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Russia is conducting an operation to split Turkey from the EU

May 8, 2023

An investigation by a group of European publications has found that Russia is trying to conduct an influence operation in European countries to complicate relations between Turkey and the EU and weaken support for Ukraine.

This is stated in the material of the Swedish Expressen, which participated in the project along with DR, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, NRK, SVT, Delfi, WDR/NRD, and the Dossier Center.

The documents obtained by the journalists show that Russian special services actively took up the topic after anti-Turkish protests in Sweden and Denmark amid Ankara's blocking of these countries' accession to NATO. Moscow saw this as an additional opportunity to split the allies.

The papers were obtained from an alleged Russian intelligence officer, whose identity is known to journalists but not disclosed.

The explanation to the plan states that there is a clear tension between Turkey and the EU not only at the level of official relations but also because of the growing Islamophobic sentiment in European societies. The article goes on to suggest organizing actions that would further exacerbate the situation, such as the burning of the Turkish flag and portraits of Erdogan in The Hague, and an extensive campaign of offensive graffiti against Erdogan in major European cities.

The article provides a brief description of the proposed action: Five masked people (locals and immigrants) stand on the Turkish flag and burn Erdogan's portrait; one of them films it on his phone; the location is one of the most recognizable places in The Hague; the video is sent to Turkish media and organizations, published on social media, etc.


The documents show that some of these staged actions were organized with hired protesters, and in some cases, they were used against Ukraine.

For example, one of the documents states that the March 5 demonstration in Paris was staged. Allegedly, representatives of the Ukrainian community - a few people - unfurled a small anti-Turkish banner and shouted on camera to stop Erdogan. The video was later posted on Facebook and YouTube. According to the document, the purpose of this provocation was to show the ingratitude of Ukrainians and alleged indifference to the catastrophic earthquakes in Turkey, to emphasize the destructive nature of pro-Ukrainian activists and Ukrainian society under Zelenskyy's rule in general.

Having carefully studied the materials from the rally and social media, journalists from Danmarks Radio and Le Monde found out that the alleged "representative of the Ukrainian community" at the March 5 rally in Paris had previously appeared at other rallies, but then with anti-Ukrainian slogans. For example, on February 11, he was spotted at a rally against pension reform with a poster against Ukraine, NATO, and the United States.

Journalists also noticed that three of the same people periodically appeared at rallies unrelated to Ukraine with posters of NATO, Stop bombing Donetsk, and Don't Give weapons to Ukraine and published this content on social media.

Author - Olena Madiak, 08/05/2023

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