In a speech in parliament, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would leave office if Turks want him to. “If one day our nation says ‘enough’, then we will step aside.”
Soon after the speech, the #Tamam (“Enough” in English) hashtag swept across Turkish-language Twitter, then became a global trending topic. More than a million Turks reportedly rushed onto social media to call on Erdogan, who has ruled for 15 years, to step down.
“We want democracy so we say #enough to Erdogan. 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 account for the things you did. Enough!” said another.
As reported by France24, social media has become the primary platform for opposition against the government in Turkey, where traditional media is saturated with coverage of Erdogan and his ministers. Erdogan’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 Turkish nationalists rarely find common ground.
“Enough: It’s very strange that Erdogan has offered the opposition a uniting slogan,” tweeted journalist Rusen Cakir.
The government, however, dismissed the social media wave, which had accumulated close to 1.5 million posts by May 8, saying the posts were sent by online bots associated with Kurdish PKK militants and Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Muslim cleric blamed by Ankara for a 2016 failed coup attempt.
“Most are being sent from countries where the FETO and PKK are active. Most are bot accounts. We can also understand Greece, but what about those inside (Turkey),” said Mahir Unal, spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.