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Russian propaganda in Turkey


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Russian propaganda in Turkey

The moscow regime has been ceaselessly trying to implant its narratives not only in Western European but also in Southeastern European and Asian countries. The Republic of Turkey is one such country where russia conducted information campaigns and manipulations long before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In this article, you will discover the main narratives russia promotes among the Turkish population and find out how many people there support the actions of the russian federation in Ukraine.

You will also learn about russian disinformation attacks of which Turkey itself became the target.

The Kremlin has been successfully promoting its propaganda narratives in Turkey. Such propaganda specifically targets Turks, who dislike the West, and citizens who share strong anti-American sentiments.

The effectiveness of russian propaganda is evident from the results of a recent opinion poll of the Turkish population.

52% of responders support the Turkish government’s neutrality policy concerning the war between Ukraine and russia. The poll was conducted by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University in September 2022. It focused on public perceptions of foreign policy in Turkey.

The results demonstrate that most respondents hold Ukraine and russia both equally to blame for the war. The share of Turks with such an opinion is 46.4%.

The poll also shows what most Turks believe to be russia’s casus belli in this war, namely:

–       Ukraine’s intention to become a NATO member (27.7% believe this was the reason for russia’s invasion)

–       The threat NATO poses to russia (19.5% of Turks tend to choose this option)

–       The activities of the so-called Nazis in Ukraine (10.5% favor such a theory)

–       Discrimination experienced by russian minorities (2.5% of Turks believe this)

Despite this, 32.7% of the responders consider russia’s belligerent policy and a fierce desire to control Ukraine to be what drove the russian federation to launch an invasion of Ukrainian territories.

Another of its favorite narratives that russia promotes in Turkey states that the West allegedly forced Ukraine to provoke the war. Thereby russia was ostensibly left with no choice but to do something just to prevent a NATO attack on its territory.

Russian propaganda successfully used its media channels to penetrate the Turkish information. For example, it uses channels like Sputnik, Russia Today, and TASS.

To give greater effect to its operations, russia also employs bot farms and trolls. Those tools help it advance its propaganda narratives in social media.

Disinformation operations against Turkey itself proved no different. For example, such russian operations against the Turkish Republic took on a new temperament after the latter shot down a russian fighter jet in 2015. It happened after russian violation of Turkish airspace.

After the incident, russia abruptly began propelling fake news about Turkey through its media channels. For example, they claimed that “Turkey supports ISIS”, that “Turkey will soon be kicked out of NATO”, etc. 

Moreover, they tried to scare Europeans away from visiting Turkey, citing alleged danger. Such information was documented by UA: Ukraine Analytica, a Ukrainian journal, in 2018.


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