While much of the attention in the wake of the crackdown on the Gezi Park protests in Turkey has focused on its impact on domestic politics, experts are warning that recent events could have a deleterious effect on the country’s foreign policy.
From the start of the protests over the government’s plan to demolish a park in the heart of Istanbul – and in particular after the June 15 violent eviction of protestors occupying it – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and officials from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have talked about supposed conspiracies involving foreigners, especially Westerners. In several speeches, Erdoğan blamed the foreign media – singling out CCN, BBC and Reuters – for being part of an effort to tarnish Turkey’s image. He also referred to “global financial interests,” which he claimed were hoping to benefit from the country’s instability.
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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance reporter focusing on Turkey. He is the author of Eurasianet's Turko-file and Kebabistan blogs.