Mayor Suggests Plot to Harm Turkey Through Artificial Quakes

February 7, 2017 Updated: February 7, 2017
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ANKARA, Turkey—The mayor of Ankara has suggested that two earthquakes that demolished homes on Turkey’s northern Aegean coast may have been triggered artificially as part of a plot to harm Turkey’s economy.

Melih Gokcek, who frequently courts controversy, said in a series of tweets on Tuesday that authorities should keep a close eye on all submarines and heavily equipped ships sailing off Turkey’s northwestern coast, where two magnitude-5.3 quakes damaged homes in 11 villages and injured five people on Monday.

Gokcek tweeted: “The blow they want to inflict on Turkey is to cause economic collapse through an earthquake near Istanbul. Some may ridicule this, but I take it seriously.”

The mayor had previously raised eyebrows by suggesting that a U.S.-based cleric, blamed for Turkey’s failed coup, uses genies to control his followers.