Europe

Turkish media asks: 'Where's the Isle of Man?'

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaks at a party meeting Image copyright EPA
Image caption Kemal Kilicardaroglu of Turkey's Republican People's Party claimed relatives of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sent money to the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has become the focus of attention in Turkey after a leading Turkish opposition politician claimed the president's family hid money offshore.

However, it's got many people in Turkey asking:"Where is the Isle of Man?"

On Monday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), reportedly claimed relatives of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent millions of dollars to an offshore company based on the Isle of Man.

Coverage of the story has led many newspapers in Turkey to profile the island in the Irish Sea. The CNN Turk website and Haber Turk newspaper's website featured maps of the island with detailed information about its population, politics, economy, and native Manx cats.

Image caption The Manx flag attracted curious questions from Twitter users in Turkey

"Isle of Man" - "Man Adasi" in Turkish - also became a trending topic in Twitter, with more than 100,000 tweets since Tuesday morning.

The Isle of Man flag attracted more questions from Turkish Twitter users, rather than asking where the island is. One user said, "So is this the flag of Isle of Man? What kind of a flag is this?" with a smiley face posted with the tweet.

Another asked: "I am curious about something, did they actually pay someone to design this flag?"

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The tax practices of the Isle of Man have been scrutinised, particularly over the leasing of Lewis Hamilton's private jet

Yenicag newspaper ran a story about "three incidents that made the Isle of Man famous", recounting recent offshore scandals involving the country.

Several news websites ran a story about Turkish soldiers buried in the island. The men are believed to have died during World War I and are buried together in a church yard.

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"I think the vital question is this: why would a citizen of Turkey create a company on the Isle of Man, population 83,000, instead of in Germany, France or the UK? What sort of a commercial opportunity did they see there?" asked a user in a tweet which generated almost 4,000 likes.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said "not a single penny has gone abroad"

In a speech, Mr Erdogan said "not a single penny has gone abroad," and the allegations were a "lie". He said he would take Kilicdaroglu to court.

He also called on him to make "all the documents public, and hand them to the prosecutors."

The Isle of Man made the headlines in the last few weeks after the Paradise Papers leaked documents claimed the island was used for tax avoidance by politicians, multinationals, celebrities and high-net-worth celebrities.

Written by Paul Harrison, UGC and Social News, additional reporting by BBC Monitoring

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