Turkey officials dismiss ‘keyboard heroes’ behind #Tamam hashtag

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Government officials in Turkey dismissed opposition Twitter users as “keyboard heroes” after an online campaign against Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the president to resign.

The #Tamam (Enough) hashtag saw more than 1.8 million tweets, ending up becoming a worldwide trending topic, after the president promised to step down if the nation said “enough”.

“If one day our nation says ‘enough’, then we will step aside,” he said in a speech in parliament on Tuesday.

Erdogan, who has been in power for more than 15 years, as prime minister and president, has led Turkey’s economic transition to an emerging market, while the opposition and Turkey’s Western allies have criticised his government for cracking down on dissidents. 

Although the economy is growing, dollar and euro exchange rates against the Turkish lira have skyrocketed in recent months.

Last month, Erdogan declared snap elections for June 24, bringing the polls forward by more than a year.

On Tuesday, the #Tamam hashtag quickly swept the internet, as Turkish opposition politicians, media figures and Hollywood stars joined the campaign.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, tweeted the hashtag, calling Erdogan to lift the ban on his website in Turkey. Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since April 2017.

‘Online bots’

The government, however, dismissed the social media wave, saying the posts were sent by online bots associated with Kurdish PKK fighters and Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim religious leader blamed by Ankara for a 2016 coup attempt.

“Most are being sent from countries where the FETO and PKK are active. Most are bot accounts. We can also understand Greece, but what about those inside (Turkey),” said Mahir Unal, spokesman for Erdogan‘s ruling AK Party.

FETO is an acronym for Gulen’s network of supporters and the PKK are the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party that has been waging a war against the Turkish government for autonomy.

“The keyboard heroes who don’t know what the ballot boxes mean, we will see each other on the night of June 24,” Unal wrote on Twitter.

Erdogan supporters later came up with the hashtag #Devam (Go on!).

Rivals tweet

Erdogan‘s rivals in the presidential polls also jumped in, with the #Tamam tweets from three of his main opponents together garnering more than 10,000 retweets.

“Time is up. Enough!” tweeted Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition CHP.

Meral Aksener, the nationalist presidential candidate, tweeted the word too.

The #Tamam tweets also provided a rare moment of opposition unity with all major parties, including the pro-Kurdish opposition uniting behind the hashtag. Pro-Kurdish politicians and Turkish nationalists rarely find common ground.

“Enough: It’s very strange that Erdogan has offered the opposition a uniting slogan,” tweeted journalist Rusen Cakir.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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