Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said the Western media have been negatively portraying him as they did in the past with Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, Cumhuriyet reported.
Recalling that American newspapers in 1922 described Atatürk as a “new leader [who] plans to establish a new religious empire,” “the most scary Turk” and a “symbol of terror,” Erdoğan during a meeting in Ankara said: “Today is no different. When this nation tries to stand up for itself, it is accused of being terrorist and scary. The US and European media have been trying to create a negative perception about us. Today, similar accusations are made about me and Turkey. We are on the right path as a nation.”
Erdoğan’s anti-Western statements have been escalating since corruption operations in December 2013 that implicated the inner circle of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan.
After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow his government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation against the prime suspect, Iranian Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, was dropped.
Zarrab, who was arrested in the US in March 2016, last week said in court that he resumed violating sanctions upon the order of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and his son-in-law and current Energy Minister Berat Albayrak after he was released from a Turkish prison on Feb. 28, 2014.
Zarrab and eight other people, including Turkey’s former economy minister and three Halkbank executives, have been charged in the US with engaging in transactions worth hundreds of millions of dollars for Iran’s government and Iranian entities from 2010 to 2015 in a scheme to evade US sanctions.
While Zarrab revealed his tactics and accomplices within the Turkish government in violating US sanctions on Iran in New York federal court, President Erdoğan said on Tuesday that the case was an international coup attempt against Turkey.