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Newsline: Claims that Western ambassadors ‘evacuated’ from Turkey before quake seen as conspiracy theories

Western embassies in Turkey have rubbished claims that they removed their ambassadors from the country shortly before a devastating earthquake on February 6, an accusation shared in social media posts spewing baseless conspiracy theories that the disaster was planned. Media reports and social media activities placed the ambassadors in the country around the time of the quake. “Planned demolition anybody,” reads a Facebook post shared on February 16. The post shows a tweet by US conspiracy theorist David Wolfe that says Canada, the United States, Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Holland and France “pulled their ambassadors out of Turkey 24 hours before the earthquake”. (https://news.yahoo.com/baseless-claim-turkey-ambassadors-evacuated-092000040.html) Similar posts circulated around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain, racking up thousands of shares. Some Facebook users appeared to link the claim to conspiracy theories that the 7.8-magnitude tremor that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria was man-made. Turkey is one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. A combination of factors made February’s tremor particularly deadly, including its timing, location and the weak construction of the collapsed buildings, according to experts.

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