Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have created a viral Twitter hashtag #WeLoveErdogan to rally around the Turkish leader as he makes a highly sensitive visit to the United States an
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have created a viral Twitter hashtag #WeLoveErdogan to rally around the Turkish leader as he makes a highly sensitive visit to the United States and faces growing criticism over freedom of expression.
The English-language hashtag, which was tweeted by several Cabinet ministers and ruling party members, was propelled late Tuesday into the top trending worldwide hashtags on Twitter.
“Our President Mr @RT_Erdogan was greeted with great enthusiasm by US citizens and our compatriots,” tweeted foreign minister Mevlut Cavusolgu, who is accompanying Mr Erdogan on his visit to Washington.
“#WeLoveErdogan,” he added.
Other users posted pictures of Mr Erdogan kissing children or famous moments from his career and life, including scoring a goal with a canny chip in a televised 2014 football match.
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP Mehmet Babaoglu posted a picture of Mr Erdogan’s famous 2009 walk-out from the World Economic Forum in Davos after a row with then Israeli President Shimon Peres.
“That’s why #WeLoveErdogan,” he said.
But the campaign hit immediate controversy with Mr Erdogan’s supporters accusing Twitter of censorship by deliberately removing the hashtag from its top trending tweets.
In a broadside of over 40 tweets in his Turkish and English accounts, Ankara mayor Melih Gokcek said Twitter had deliberately taken it down.