Erdoğan takes control of Twitter account, sends first tweet
ANKARATurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally sent his first tweet on Feb. 9, giving an anti-smoking message.
The now-verified account, @RT_Erdogan, was originally opened in August 2009, and amassed over 5.7 million followers, mostly by sharing phrases from Erdoğan’s public speeches with no additional comments.
Although he never clarified who was managing this account, Erdoğan has voiced his displeasure with Twitter on several occasions in the past. During the Gezi Park protests of June 2013, he described the microblogging website as a “menace,” while in March 2014 Turkey blocked Twitter, hours after then-Prime Minister Erdoğan vowed to “wipe out” the social media platform.
However, this has not kept the president from finally taking control of his account.
“Today is Feb. 9, World Quit Smoking Day. Be strong-willed and do not surrender to a cigarette,” Erdoğan tweeted, after sharing a number of statistics about smoking-related deaths.
Although public institutions and some NGOs in Turkey recognize Feb. 9 as “World Quit Smoking Day,” May 31 is the internationally-recognized date of “World No Tobacco Day.”
President Erdoğan also retweeted a message posted by Yeşilay (Green Crescent), a Turkish public charity that fights with bad habits, including smoking. Esra Albayrak, Erdoğan’s daughter, was appointed to the board of Yeşilay in 2012.
Mücahit Küçükyılmaz, the Corporate Relations Chairman of the Presidency, told semi-official Anadolu Agency on Feb. 9 that messages personally sent by Erdoğan would be signed “RTE” (Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) at the end.
“It was an account that has been used by young people who love the Beyefendi [gentleman]. Its verification process has now been completed. From now on, the Beyefendi will use it,” Küçükyılmaz added.