Former PM calls paid trolls ‘communication terrorists’ referring to smear campaign targeting him

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Ahmet Davutoğlu, who was forced to resign from the position of prime minister by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May 2016, has harshly criticized social media trolls, labeling them “communication terrorists,” referring to a smear campaign targeting him when he was at PM office.

The pro-Davutoğlu Karar newspaper on Friday reported his remarks on trolls that also played a role in a campaign against the politician, who was ultimately forced to submit his resignation. Speaking at a panel discussion in Karabük, Davutoğlu said that trolls are hired to create wrong perceptions about people.

“They are communication terrorists who are hired to destroy people’s honor and character,” Davutoğlu said before bringing up fake stories about his family members on social media.

“During my departure from the post of prime minister something called the Pelican Brief emerged,” Davutoğlu recalled in reference to an anonymous defamation campaign against him by Erdoğan supporters. “I know who these people are, but society does not know,” he said, calling them a gang that hides behind fake identities.

Davutoğlu, who was replaced by Erdoğan loyalist Binali Yıldırım in May 2016, was prime minister during the seizure of several media outlets including Zaman, Today’s Zaman and İpek Media Group by the government due to their affiliation with the Gülen Movement. He sued numerous journalists for alleged insults to him on social media as prime minister.

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