Web game becomes latest battlefield in Turkish politics

Web game becomes latest battlefield in Turkish politics

Web game becomes latest battlefield in Turkish politics

A mock CHP campaign poster featuring the game Agar.io was recently published on Turkish Internet forum Incisozluk.

A simple, multiplayer game on the web has become the latest battleground for Turkish politics ahead of the June 7 general election, gaming website Kotaku has reported.

In Agar.io, a player controls a tiny, colored cell gunning to eat smaller cells and avoid being slurped into someone else’s mass.

“The game has thousands of concurrent players on each of its regional servers … and it’s grown especially popular in Turkey,” Kotaku reported.

One reason for the game’s popularity in Turkey lies in one particular customization: The ability to name one’s cell. 

On the eve of the elections, many players in Turkey have taken to displaying their favorite party’s name in the game world. Better players get larger cells, promoting their party more prominently and allowing them to eat cells bearing the name of other parties.

Agar.io therefore almost mirrors the rough and tumble of Turkey’s dog-eat-dog politics. 

Along with larger cells for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), one can also find the cell of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) trying to devour its nemesis: The 10 percent election threshold.

“Agar.io is tremendously popular and (or perhaps because) it gives people tools to represent themselves, their identities. Turkey’s melting pot is boiling over into all sorts of places, and this free PC game is no exception,” Kotaku reported.