A ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) vice chair became the subject of ridicule on social media for arguing that an animation they produced to target Turkey’s main opposition party had “served its purpose,” although the video was deleted after having the opposite effect.
The video posted on Twitter earlier this week portrayed the country’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as the “Lie Manufacturing Center,” while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was heard ordering that lies be told about the AKP government.
In the video Kılıçdaroğlu drinks a “parroting potion” that makes him repeat over and over the question “Where’s the $128 billion?” in reference to $128 billion in forex reserves that were sold from the Turkish Central Bank’s (TCMB) reserves in 2019-2020, with no answer provided to it.
Although the video is aimed at portraying CHP as a party that makes groundless accusations against the AKP government, the video had the opposite effect and made the question about the sale of the foreign reserves once again a trending topic on Twitter in Turkey and was deleted shortly afterward.
AKP Deputy Chairman Hamza Dağ on Friday said in a tweet regarding the deleted video that it was produced to call attention to the enormous number of lies repeated by opposition politicians in Turkey and that it had “served its purpose.”
“Yes, it served its purpose, alright. It served its purpose so much so that we didn’t know what to do and deleted it,” a Twitter user said sarcastically.
“If it had served its purpose, why did you delete it? Why would anybody delete a post that had served its purpose?” another one asked.
A social media user named Mazhar Aksoy, who claimed he was an AKP member, tweeted: “What you did was wrong. … I was ashamed of you [deleting the video], which I consider a step backward against them [CHP].”
Meanwhile journalist Hadi Özışık on Friday shared claims regarding the removal of the video, saying that AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan didn’t like it and took Dağ — responsible for media and advertising — to task.
“But also, [there’s a chance that] the two parties may have agreed on deleting it,” Özışık also said during a program on Habertürk TV.
In late February, Erdoğan claimed that a significant part of the forex reserves, which dropped sharply under the watch of his son-in-law and then-finance minister Berat Albayrak, were used to enable the country to overcome the pandemic with minimal damage.
“They’re hung up on where the money is. The money is in the people’s Treasury and the central bank. Nothing was lost,” the president also said on March 10, in reference to the opposition politicians.
However, Erdoğan’s remarks didn’t reflect the truth, media reports said at the time, since the TCMB’s net forex reserves were at their lowest level since 2003 of $10.68 billion as of April 2, according to bank data, and its outstanding swaps stood at $41.116 billion, which meant the reserves were in deeply negative territory once the swaps were deducted.