I wrote in The Hidden Hand, my 1996 book surveying conspiracy theories in the Middle East, that “Turkey and Israel stand out as the only two Middle Eastern countries where leaders are fully accountable to electorates, where the West is viewed more as an ally than as an enemy, and where conspiracy theories have a relatively minor role in public life. . . . Few mainstream politician, intellectual, or religious leaders in Turkey engage in conspiratorial thinking, which exists mostly at the fringes of polite society.”
How sadly have things changed in the intervening years. Here’s one example of many, not more egregious but more spectacular than most:
The background: On January 30, Israeli warplanes struck targets in Syria. A week later, the exact details remain murky, but it concerned the transfer of advanced armaments by the Syrian regime to the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon. One might expect the Turkish authorities to applaud this step, both because it did damage to the regime Ankara wants to overthrow and because those advanced armaments could potentially be used against Turkish interests. But no, both the government and the Communist opposition spun elaborate and unconvincing conspiracy theories about the Israel raid.
In brief, the government has Assad cooperating with Israel and the Communists have Erdoğan cooperating with Israel.
Comments: (1) This sort of reasoning can quickly leave one with a sore head. (2) With inane conspiracy theories flying back and forth, the population gets confused, public life is degraded, and the portents for Turkey look dim.