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LOCAL > After BBC, Ankara mayor takes it to CNN in Twitter campaign

ISTANBUL

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Melih Gökçek is serving as Ankara's mayor for almost 20 years.

Melih Gökçek is serving as Ankara's mayor for almost 20 years.

Two days after launching a Twitter campaign against a BBC journalist, Ankara mayor and prolific tweeter Melih Gökçek has turned his focus to U.S. news broadcaster CNN, which he accuses of deliberately distorting the ongoing protests in Turkey with the aim of defaming the government.

Gökçek, who has been one of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) loudest voices against the Gezi Park demonstrations, called on his Twitter followers to carry the hashtag #stoplyingCNN to the top of the list of worldwide trending topics.

"This is a historic moment... We will show to the entire world CNN's lies by making it TT with our tweets," he posted.

CNN raised the eyebrows of AKP supporters after it published a photo of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's mass rally in Istanbul's Kazlıçeşme Square June 15, in a gallery headlined "Anti-government protests in Turkey." Although the caption to that particular photo recognized that it was indeed Erdoğan's rally, and despite the fact that the gallery title was changed to "Demonstrations in Turkey" soon afterwards, many AKP supporters argued that the error was a result of a prejudicial coverage.

"[CNN] showed only the one side of all the incidents and cheated literally the world," Gökçek opined in another tweet mentioning the error related to Erdoğan's meeting. "CNN was the driving force and unfortunately the whole world learned about the incidents in Turkey on the basis of what CNN said," he added.

The Ankara mayor was eventually successful in carrying his hashtag to number one in the list of worldwide trending topics. He continued to actively urging followers on tweeting with that hashtag in order to keep it on the top of the list.

Accused BBC journalist

Gökçek had opened another "hashtag war" a couple of days ago, on that occasion targeting the BBC Turkish Service's respected journalist Selin Girit and asking his followers to tweet with a hashtag stating that Girit was an "agent" working for Britain.

However, that campaign had an unintended effect, when a counter campaign with the hashtag "Melih Gökçek is a provocateur" reached top of Turkey's Twitter trending topics.

The BBC also expressed its indignation over Gökçek's Twitter crusade in an official statement.

June/26/2013

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