A Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) investigation has determined that a UK think-tank claiming to be independent is in fact linked to the Turkish AKP Party of Turkish President Erdoğan. In January, GIOR reported about the founding of the Centre for Turkish-British Understanding (CTBU), a think tank based in London and headed by Abdurrahim Boynukalin, the AKP’s London Office Representative. The CBTU openly notes that Boynukalin is the chairman of both the CBTU and the UK branch of the AKP. However, it also claims on its homepage that:
We are an independent, non-governmental initiative that works to celebrate the rich history and connection between the UK and Turkey.
However, the CBTU web and social media presence suggest otherwise. The AKP’s UK branch website, akparty.uk, and the CBTU’s website, cbtu.org.uk, have the same hosting provider (Host Europe Ripehandle) and their WHOIS records indicate the domains were created on the same date (November 10, 2020). Their respective WHOIS records also indicate further identical creation and modification dates and times. Moreover, their Facebook pages have also posted the same content simultaneously:
The Turkish Justice and Development Party (Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi; AKP) is the current ruling party in Turkey led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The party was founded in 2001 by a number of politicians from Islamist political parties who were banned for violating Turkey’s secular order, proclaiming themselves as practicing “conservative democracy” and rejecting the Islamist label. The party narrowly survived an attempt to close it via the courts for violating Turkey’s secularism laws for its lifting of a ban on headscarves at universities. Following this, the AKP passed constitutional amendments weakening the independence of the military and judiciary, both of which had threatened the AKP in defense of secularism. The AKP has close ties with the Global Muslim Brotherhood and operates abroad with representative offices in Europe, notably in Belgium, and has announced intent to open them in other western countries.