TEL AVIV – Turkish newspapers with strong links to the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have published dozens of conspiracy articles claiming the U.S. government and foreign intelligence agencies with masterminding Islamic State attacks in the West – including the Orlando shooting – in order to stop the rise of Islam and ensure Jews remain in power.
In the days following the attack on the gay nightclub “Pulse” in Orlando, dailies belonging to Turkey’s ruling AKP party were awash with such conspiracy theories and homophobia. Islamist youth organizations also threatened Turkey’s LGBT community, which was slated to hold a gay pride parade in Istanbul last Sunday, saying they would “stop this perversion … by all means necessary.”
Islamist daily Yeni Akit, which supports Erdogan and is known for its incitement against the West, Jews, and Christians, ran a globally-censured headline reading: “Death toll rises to 50 in bar where perverted homosexuals go!”
The newspaper, which has also expressed support for Al-Qaeda, described gay people as “perverts” and “deviants,” and homosexuality as an “assault on human nature” and “a dangerous disease that degenerates, rots, and endangers societies,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
A series of reports from other pro-government papers suggest that the Orlando massacre was part of a plot hatched by the U.S. to stop the spread of Islam. Islamist daily Takvim published an article claiming that the U.S. timed the operation “to break the growing wave of Islam after Muhammad Ali’s death.” The columnist, Ergun Diler, claims that the shooter Omar Mateen, like the Tsarnaev brothers responsible for the Boston marathon bombing in 2013, was sent by the government to commit the atrocities.
“Boston, Paris, Belgium, San Bernardino were all False Flag operations, just like Orlando. Without a shred of doubt, this was the job of intelligence agencies,” Diler writes. “This is how America is. They set the game, then make all others believe.”
“It’s important, however, to look at the event from a different angle. [Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen] was taken, interrogated, and set free. He was someone the government knew and followed, and he was probably assigned the job,” he adds.
“Fifty lives are nothing for a state. They can sacrifice them, and they did. What is important for them is to prevent Islam and Muslims from becoming an important axis,” he writes.
Diler asserts that no witnesses recounted seeing Mateen actually holding a gun. Further, the dead and the wounded had bullet wounds from eight different guns. Diler notes wryly that the Orlando shooter, just like the alleged perpetrators of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, and Boston, was a Superman.
Columnist Ismail Kilicarslan of another Erdogan-supported pro-AKP daily, Yeni Safak, agreed with Diler’s description of Islamic terrorists:
“The man got an automatic rifle and a pistol and within minutes he succeeded in killing 50 people and wounded that many more. Had we seen this in a Hollywood film wouldn’t we say ‘this is too much to be believable?’ But here it was, in real life,” Kilicarslan wrote a day after the attack.
Diler’s article, which was published two weeks before the triple bombing in Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, concludes that the CIA-MI6-Mossad partnership responsible for so many false flag “Islamic” attacks will make Turkey their next victim.
“Orlando was an indirect message to us [Turks]. They do not want a strong Ankara in the Middle East. There are many signs that point to this,” Diler writes.
In another column the following day, Diler speculates that another reason for the attack was to ensure that American Jews, who he refers to as “the owners of the money,” maintain their hold on the country.
“These False Flag operations are organized, one after another, so that two percent of Americans [i.e., Jews] do not lose their influence,” he writes.
He adds that the western powers masterminding the attacks purposely choose a Sunni terrorist in order to fuel sectarian violence among Muslims. “It seems that the war between Muslims and Israel will soon be replaced by a Sunni-Shi’ite war,” he says.
At an attempt to unpack the evidence given for the Orlando massacre, Diler claims that all the victims – dead and wounded – were fake.
“Has anyone seen a picture of any one of the 50 that Mateen killed? Has anyone seen any footage of the attack?” he asks. “Strangely, there are none.”
“According to some intelligent Americans, only 11 died. And it was later understood that three of those had in fact died on earlier dates.”
Photos, tributes, and articles about the people murdered that night disprove Diler’s conspiracy theory.
“This is their PLOT. If we understand it, we will end up still standing. I trust my government and my people. We need not fear, as long as we understand their plots,” he concludes.
MEMRI reports that while secular, modern, anti-Islamist Turks expressed sorrow and solidarity with the Orlando victims, Islamist anti-gay sentiment peaked, with rampant hate speech on pro-AKP TV channels and newspapers. Islamist groups threatened the organizers of gay pride parades planned for June 19 and 26, warning “we will not be held responsible for the consequences” if the parades went ahead.
As a result, the city’s Office of the Governor banned the parades. Nevertheless, a handful of members of the LGBT community gathered in the area of Taksim Square on Sunday. Police arrested LGBT members and European MPs who were there showing support, and dispersed the rest using rubber bullets and tear gas.