Nov 20 2018

Saudi Twitter army aims to #BoycottTurkishTourism

Saudi Arabia's electronic army has launched a campaign urging Saudis to boycott holidays in Turkey as Ankara steps up pressure on the kingdom over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Al Araby reported on Tuesday. 

The London-based, private Qatari-owned website said pro-Saudi Twitter accounts promoted the boycott of Turkish tourism with the Arabic-language hashtag #BoycottTurkishTourism, accusing Turkey of misleading the world about Khashoggi's murder last month at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

The boycott campaign avoids direct mention of the growing body of evidence against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and instead focuses on the Ottoman occupation of parts of modern-day Saudi Arabia and the Ottomans' "historical crimes committed against Arabs", Al Araby said.

The hashtag has garnered more than 50,000 mentions on Twitter. The kingdom is crucial to Turkey's tourism sector, as some 650,000 high-spending Saudi tourists visited Turkey last year.

The Twitter campaign comes amid a steady stream of leaks from Turkish authorities that have implicated Saudi agents in Khashoggi's killing even as Riyadh denied involvement, according to Al Araby. 

Last month, Twitter identified and suspended a network of bots that had been promoting Saudi narratives about the killing.