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Unraveling the AKP's 'Mastermind' conspiracy theory

Conspiracy theories promoted by the Justice and Development Party only make Turkish society more delusional and irrational.

On March 16, A Haber, a Turkish “news channel” that acts more like a propaganda outlet for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP), broadcast a sensational “documentary.” Titled “The Mastermind,” the two-hour film was billed as an expose of the great international conspiracy targeting Erdogan’s “New Turkey.” It was also a sequel to "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the early 20th century anti-Semitic hoax claiming to describe a Jewish plot for global domination.

Erdogan himself introduced the very term "mastermind," or "ust akil," to Turkish political language some five months ago, as I explained in Al-Monitor. No wonder the A Haber documentary (available here in full) begins with Erdogan telling his followers in a speech: “Don't be misled. Don't think that these operations are against my persona, our government, our party. Friends, these operations are rather directed against Turkey itself — its unity, its peace, its economy, its independence. And as I have said before, behind all these steps there is a mastermind. People ask me, ‘Who is this mastermind?’ Well, you have to figure that out. And actually, you know what it is.”

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