Turkey criticized Twitter on Friday for suspending more than 7,000 accounts the social media company said were promoting narratives favorable to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Parti (AKP).
The suspended 7,340 accounts were detected earlier this year “employing coordinated inauthentic activity,” Twitter said in a blog post uploaded on Friday.
Republic of Turkey communications director Fahrettin Altun said the social media company was attempting to smear the government and trying to redesign Turkish politics.
“This arbitrary act … has demonstrated yet again that Twitter is no mere social media company, but a propaganda machine with certain political and ideological inclinations,” Altun said in a written statement on Twitter.
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
The communications director closed with a warning to Twitter.
“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,” Altun said.
In its Friday blog post, Twitter revealed it had shared data from the account takedowns related to Turkey, as well as China and Russia, with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO).
In what the SIO dubbed “The Turkey Operation,” it found batches of fabricated personalities, all created on the same day.
The suspended accounts were used for AKP “cheerleading,” to increase domestic support for Turkish intervention in Syria and compromised other Twitter accounts linked to organizations critical of the government, the SIO found.
Twitter’s handling of the “Turkey Operation” has come to light as it removed 23,750 accounts posting pro-Beijing narratives, and 1,152 accounts engaging in state-backed political propaganda within Russia.