It was less than 48 hours ago when Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, joined millions marching in Paris to pay tribute to the 17 people killed by ISIS-supporting extremists. Then, almost the moment he got back, things changed, and as the FT politely paraphrases what transpired, the “country’s president struck a much more confrontational tone.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another is that the former PM and current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of NATO-member Turkey did the unthinkable: accused the west, and French citizens in particular, of staging the Charlie Hebdo murder in order to blame Muslims, even as the mayor of Ankara said “Mossad is definitely behind such incidents . . . it is boosting enmity towards Islam.”
“The duplicity of the west is obvious,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference on Monday evening. “As Muslims we have never sided with terror or massacres: racism, hate speech, Islamophobia are behind these massacres.”
His punchline: “The culprits are clear: French citizens undertook this massacre and Muslims were blamed for it,” he added.
The FT is confused: “Although political leaders in Turkey have repeatedly condemned the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman, a parallel narrative has emerged in the country, with conspiracy theorists blaming the murders on foreign intelligence agencies rather than radical Islamists.”
It’s not just the French who were said to be behind the attack: so is Mossad:
Melih Gokcek, mayor of Ankara for the ruling AK party, said on Monday that “Mossad [the Israeli intelligence service] is definitely behind such incidents . . . it is boosting enmity towards Islam.” Mr Gokcek linked the attacks to French moves towards recognising Palestine.