Erdoğan launches 'operation of truth' against 'fake news'

Turkey's ruling AKP will launch an "operation of truth" to combat "fake news" that President Erdoğan said was being spread by the main opposition, the daily Hürriyet reported on June 30. The AKP's local offices will reportedly conduct fieldwork to meet with members over the summer and "convey truths."

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the launch of an "operation of truth" where his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will combat fake news by talking to their members on the field, the daily Hürriyet reported on June 30. 

Speaking at an almost five-hour meeting of the AKP Central Executive Board (MYK), the president said that main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had made untrue statements about legislation that was recently passed. 

The president referred to reports that Ankara had passed legislation allowing students from Qatar to study medicine in Turkey without any exam requirements, which the Defense Ministry later clarified was only applicable to military students.

"That's fake news. The news outlet apologized, but the CHP still remained silent. We must be careful against fake news operations," the president reportedly said. 

The AKP Promotion and Media Directorate will organize fieldwork to inform their members of "truths" throughout the summer, the president said, adding that local offices of the AKP will partake in the "truth operations."

"We will launch an operation of truth against the fake news operation," the president said. "It's our Promotion Directorate's duty to relay the truth. We will tell the truths on the field during the summer."

The president reportedly asked Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül to revise a fourth Judiciary Package that's expected to go into effect before the end of the parliamentary session, notably to extend legislation implemented during the state of emergency that followed the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

The legislation in question allowed for thousands of public servants to be dismissed from their posts on grounds of their alleged membership of the criminal organization of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.

The upcoming judicial package is reportedly expected to extend the legislation for another three years after it expires on July 31.

'We must keep promise on animal rights law'

The president also reportedly encouraged parliament to pass the long-awaited animal rights law before the end of the term on July 15; parliament is expected to re-schedule the summer break to accommodate the president's wishes. 

"We must keep our promise. Let's bring in [the animal rights law] before parliament is out of session," Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also said that Turkey is expected to receive more tourists from Germany and not just Russia, from which travelers have flocked to Turkish vacation destinations and raised concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.