The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has criticized an opposition Twitter campaign telling the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “enough” (“tamam” in Turkish) ahead of the June 24 election, saying it is sponsored by foreign powers.
“Most of those T A M A M tweets have been posted from the countries where [the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization] FETÖ or the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party] PKK are effective. Most of them are social bots,” AKP spokesman Mahir Ünal wrote via his official Twitter account on May 8.
The campaign was launched on Twitter after Erdoğan said he would “step aside if the voters tell him ‘enough’ through their votes in the upcoming snap presidential election.
After his remarks over two million “T A M A M” tweets were posted on Twitter, becoming a worldwide trend within 12 hours. Erdoğan’s rivals, Muharrem İnce from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Meral Akşener from the İYİ (Good) Party and Temel Karamollaoğlu of the Felicity Party (SP) also shared the tweet. The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) jailed presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, also used the expression on his Twitter account via his lawyers.
Prominent AKP officials subsequently condemned the campaign as a foreign-backed plot.
“The attacks via social media bots will not come up with any results. We consider reality, not the virtual world. We believe our nation will say ‘continue’ instead. It is not important for us. Citizens will have the last word in the polls,” Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said in a press conference on May 9.
“Social media is a powerful tool for communication. It is not possible to stay neutral to it. But it is futile to engage in some manipulative efforts through social media. We have been through this before in the Gezi Park protests, for example. It will be the nation who will go to the polls to decide in the end,” Kalın added.
Arguing that the posts aim to “topple Erdoğan from power,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said “power comes from the polls, not from Twitter.”
“Black propaganda from the virtual world has no value for us. It is virtual. We consider reality,” Bozdağ said.
“They are seeing dreams. June 24 will be a day for them when their dream will turn into a nightmare,” Bozdağ said, referring to presidential and parliamentary elections to be held on June 24.
He also echoed Ünal’s claims that the campaign was directed by foreign powers and “groups linked to terror organizations.”