Erdogan speech in Turkey backfires, leading to widespread 'enough' hashtag
Turkey's opposition parties finding any, all opportunities to unite to prevent another Erdogan term
More than half a million Turks piled onto social media to call time on President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, making the word "tamam," which translates into "enough," a trending topic worldwide after he promised to step down if the people wanted it.
"If one day our nation says 'enough,' then we will step aside," he said in a speech in parliament. The most popular — and divisive — politician in recent Turkish history, Erdogan has ruled for 15 years, overseeing a period of sharp economic growth and a widespread crackdown against his opponents.
Last month, he declared snap elections for June 24, bringing the polls forward by more than a year. Soon after the speech, the #Tamam hashtag swept across Turkish-language Twitter, then became a global trending topic.
"We want democracy so we say #enough to Erdogan. Please leave your seat. You did insane things to our country and people. Enough," said one user.
"You will not step aside quietly. You will give account for the things you did. Enough!" said another.
Opponents seize on campaign
Erdogan's rivals in the presidential polls also jumped in, with the "tamam" tweets from three of his main opponents together garnering more than 10,000 retweets.
"Time is up. Enough!" tweeted Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP).
Meral Aksener, leader of the Good Party, and Felicity Party Leader Temel Karamollaoglu also joined in the fray on social media.
More than 480,000 tweets with the word "tamam" were posted by the late afternoon.
Social media has become the primary platform for opposition against the government in Turkey, where traditional media is saturated with coverage of Erdogan and his ministers. Erdogan's speeches, usually two or three a day, are all broadcast live on major channels, while opposition parties get little to no coverage.
Rights groups and Turkey's Western allies have criticized Ankara for its deteriorating record on civil rights and have voiced concerns that the NATO member has been sliding further into authoritarianism under Erdogan.
Thousands from all walks of life have been jailed for alleged ties to a movement that resulted in a 2016 coup attempt.
The government says the measures are necessary due to the security threats it faces.
After the June vote, Turkey will switch to the powerful, executive presidential system narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
Lawmaker Bulent Tezcan of the CHP last week announced an alliance in a bid to weaken the ruling party's 16-year dominance in parliament. His secular party is joining forces with the newly-founded nationalist Good Party, the Islamic-leaning Felicity Party and the centre-right Democrat Party.
The parties have nominated their own presidential candidates to run against Erdogan, but will run as an alliance for the parliamentary election, which is scheduled for the same day.
With files from The Associated Press