Television's 'Homeland' Ignites CIA Conspiracy Fever in Turkey

Image: Television's 'Homeland' Ignites CIA Conspiracy Fever in Turkey

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 03:35 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Turkey's Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he believes the corruption scandal plaguing his government is the result of an international conspiracy and the "Jewish lobby" and has indirectly threatened to banish the U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone.
Conspiracy is also on the minds of some of the country's television critics who see the final Season Three episode of Showtime TV's "Homeland" as evidence the CIA is behind the scandal now rocking the Erdogan administration, according to Turkish expert Oray Egin writing in the New Republic.
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The episode, which was shown in the United States on December 15, 2013 — and ran two days later — culminated with CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) being appointed station chief in Istanbul in order to run a double-agent at the pinnacle of the Iranian regime.

In real life, an Iranian entrepreneur has been implicated in the Turkish scandal involving oil, gold, shady real estate deals, kickbacks, and illegal trade between Ankara and Tehran.

Several Cabinet ministers have been forced to resign. Erdogan has retaliated by purging the police. Yet he remains widely popular because the economy is doing well, according to Radio Free Europe.

Erdogan's conspiracy theory has gained resonance. A trendy late-night television news program analyzed the last Homeland episode with graphics on the bottom of the screening asking: "Is Turkey the next target of the American deep state?"

The network anchor commented that it was "weird how American thrillers always get the timing right."

A popular movie critic blogged, "I'm sure that the writing team partners with CIA, gets information from them, and writes it accordingly. The Istanbul appointment of the protagonist is a sign that things will heat up in this region in real life."

Another television critic who writes for a daily newspaper also assumes there is "a flow of ideas between the show's creators and the CIA" even if there is not a "direct and organic tie" between the show and reality.

"Conspiracy theories in Turkey date back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire," writes Egin.  

Erdogan supporters are pushing the notion that the United States along with the "Jewish lobby" is behind the exposures that have called attention to corruption in his government.

According to journalist Sedat Ergin, of the secular liberal-oriented Hürriyet newspaper, the conspiratorial outlook pollutes political debate. "I have no doubt that [the government] believes in these theories."
Editor's Note: Over 50? Check Out These Free Government Giveaways...

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