Nov 22 2017

How trolling can improve your employment chances

“If the names are not wrong, two trolls named Hüseyin Tarık Aydın and Hikmet Timur who have targeted and insulted people on Twitter were today appointed as Employment Ministry undersecretaries,” journalist İsmail Saymaz tweeted on Tuesday, including a link to the announcement. “Weren’t you able to find anyone else?”

Aydın, who tweets under his own name, and the recently shut down anonymous @biyikbay account, which Timur has been accused of running, are prominent Twitter supporters of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, well known for their vituperative attacks even on more moderate members of their own movement.

Indeed, when the claims emerged that Timur was behind the @biyikbay account, among those expressing schadenfreude at the unmasking was the editor of the fiercely pro-Erdoğan daily Güneş.

Trolling on Twitter has become one route to a certain amount of semi-anonymous fame in Turkey in a way that conveniently allows the troll to also demonstrate his (or, much more rarely, her) commitment to the government.

There have also been repeated rumours in the Turkish press that some trolls might be paid a wage for their efforts, while the government has officially formed a 6,000-strong social media team to ensure their narrative is heard online.

It may not be a fool-proof road to a civil service job, but even very senior people at Turkish government agencies have been accused of pro-government trolling on their rise to the top.