Turkish Premier’s Use of Social Media to Combat the Coup

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PUREVPNIndustry NewsTurkish Premier’s Use of Social Media to Combat the Coup

*Note: This is an opinionated piece by one of our guest writers. It should not be confused with an official blog or a statement by PureVPN.

While Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in Marmaris, situated on the Mediterranean coast, enjoying his holiday, a military coup unfolded in Turkey, threatening to put an end to democracy in Turkey yet again. Though, the rebels had almost all the military equipment under their control, which includes fighter jets and tanks, they still couldn't manage to take control of the country with pro-government supporters coming out in masses and standing up against them.

The reason for failure of the coup is the fact that the plotters ignored the power of social media and privately run TV stations in their haste to take control of the city. Erdogan took complete advantage of this by appearing on CNN Turk using FaceTime to address the nation and inspire them to stand up against the rebels. The tactic worked as the coup started to diminish and it effectively ended by morning.

The Turkish government under Erdogan had earlier released an Internet Censorship Act and had targeted and banned social media websites including Twitter and Facebook. Erdogan, an outspoken critic of social media, once described Twitter as a "menace to society". "I am increasingly against the Internet every day," he told a delegation from the Committee to protect Journalism in October 2014.

Ironically, Erdogan had to rely on social media to combat the coup, posting a statement on Twitter and speaking to national TV via FaceTime. The rest of the party members, including the Prime Minister himself, condemned the coup on social media and motivated people to stand against it.

Since Twitter, Facebook and other social networks were pretty much blocked as the coup materialized, supporters, and probably the government officials, had to rely on VPNs to go online and voice their discontent against the coup. The map below shows the spike in Facebook Live videos despite Facebook being blocked at the time.


What I hope is that, after what happened, Erdogan should realize the importance of social media and its positive impact on society, when used properly. Banning a popular social networking website, just because you do not like some of the stuff posted on it, is wrong. The freedom of Virtual Private Networks should also be realized and encouraged instead of being combated by the government.




November 24, 2022


2 years ago

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