Turkey is one of the lowest ranked countries for media freedoms in the world, Turkish citizens are the second most susceptible people surveyed on the European continent and its surrounds to fake news, has the most journalists jailed in the whole world, and 90% of media is government controlled.
Even among the heavily controlled media and fake news landscape of Turkey, Akit TV, one of the most favoured media networks of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, stands out as the most outrageous and provocative.
As it is entirely in the Turkish language, unlike TRT World which is aimed for a non-Turkish audience, Akit TV is entirely for domestic consumption and therefore its lies are more difficult to expose.
On Friday, Akit TV hosted a debate that raised the question on whether Hagia Sophia should be turned into a brothel on the basis of fake news that Greece turned a mosque into a brothel.
Former Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party of Turkey, Cem Toker, said "I suppose the ball is now in Erdoğan's court from what I gather in this debate. It only takes a signature [for Erdoğan to convert Hagia Sofia into a mosque]. Put pressure [on him]. He got elected by 52% with national will and so on."
Ali İhsan Karahasanoğlu, the managing editor of Islamist newspaper Yeni Akit and who had said earlier this year that older men can have sex with minors and those who oppose it are enemies of Islam, as reported by Greek City Times, supported Toker, saying "Let's all press on this matter together."
Toker gleefully said "Okay. Let's do it. I will too press for this."
Karahasanoğlu added that "With the Liberal Party, let's explain this in Europe with the image of Turkey and everything. Listen to what Yusuf [Halaçoğlu] has just said. They [Greeks] use a mosque as a brothel in Greece."
Toker in response said "This is for Greece. We [Turks] are heirs to the Ottomans who were tolerant. We are not the same as Greece," prompting Karahasanoğlu to say "I'm not saying we should do the same."
However, Halaçoğlu, a so-called historian and former MP of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party who claims that only a maximum of 10,000 Armenians died during the "relocations," had differing views to Karahasanoğlu.
"Look, this is not how it is. There is a principle of reciprocity between states," he said.
Toker added to the debate by saying "well, in that case, what you said we should do to the church is part of reciprocity. Make a deal between yourselves [on turning Hagia Sophia into a brothel]."
Halaçoğlu said "you keep silent when all your mosques there [Greece] are burned, destroyed, converted into brothels," without providing any evidence.
A sickening debate in pro-#Erdogan national TV network on whether #Turkey should turn Hagia Sophia into a brothel in order to reciprocate #Greece. pic.twitter.com/YIZWabiAwf
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) June 16, 2020