TURKEY: Erdoğan faces trial by Twitter

Reccep Tayyip Erdoğan

The Turkish president, Reccep Tayyip Erdoğan, has vowed to step down if his people decide they have had “enough”, prompting opponents to propel the word in Turkish, tamam, to the top of worldwide Twitter trends.

Erdoğan will contest a presidential election on 24 June, seeking to extend his 15 years in power which began when he became the prime minister in 2003 and continued with his move to the presidency in 2014.

Erdoğan, speaking to his Justice and Development party in Ankara, said his foes “have just one care – to destroy Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. If, one day, our nation says ‘enough’, then we will move to the side,” he said, referring to himself in the first person plural.

Opponents rapidly seized on the word and turned it into the top Twitter trend around the world, with more than 450,000 tweets within 24 hours of his statement. President Erdoğan, who has been denounced by his opponents  as an authoritarian leader, said he has brought Turkey to a new level of economic prosperity and foreign policy influence.

While there is strong hostility towards him on the Aegean coast, some Kurdish areas and parts of Istanbul and Ankara, he retains widespread and enthusiastic support in the Anatolian core of the country.

Erdoğan said Turkish people had always given the right response to those who sought to destroy him, recalling the failed 2016 coup. Predicting victory in the election, he added: “God willing, I believe we will, together with our nation, on 24 June once again give a well deserved lesson to this team of destruction.”

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