shifted the blame, tying such criticism to ´subcontractors.´ 


Erdogan said at the Turkish-Arab Forum held in Istanbul on June 10 that ´the word ‘media’ is associated with Israel and Israeli administration around the world´ ´´


On June 11, Erdogan spoke on Turkish foreign policy: ...´ Get a hold of those papers published in Israel and put them on the table, and then put those certain well-known papers in Turkey next to those, and believe me, you will see no difference between the two, with the exception of language. This is because these are subcontractors [sic].´


On June 15, speaking, at an AKP parliamentary meeting, Erdogan again addressed Turkey’s “subcontractors,” saying ... the ones that support Israel, as they always do. There are those who support this in Turkey as well... I am very sorry to report that the black propaganda against Turkey, initiated and currently maintained by Israeli supported international media, is openly supported by certain known press organizations within Turkey..


As PKK attacks persisted, Erdogan continued to shift the blame. On June 20, one Turkish soldier was killed and one was wounded during a PKK ambush in the southeastern province of Elazig. In a speech in Van the same day, Erdogan commented on the increase in PKK violence: ´We know whose subcontractor the PKK is´


Other AKP leaders have joined Erdogan in promoting the ´subcontractor´conspiracy..



These recent events in Turkey demonstrate how government rhetoric spreads conspiracy theories that ferment anti-Western sentiments. Once the authorities spread such theories, they become part of mainstream thinking, making it difficult to tackle them. The lesson is simple: spreading conspiracy theories is similar to letting the genie out of the bottle; once the authorities promote such theories, it is already too late.




I guess, it was an easy thing to do for the politicians to spread these type of rumours or to speak this way as they are shifting the blame from themselves to a common and obvious enemy (Israel in this incident). 


Edited (8/2/2010) by thehandsom

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