Turkey's far-right pro-government media included an article on Friday asserting that US President-elect Joe Biden was brought to office by "Jewish controlled media organization and powerful Jewish lobbies" and that "Jewish capital" controls the US "deep state." This antisemitic conspiracy has been pushed by far-right Islamists from Hamas to Malaysia to Turkey, where the ruling party frequently taps into conspiracies to stay in power.
The recent article appeared at Yeni Safak in Turkey. Turkish media has largely become controlled by the government and dissidents silenced in the last ten years with the country becoming the largest jailor of journalists in the world. The recent article written by Yusuf Kaplan claims "America is a guinea pig for Jewish power, from which the Jews produced and legitimized their hegemony around the world. Jews have been using America as a guinea pig for nearly a century: there is no such people as the American people, there is no such state as the American state."
Turkey's ruling party and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan have long been close to Trump. They tried to cultivate relations prior to his winning the election and Erdogan frequently phoned Trump, convincing him to leave Syria and encouraging him to abandon US partners in Syria who were fighting ISIS. Turkey also detained a US pastor to blackmail the US, harassed and imprisoned a US consular employee, hosted Hamas terrorists and harassed a US soldier over the last several years. The US state department finally condemned Ankara's behavior last summer.
This has not stopped the latest attempt by Ankara and its media machine, including TRT, to push far-right conspiracy theories. The far-right Proud Boys group was interviewed on TRT. The group has been highlighted uncritically in Ankara's media which takes a direct cue from Erdogan. TRT, the state media of Turkey which parrots the AK Party and Turkey's president, put out a Proud Boys statement on January 7, the day after the riot in Washington, in which they threatened "peaceful revolt" if Biden didn't listen to them.
Turkey's ruling regime has slammed Biden frequently last year and also bashed his choice of Brett McGurk last week, a former anti-ISIS envoy. Turkey also tried to tap into Trump's conspiracy theories by arguing that left-wing Kurdish groups were "Antifa." Turkey has also threatened Nancy Pelosi in September statements. The protesters in Washington targeted her office.
The article at Yeni Safak would not have been printed without the editors knowing it has support from the highest levels of Turkey. The article claimed that the "great president" of the US has been removed by "Jewish lords." It then claims that "The global Jewish power in America has dealt another blow to Trump, first by allowing Trump supporters to raid Congress, then by gathering masses in front of Congress holding 'Trump is guilty' banners!" This kind of conspiracy that asserts that Jews are behind conflict and control media has been pushed in the past by leaders like Mahathir Mohammed in Malaysia and by Hamas. Turkey under Erdogan has supported Hamas and is close to far-right groups in Malaysia. The article goes on to claim that various conspiracies about "Jewish power" and also claims that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was actually done by the US. It also alleged the 9/11 terror attack was a conspiracy. "After 9/11 a new American religion was invented...Here too, Trump, who wanted to free America from the yoke of Jewish power by breaking the Jewish power that conquered America, was clearly dealt a great blow."
The article then notes that "Trump fought to free America from the occupation and yoke of Jewish power. His great concessions to the Jews were to placate them. He made such concessions that the Jews took Trump's concessions and put them in their pockets, but they did not hesitate to have a gun on Trump's head!"
This kind of rhetoric has become more normal in a Turkey that is increasingly authoritarian and has been under the control of Erdogan's party for almost two decades. Erdogan has been one of the world's greatest foes of Israel, often comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. In recent weeks Turkey claimed it wanted "reconciliation" with Israel. However the growing antisemitism that has similar rhetoric to Nazi-era conspiracies, given a space at major publications in Turkey, is evidence that any reconciliation with Israel is largely an illusion.
Seth Frantzman is a Ginsburg-Milstein Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and senior Middle East correspondent at The Jerusalem Post.