Over 2 million people took to Twitter on Tuesday to call time on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tweeting “T A M A M” (enough) hours after he promised “If one day our nation says ‘enough’, then we will step aside,” in a speech in Parliament.
Following his speech “T A M A M” (OK in Turkish) reached number one in worldwide trends on Twitter.
The most divisive politician in recent Turkish history, Erdoğan has ruled for 15 years, overseeing a period of sharp economic growth and a widespread crackdown against his opponents. Last month he declared snap elections for June 24, bringing the polls forward by more than a year.
Soon after the speech, the #Tamam hashtag swept across Turkish-language Twitter, then became a global trending topic. “We want democracy so we say #enough to Erdoğan. Please leave your seat, you did insane things to our country and people. Enough,” said one user.
“You will not step aside quietly. You will give an account for the things you did. Enough!” said another.
Erdoğan’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 Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce.
Social media has become the primary platform for opposition against the government in Turkey, where traditional media is saturated with coverage of Erdoğan and his ministers. Erdoğan’s speeches, usually two or three a day, are all broadcast live on major channels, while opposition parties get little to no coverage.
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 nationalists rarely find common ground.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized Ankara for its deteriorating record on civil rights and have voiced concerns that the NATO member has been sliding further into authoritarianism under Erdoğan. The government claims the measures are necessary due to the security threats it faces.
After the vote, Turkey will switch to the powerful, executive presidential system narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
Social media has become one of the most important mediums for Turkish public opinion since the Gezi Park protests of June 2013. According to a Reuters report in June 2017, 60 percent of Turkish citizens do not trust the news media. “Mainstream media is controlled by government mostly,” said the report.
1- Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition CHP:
“Time is up. Enough!”
2- Temel Karamollaoğlu, the candidate of the Fecility Party (Saadet):
“Enough, god willing!”
3– Meral Akşener, the candidate of the İYİ (Good) Party :
4– Selahattin Demirtaş, imprisoned candidate of the Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP):
“I am a bit late as my teapot was broken. ENOUGH.”
Meanwhile, the ruling AKP’s spokesperson Mahir Ünal on Tuesday slammed the worldwide trending anti-Erdoğan hashtag of TAMAM, saying that oppositional phrase is mostly being shared from countries where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gülen movement are active.
“We know why FETÖ, the PKK and global powers are against our President,” Ünal claimed. “Most of the tweets with the hashtag TAMAM are posted from countries where FETÖ and PKK are active. They are bot accounts. We can understand Greece. But what about those at home?’’
FETÖ is a pejorative acronym that Turkey’s political Islamist government and autocratic Turkish President Erdoğan have been using to defame the civic Gülen movement.
The spokesperson also alleged that those using the hashtag did not understand the election procedure of expressing your opinion at ballot boxes. ‘’See you on the night of July 24,’’ Ünal said.
Some other prominent AKP officials have also 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,” Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“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,” and added that “Black propaganda from the virtual world has no value for us. It is virtual. We consider reality.”
“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.”