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HomeHeadlineIstanbul Graphic Designer Unknowingly Sparks U.S. Political Firestorm with 'Reich' Video

Istanbul Graphic Designer Unknowingly Sparks U.S. Political Firestorm with ‘Reich’ Video

In a startling twist to American politics, a seemingly innocuous act by Enes Şimşek, a graphic designer based in Istanbul, has stirred significant controversy in the U.S. Şimşek, who designed templates from old newspaper clippings for videos and sold them online, found himself at the center of a political uproar when one of his creations was used in a campaign video by former President Donald Trump. The clip, which speculated on the future of America under a second Trump presidency, included a reference to “Reich” that went unchanged—a term deeply associated with Nazi Germany.

The 30-second video, which aired on Trump’s Truth Social account, began with a voiceover asking, “What if Donald Trump wins?” followed by a headline that read, “What awaits America?” The ensuing clip included a fabricated headline saying, “Industrial power and production significantly increased with the creation of the unified Reich.”

Given its historical connotation to Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, the video immediately ignited a storm of criticism. Although “Reich” can refer to the German Empire as it was known from 1871, its association with Nazism overshadowed any benign historical references.

The fallout was swift. President Joe Biden seized the opportunity to criticize Trump, accusing him of using “Hitler’s language,” in remarks during fundraising events in Boston on Tuesday. In response to the growing backlash, the Trump campaign pulled the video.

Şimşek, speaking to CNN International, expressed his astonishment. “They just used the template unchanged. I never thought my work would resonate this much in American politics,” he said. The designer also noted that the text was meant as a placeholder, allowing customers to customize it, but it was used as-is by the Trump campaign. The content, he revealed, was derived from a Wikipedia entry about World War I.

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“I didn’t know I had the power to change politics,” Şimşek told reporters, still reeling from the international impact of his design. He sells the template for $21 each and described the entire situation as surreal: “Imagine, your work shakes a country.”

The episode serves as a reminder of the potent intersection between media, politics, and history, where a graphic designer’s simple act of selling video templates can unexpectedly become a flashpoint in geopolitical discourse.

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