Turkey blames 'bots' for anti-Erdogan Twitter campaign

Istanbul (AFP) –


Turkey on Wednesday lashed out at a viral Twitter campaign against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan based on the word "enough" he used in a speech, arguing it was caused by 'bots'.

Opponents of Erdogan Tuesday seized on a vow he made to step down if the people decided it was "enough" ("tamam" in Turkish), turning the Turkish word "tamam" into the world's top trending Twitter topic.

Erdogan's rivals in the June 24 presidential elections rapidly tweeted "tamam", with his use of the word providing a rallying cry for all opponents of the Turkish strongman.

The word was also tweeted by the Lord of the Rings film actor Elijah Wood and even the American adult movie star Johnny Sins.

However, Ankara argued that rather than being genuine discontent, the trend had been artificially manipulated by Twitter bots, software which can automatically tweet or replicate tweets.

Speaking to reporters in the capital, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the use of the word -- which was tweeted some one million times -- was far from marking a natural surge against Erdogan.

"Seeking to manipulate by using social media is doomed to fail," Kalin said.

"It is the nation that will make the final decision. Manipulations carried out by bots and fake accounts will not produce a result," he added.

- 'From now on enough' -

Supporters of Erdogan, who has been in power for the last 15 years as premier and now president, sought to counter the campaign by tweeting the Turkish word for "continue" -- "devam".

The spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Mahir Unal said on Twitter that Erdogan's enemies had been behind the campaign.

He said most of the "enough" tweets had originated from countries where outlawed groups like the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the group of Fethullah Gulen blamed for the 2016 failed coup were active, including Greece.

"We will see these keyboard heroes who don't know the meaning of the ballot box on the night of June 24," he said.

But the slogan has now been adopted by mainstream politicians, including the presidential candidate of the main secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Muharrem Ince.

"From now on enough" ("Artik Tamam")" read his new campaign slogan.

Erdogan opponents sought to keep the momentum going on Twitter Wednesday with "good day enough" ("Gunaydin TAMAM") again one of the world's top trending topics.