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EXCLUSIVE: UK Think Tank and Turkish Ruling Party Web Presence Suggest Same Management

August 3rd, 2021 13:09

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.