Giorgos Iliopoulos: Turkish conspiracy theories become self-fulfilling prophecy
Over the past two years, there has been a sharp escalation of anti-Western rhetoric in Turkey while it escalated aggression in its foreign policy, forcing several NATO allies to rally against it. Trying to normalize the rather dangerous situation does not work, but instead causes more tensions.
With strong differences over Libya, including a general ban on arms shipments and military personnel, the controversy over access to hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean, armed intervention in Syria against the Kurds, protection of fanatical Islamists and insurgents it has turned the West against it.
The Voice of America, echoing the views of strategic analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C., emphasizes that totalitarianism in Turkish politics is leading to a dangerous escalation. Almost all officials in the West have been disappointed by the strong anti-Western rhetoric of the Turkish leadership, and especially of Erdogan.
Constantly fueling the current tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Erdogan regime exploits issues related to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the great battles that led to the victories of the Ottomans, or the vast, albeit confused, and indefinite conspiracy unfolding over the last two years to the detriment of Turkey. The relevant rhetoric promises a return to the glory of the past and to imperial grandeur. This is supported by the Carnegie Europe research center.
In fact, the EU has shown great reluctance to impose sanctions on its provocative behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean. But the Americans imposed sanctions over the case of the Russian S-400. However, Erdogan’s claims about the dark machinations of the West may prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy if Western countries and countries bordering Turkey begin to coordinate a series of strategic control and containment actions.
However, a development of this kind, as is understandable, will occur in the sense of an outcome that will be caused by the aggressive-expansionist policy of the Erdogan regime, through its alien and provocative diplomacy, as well as its military interventions in Syria. in Libya and the Caucasus.
Turkish conspiracy theories
The Erdogan regime’s conspiracy theories intensified in 2020, when frightened Turkish citizens are facing a sharp drop in the value of their national currency by more than 30% against the US dollar and the euro. According to the Turkish president, the negative developments stem from a huge international conspiracy that threatens to suppress the Turkish projection of power and the corresponding influence of the country abroad.
Criticism inside Turkey, as well as abroad, focuses on the fact that at the moment there is no clear, nor even vague anti-Turkish conspiracy. But if the Erdogan regime continues to provocatively oppose neighboring states, including EU members as well as NATO allies, it is likely to emerge.
Conspiracy theories have long been a favorite subject of cultural and political life in Turkey, at least since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. With his rise to power, Erdogan seeks to again make references to cases of dark machinations in order to rekindle Turkish phobias. At their core is the claim that Turkey is besieged by foreign rival forces and dark mechanisms eager to destroy its power and prevent its return to Ottoman glory.
Conspiracy theorists and the Treaty of Lausanne
However, the frequent invocation of foreign conspiracies by the leading group of the ruling Justice and Development Party may eventually turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, as Western diplomats warn. An example of conspiracy theories is the creeping gossip that has been systematically cultivated for a decade and concerns 2023, the supposed expiration date of the Treaty of Lausanne.
According to Turkish conspiracy theorists, the expiration of the treaty is going to make Turkey’s existing borders obsolete and irrelevant. According to them, a series of secret articles of the treaty signed by British and Turkish diplomats a century ago is planned to be made public.
These are supposed to provide for the recapture of fortifications in the Bosphorus by British forces, the upgrading of the Patriarchate to an autonomous Byzantine state according to Vatican standards, in exchange for the exploitation of Aegean energy resources by Turkey and the return of western Thrace and the islands of the northern Aegean in Ankara, as provided for in the Turkish National Oath of 1921 (recognized by France and Russia in 1922).
However, the Treaty of Lausanne has neither an expiration date nor secret articles, although the relevant conspiracy theories allow some conclusions to be drawn about rumors of this type that persistently circulate on the margins of news networks and are rebroadcast by some strange and relatively hard-to-find sites.
Suspicions of machinations
The main conclusion concerns the revelation of the deeper elements of Turkish foreign policy and Islamic nationalism cultivated by the Turkish president and his party. The obsession with the end of the Treaty of Lausanne demonstrates the extent to which the new Turkey has been influenced by Ottoman political ideology. As for the Islamists, they have undoubtedly inherited the conspiracy theories of the once Ottoman state.
This type of nationalism is intertwined with suspicions of machinations about American and European invasions in the country, as well as with Christian and Zionist plots that target Turkey. After all, according to what they spread, it is no simple coincidence that Lausanne is the invisible center of international Zionism!
On the other hand, some marginal supporters of the secular state and opponents of the Turkish president spread that he is a crypto-Jew with a mission to use Islam to weaken Turkey until its final fall! In Erdogan’s camp, however, simpler things are imagined: that all the problems of the country are due to various international conspiracies aimed at stopping the meteoric rise of Turkey in the international arena!
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