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#TrollWatch Theological pressure, Hagia Sophia and Syrian Refugees

Dear readers, let me tell you about a few incidents I have followed from my troll list at Twitter. This is about Aktrolls but I have some other lists that include accounts from other ideological leanings with troll characteristics   But this is limited to Aktrolls.

I hesitate to give account names because some of them go to court to sue us when we label them as trolls. They feel insulted although they have all the basic characteristics of a political troll. I hope one day there will be a more just order and they will deserve for what they have done. Anyway,

1- I was watching an interview with a theology professor, Mustafa Öztürk from Marmara University.  His views on the Quran differ from mainstream and increasingly Sunni interpretations. Marmara Theology is particularly infested with aggressively Sunni faculty members.  After an apparently coordinated social media campaign against him, he is thinking of moving abroad. A colleague of his “jokingly” said he has become an apostate and he should be killed. His views are not new but the attackers decided that it was a good moment as Sunni interpretations are shaping the power structures more than ever. Some of my trolls were more than happy to participate in the social media lynching campaign.

2- A ballerina in Hagia Sophia.

This image created a great reaction among Aktrolls. Most Islamists are never bothered with corruption, murder, genocide or some other capital crimes but perceived offenses to sacred places are incomparably incendiary. Atatürk turned Hagia Sophia into a museum but this does not deter some Islamists to believe it is still a mosque. -Of course not bothered with its massive past and architecture as a church- In fact, this is one of the ever-existing lines in Turkey’ Islamists. In the last instance, it was an art show in an evening in Hagia Sophia and the organizers had all the permits necessary. There was no illegal activity. But the image above was enough to incite some furor. One of the leading trolls here has recently been sidelined by more powerful and Erdoğanist troll network. He is accused to be pro-Davutoğlu, the former PM who was fired by Erdoğan. This incident was his turn to prove how good he is in inciting people.

A final note is about the Syrian refugees in Turkey. One good thing about Aktrolls is the fact that they are not anti-immigrant at the moment. Since the government policy is to welcome Syrian refugees and to ignore any social problems after hosting more than 5 million refugees, anti-immigrant agitation mostly comes from nationalistic and opposition party circles. -but not necessarily all parties. It seems that CHP and İyi Parti sympathizers are particularly guilty here. There is a wide range of justification in behalf of immigrants among Aktrolls circles. Well, that’s one of the things I am working on academically… But at least this inflammatory human material is not engaging Syrian refugee bashing at the moment…

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