Turkey shows where fake news can lead - journo

Turkey’s present parlous state is partially due to the predominance of fake news there and the propensity of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government to blame others for its own failures, journalist Diego Cupolo wrote in The Atlantic.

“The intensity of the rhetoric far exceeds what Westerners have come to know as ‘fake news’, instead creating an alternate reality propped up by half-truths that depict Erdoğan and his government as the saviours of the oppressed people of the world, and everyone else as the enemy,” Cupolo said.

“When Erdoğan fails, he and his coterie blame that failure on foreign actors.”

Thus, he said, conspiracy theories proliferate and the public are left less well informed.

“Since the 2016 coup attempt, this “politics of the victimised” seems to be Erdoğan’s only mode,” he wrote.

“While the coup posed a very real threat to Turkey’s democracy, and many people lost their lives in its chaos, the purges of thousands of people on accusations of dubious links to terrorist organisations - such as downloading a specific phone messaging application known to be used by Gülenists - is testimony to just how far the falsehoods can go.”

Turkey blames Pennsylvania-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen for plotting the failed coup.