Erdogan’s Propaganda Accounts Removed by Twitter After Publishing 37 Million Tweets – Al Marsad

Twitter announced it removed accounts in Turkey that formed a coordinated campaign to support Turkish President Recep Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) in Turkey in what is popularly known as “trolling”.

(Libya, 15 June 2020) – The company said on its official blog that a network of 7,340 accounts published tweets and propaganda materials in favor of the Turkish President Erdogan and his AK Party. Researchers at the Stanford Internet Observatory said that these fake Turkish accounts network published almost 37 million tweets.

Twitter removes thousands of fake accounts in Turkey

The company said, “Technical signals point to the network being associated with the youth wing of the party (AK ruling party),” pointing out that the network included “several compromised accounts associated with organizations critical of President Erdogan and the Turkish Government. These compromised accounts have been repeated targets of account hacking and takeover efforts by state actors identified above.”

Fahrettin Altun, Head of the Communication Department in the Turkish Presidency, said that allegations these were “fake” profiles designed to support the president and were managed by a central authority were untrue.

“(This) has demonstrated yet again that Twitter is no mere social media company, but a propaganda machine with certain political and ideological inclinations that marginalizes users who do not comply with his approach,” said Altun. However, the Turkish journalist close to the AK party, Ismail Yasha, had boasted in May 2017 citing the Turkish Star newspaper as saying that his country has established an electronic army of 13,000 hackers.

In a related context, Tunisians were surprised simultaneously that dozens of accounts loyal to Ennahdha Movement that were directed at Tunisia and Libya were also deleted, but Twitter did not announce that Tunisia was within the scope of the removed accounts, which means that they were among the accounts deleted in Turkey. In other words, they are operated from Turkey.

These bot fake accounts have published tweets and propaganda materials in several languages, including Arabic, English, and Turkish. With regards to Libya, they focused on polishing the image of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and figures like Khaled al-Mishri. They also promoted the narrative that the Turkish military intervention in Libya was at the request of the “legitimate government” , and they also pushed hostile narratives against Arab countries on the Libyan issue, particularly against Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jordan.

© Al Marsad English (2020)