Reuters and Foreign Policy have been called out by the countryโ€™s director of communication for spreading false reports on the country.

Turkey’s Communications Director, Fahrettin Altun, has lambasted international news outlets for spreading “fake news” and “lies” when covering the country’s central bank and reports about the Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar.

In a purportedly exclusive news report, the news wire agency Reuters claimed that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is “losing confidence in central bank governor Sahap Kavcioglu”.

Following the report, Altun was quick to quash the rumours and come out in support of the country’s central bank governor, who took over the post almost seven months ago.

Quoting only anonymous sources, Reuters suggested Turkey’s central bank could see a new governor.

The claims were rubbished by Altun, who went on to say, “Fake news used to be a problem on social media,” adding that “mainstream media, too, suffers from the same issue now.”

Altun, who made the comments on social media, finally said that it’s “deeply concerning” when “even major organizations spread such lies.”

Turkey’s communications director also took issue with a piece written in the US-based magazine Foreign Policy, which argued that the country’s Minister of Defense, Hulusi Akar, could be a more malleable alternative to Erdogan as president of the country.

Akar, formerly the Chief of Turkish General Staff and a four-star general, was appointed as the minister of defence in 2018. Since then, he has played a vital role in defending and representing Turkey’s national interests in theatres such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and Azerbaijan, amongst other fields of operation.

However, he has expressed no ambitions or desire to run for president of the country.

Akar is a widely respected figure across the country, which has been compounded by his ability to stick strictly to his remit as defence minister.

Fake news

The spread of fake news in Turkey has become endemic in the last few years.

Most recently, in the summer, as Turkey battled to contain fires that spread along its Mediterranean coastline, social media sites became an incubator for widespread misinformation as different sides battled for supremacy.

In particular, the hashtag “#HelpTurkey” garnered more than 2.5 million tweets on Twitter, which calls for outside intervention in the country in a bid to help combat the fires.

While the campaign may have had many well-meaning users, it’s likely part of an “influence operation”, said Dr Marc Owen Jones to TRT World earlier this year and was was primarily designed to make the government “look weak and incompetent.”

Influence campaigns are the dissemination of propaganda in pursuit of a competitive advantage over an opponent.

Source: TRT World





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