Several top Twitter accounts, including those of a German football club, a French ministry and BBC North America, were hacked on Wednesday by Turkish pro-government hackers with a message slamming “Nazi Germany” and “Nazi Holland,” The Associated Press has reported.
“#NaziGermany. #NaziHolland. This is a small #Ottomanslap for you. See you on #April16. I wrote what? Learn Turkish,” read the message, which comes in the midst of a bitter row between Europe and Turkey over Turkish government rallies on European soil.
The message also featured a swastika and was followed by a video showing excerpts of speeches by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Twitter confirmed the attack.
“We are aware of an issue affecting a number of account holders this morning,” a Twitter spokesperson said, adding that the source of the attack had been tracked to a third party application, whose permissions had been removed.
Twitter Counter, an application that monitors Twitter statistics, said its service had been hacked and used as a route into other accounts.
“We have launched an investigation into the matter,” CEO Omer Ginor told AFP.
The French economy ministry confirmed that its account had been hacked but said the issue had been resolved.
BBC North America wrote in a tweet that it had “temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed.”
Germany’s Borussia Dortmund football club, tennis legend Boris Becker and Amnesty International were also targeted.
The cyber attack comes after Turkish politicians were last week banned by The Netherlands and several German towns from holding rallies to woo expatriate support for an April 16 constitutional referendum on boosting Erdoğan’s powers.
The restrictions caused outrage in Turkey, with Erdoğan accusing Germany and the Netherlands of “Nazi” practices.
Turkey has suspended top-level ties with the Netherlands over the row.