Facing bouts of civil unrest, corruption probes and growing financial and economic pressure, the Turkish government is increasingly looking to blame its ills on foreign conspiracies.
Ever since the 2013 anti-government protests that posed the first serious challenge to the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s decade-long rule, these theories have come thick and fast. Foreign media, a so-called “interest-rate lobby” and the “Jewish Diaspora” are among those officials name as having dark designs on Turkey.
The February 7 deportation of Azerbaijani reporter Mahir Zeynalov appears to fit into this pattern. Zeynalov works for the Istanbul-based Today’s Zaman, an English-language publication seen as sympathetic toward Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s friend-turned-foe Fethullah Gülen, a highly influential Islamic cleric whom Erdoğan has accused of running a “parallel state” in Turkey.
Zeynallov, now living in Azerbaijan, drew the wrath of the government after posting tweets about ongoing probes into alleged official corruption.
But foreign media, too, are in the prime minister’s sights.
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