A Twitter user said to be related to the Pelican Group, an informal formation with influence and close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Aug. 20 posted a video comparing Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın with each other.
The Twitter user said that Altun was often a target of the Turkish opposition because he was the “most loyal servant” to Erdoğan.
The account named @Busralsall released video detailing her argument that Altun was the target of public scrutiny because he was merely a messenger to the “ağa” (roughly “master” in Turkish), but that people couldn’t criticize Erdoğan himself, so they slammed his “most loyal servant.”
“Those who can’t beat on the ağa will attack his servant. Okay but which one? The most consistent, most loyal one, who accepts his master’s enemies as his own,” said Busralsall.
The Twitter user on the other hand said that Kalın was never the center of public criticism. “Why doesn’t anyone slam Kalın when he makes a statement? Because he’s not making that statement on his own behalf. It’s that simple, but they’ll still attack Altun,” the vlogger said.
Although the vlogger, known as “Büşra Elsall,” deleted the video after a while, it was available to some 40,000 followers for some time.
The Busralsall Twitter account retweets content from accounts like “FETÖ Gerçekleri” that are known to be tied to the Pelican Group, as well as Erdoğan, Fahrettin Altun and his wife.
The Pelican Group first appeared on the Turkish agenda in 2016 when they released a document titled “Pelican briefing” that slammed then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The event came to be known as the “Pelican Coup” and brought about Davutoğlu’s resignation.
The group is a sub-section of AKP supporters that back the president’s son-in-law and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.
Shortly after the controversial video was released, Kalın urged for “patience in the face of calamity.” “May we all have resolve in the face of calamity,” he wrote on Twitter.
Altun has recently been at the center of a controversy with the political opposition about U.S. Presidential Candidate Joe Biden’s December comments in which he advocated a new U.S. approach to the “autocrat” Erdoğan, expressing his support for the opposition parties.
Biden’s comments to New York Times editors resurfaced in a video that made him the most popular topic earlier this week on Twitter in Turkey.
Biden, the former U.S. vice president, says in the video he is “very concerned” about Erdoğan’s approach to Kurds in Turkey, his partial military cooperation with Russia and access to U.S. airfields in the country, a NATO ally.
Altun said Biden’s comments “reflect games and an interventionist approach towards Turkey” and are inconsistent with current diplomatic relations.
“Nobody can attack our nation’s will and democracy or question the legitimacy of our President, who was elected by popular vote,” Altun said on Twitter, noting the failed coup in Turkey in 2016.
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu asked what the presidency had to say about Biden’s comments, to which Altun responded by saying they had been awaiting a comment from the opposition.