(Al Monitor) An article written by Tolgay Demir, a “youth leader” in an Istanbul branch of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), went viral Sept 1. Titled “The Flat Earth Theory,” the article was published on the organization’s website. In it, Demir, the deputy president of the local party organization, seriously argued that the Earth, in fact, is flat. He asserted that the “freemasons” fooled the modern world to believe that the Earth is round. The photos of the planet taken from space by NASA are “staged,” the argument went on, whereas the voyage to the moon by the Americans was nothing but a “conspiracy” to support the “round Earth myth.”

But why was there such a grand conspiracy to fool humanity about the shape of its planet? Demir gave the following answer:

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