Attacks on West after Christchurch massacre are typical Erdoğan - BBC
Rather than shocking, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attacks on the West in recent days are typical of Turkey’s leader, particularly during a tough election campaign, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
In the days since a 28-year-old Australian allegedly shot up two mosques in New Zealand’s capital, Christchurch, killing 50 people and wounding as many more, Erdoğan has repeatedly brought up the massacre on the campaign trail for Turkey’s March 31 local elections.
At one rally after another, Erdoğan has shown still images of the alleged New Zealand gunman’s manifesto, highlighting sections targeting Turkey, followed by video of the massacre, which killed 50 people, streamed live by the attacker and since blocked by the likes of YouTube and Facebook.
Finally, Erdoğan brings up Turkey’s opposition politicians and links them to a vague western conspiracy. "This is not an isolated event, it's something more organised," he has said, according to the BBC, also accusing the West of "preparing" the killer's manifesto and "handing it to him".
Visiting Gallipoli on Monday, Erdoğan suggested a repeat of the 1915 World War One battle, in which Ottoman forces commanded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk fought off troops of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) alongside British and French soldiers. Erdoğan seized on the New Zealand attacks to portray his country under threat after the Australian man charged with the killings linked his actions to the Turkish presence in Europe.
“Your grandfathers came and saw that we're here. Then some of them walked back, while others left in coffins,” Erdoğan said. “If you come with the same intention, we'll be waiting for you.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the remarks and said all options are on the table for Australia’s response. “I understand the deep offence Australians would be feeling about this. It is truly upsetting," he said.
“This is, in fact, vintage Erdoğan,” the BBC said, adding that he often portrays himself as the leader of the Muslim world.
“The attack, whose alleged perpetrator targeted Turks in part of his manifesto, has been a perfect opportunity for a proudly Islamic president, who has long railed at the West for its treatment of Muslims, denouncing among other issues the term ‘Islamist terrorism’. And Mr Erdoğan thrives on creating an enemy, depicting Turkey as under threat and himself as its saviour. Never more so than before an election,” said the BBC.
Heading into local elections that could pose a serious challenge to his party, amid a recession, high inflation, and rising unemployment, Turkey’s leader has gone into classic attack mode, according to the BBC.
Two years ago Germany and the Netherlands were the target after banning Turkish ministers from holding rallies there. Erdoğan labelled them "Nazis" and "fascists", which soon became virtually the focus of the campaign.
He has also called out media outlets including the BBC, as well as the United States, Israel, the United Nations, and an array of domestic enemies, including Kurdish militants and those behind the 2016 failed coup.
“It feeds the conspiracy theories of a nation taught from school of how the West tried to dismember Turkey,” said the BBC. And most of all, it plays directly to his conservative, pious support base, who lap up his strongman rhetoric. His half of the country is, after all, the only one he needs for electoral success yet again.”