TURKEY

Inside Turkey’s “Robot Lobby” and Other So-Called Enemies of the State

TURKEY
Feb 26, 2014 at 9:18 AM ET

Turkey’s always been a conspiratorial country, a place where rumors fly that Israel has turned birds into menacing secret agents.

These days, however, the conspiracy theories have really gone off the rails. Ever since a corruption probe ensnared his allies, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been steadily pointing a finger at various “lobbies” purportedly trying to take down the government.

The prime minister has been under increased fire since Monday, when several tapes leaked that allegedly reveal him asking his son to get rid of tons of cash. Today Erdogan said the recordings are fake, and in a rousing speech to Parliament, proceeded to accuse various “lobbies” of conspiring against him.

The following is a list of groups that the prime minister thinks are part of an evil plot to boot him out of office:

The Robot Lobby: I don’t think Erdogan was talking about R2-D2, but apparently there’s a robot lobby trying to take down the Turkish state (hence the tapes that surfaced on the Internet). The prime minister also said this robot lobby was going to attack him with lots of tweets on social media. (For Erdogan’s sake, let’s hope this guy isn’t in on it.)

The Interest Rate Lobby: Erdogan first mentioned this “lobby” after the Gezi protests last June. Apparently, what he meant is that the banks, speculators and foreign investors that profit from high interest rates conspired to organize the demonstrations, which were about tearing down a popular Istanbul park.

The Porn Lobby: Erdogan did not actually mention this lobby. But before President Abdullah Gul signed a law curbing Internet use, one of the government’s newspapers used this label to describe opponents of the bill. Come to think of it, this one kind of makes sense.

The Blood Lobby: Also known as the terror lobby. Erdogan used this term in October 2013 when he was talking about the ongoing negotiations with Kurdish militants. He said that the blood lobby misses the days when terror attacks were a part of daily life. The blood lobby, I believe, was also the name of an episode of The Wonder Years.

The Chaos Lobby: The prime minister mentioned this lobby right after the corruption probe began. He said a group was attacking the government with false accusations of corruption. But never fear: Erdogan claims that chaos will never prevail.

The Preacher Lobby: Technically this lobby is the same as the chaos lobby. But in using the term, Erdogan is making a more direct attack on his main rival, a mysterious U.S.-based mustachioed preacher named Fethullah Gulen. Gulen used to be a close ally of Erdogan, but a rift has occurred that’s sent the country into turmoil and made the prime minister even more paranoid. It’s not a good look.