Turkey has accused Twitter of trying to protect "terrorists" after the company took down accounts linked to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for pushing propaganda, spreading misinformation and attacking critics of the government.
In a statement released from Twitter, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said that the social media giant's intention to redesign Turkish politics is "quite obvious."
Statement regarding Twitter's decision to suspend accounts in Turkey and the company's allegations: pic.twitter.com/mi9abYDWEE— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) June 12, 2020
"Keeping in mind the most recent controversy surrounding Twitter in the United States, the company's attempts to portray the Republic of Turkey in a certain political light, its eagerness to support and promote black propaganda by anti-Turkey entities, including PKK and FETÖ, and its intention to redesign Turkish politics are quite obvious," Altun said on June 12, using abbreviations for the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
Twitter disclosed on June 11 three new state-linked information operations that have been taken place on its platform this year, including the one in Turkey linked to the AKP's youth branch.Twitter discloses, removes accounts linked to Turkish gov't used for propaganda
The U.S.-based social media company said these accounts consisted of a network of echo chambers. A network in Turkey was determined to be pushing politically-themed tweets aimed at Turkish-speaking users.
“Based on our analysis of the network’s technical indicators and account behaviors, the collection of fake and compromised accounts was being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AKP, and demonstrated strong support for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan,” Twitter said.
'Politically motivated, utterly biased'
In his statement, Altun said that the documents cited by Twitter are "clearly unscientific, utterly biased and politically motivated," while deeming the move "a scandal of historic proportions."
"The company's decision to take this measure, which was intended to compile a number of unrelated social media accounts under a single category, and its attempts to smear the Government of Turkey and a popular political movement are unacceptable," he said.Erdoğan's aide condemns wounding of TRT World journalists by US police, urges press freedom
"This arbitrary act, hidden behind the smokescreen of transparency and freedom of expression, has demonstrated yet again that Twitter is no mere social media company, but a propaganda machine with certain political and ideological inclinations, which does not refrain from smearing users and stakeholders that it deems to be incompatible with those views," Altun added.
Saying that the Turkish government won't "tolerate any form of forgery, manipulation or disinformation," Altun noted that it will continue to work "to promote the truth, free thinking and digital awareness at home and all around the world."
"We would like to remind this company of the eventual fate of a number of organizations, which attempted to take similar steps in the past," he said.
Ankara has previously blocked access to Twitter.