Giant Hologram of Turkish Prime Minister Delivers Speech

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan couldn't attend a political party meeting in the city of Izmir on Sunday, so he decided to send the next best thing: a giant hologram of himself.

In a scene straight out of Star Wars, Erdogan's shimmering avatar, whose real-life counterpart is under siege amid an ever-expanding corruption scandal and the resignations of multiple high-level officials, spoke to an astonished crowd of Justice and Development Party supporters on the need for resilience before municipal elections on March 30.

"We are going to elections in the shadow of attacks prepared by treasonous networks," said the towering, photon-based figure, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. "I urge all my mayoral candidates to not waste any of their time."

You can watch his bizarre appearance below (Erdogan's hologram appears at 0:45):

Erdogan isn't the first politician to use holograms. India's Narendra Modi, a rising star in Indian politics, broadcast 26 holograms of himself to a crowd of supporters during his re-election campaign in 2012. Holograms have yet to make their way to the American campaign trail. I repeat—yet.

Perhaps the most famous use of holographic technology came in 2012, when a photonic simulacrum of the deceased rapper Tupac performed alongside Snoop Dogg at Coachella. CNN briefly flirted with using holograms to conduct in-studio interviews during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but abandoned the project after widespread public ridicule. At least among his political supporters, Erdogan appears to have been spared that fate.

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Matt Ford is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees social media.

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