Turkey opposition launches Google ads campaign to target Erdogan

Published June 6, 2018, 10:36 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Agence France-Presse

Turkey’s nationalist opposition Iyi Parti (Good Party) has launched a Google advertisement campaign with mischievous slogans targeting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government ahead of June 24 polls.

The unprecedented campaign is led by party chief Meral Aksener, who split away from Turkey’s main nationalist group after it formed an alliance with Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Istanbul nightclub attack was an attempt "to destroy our country's morale and create chaos by deliberately targeting our nation's peace" (AFP Photo/OZAN KOSE) / MANILA BULLETIN
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AFP Photo/OZAN KOSE) / MANILA BULLETIN

Google searches of certain keywords lead internet users to humourous messages redirecting them to the site of Iyi Parti.

A search for the ruling AKP (Justice and Development Party) returns a top result which leads to the message: “Now there’s an even better one” a play on words associated with the Iyi Parti’s name.

The campaign also targets Erdogan’s hugely controversial palace in the capital Ankara, which it describes as a “1,150 room bargain palace”.

A Google search for “empty rooms” leads internet users to Aksener’s campaign promise to open the vast palace to the public.

A search for “VPN” brings them to Iyi Parti’s website with the slogan “Don’t waste your money. For internet freedoms, wait until we come to power.”

Many Turkish internet users use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), sometimes paying for the service, to get around official blocks on certain websites in Turkey such as Wikipedia.

Typing “dream interpretation” throws up a link which asks: “are you having nightmares?”.

Google AdWords is Google’s advertising system in which advertisers bid on certain keywords in order for their ads to appear in the search engines results.

Aksener’s election speeches are rarely broadcast on the mainstream media as well as on the state-run TRT television.

The AKP is also very active on social media, networks with critics accusing the party of recruiting “trolls” to give Erdogan’s opponents a tough time.