Opposition figure accuses interior minister of setting up troll army

Opposition figure accuses interior minister of setting up troll army
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CHP parliamentary chair Ozel has claimed that a troll network of 8,000 people operate and spread fabricated news under minister Soylu, and they are payed hefty sums of money through illegal means.

After having announced a day earlier that he will disclose critical information on the shady activities of the Turkish interior minister, a senior official of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) voiced claims about a network of internet trolls, who allegedly spread fabricated news with purely political motivations, and who have been funneled large sums of money in direct payments and through government contracts.

CHP's parliamentary chair Ozgur Ozel told a press conference on Thursday that this troll army has been set up under the leadership of the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, that 8,000 people with social media accounts actively take part, that they are guided by a Telegram group of 25 people, and that the operation is coordinated by a Emin Sen, who is an advisor of Soylu.

Ozel further claimed that the operation has been funded with state money by direct payments made in return for the services of the recruits, and through means of government contracts granted to companies under Emin Sen's control.

Ozel also alleged that the trolls, on occasions, were even authorized to make statements on behalf of the police and gendarmerie, and that the statements by the two in reaction to CHP leader Kemal Kilicadaroglu's criticism of the goverment about being complicit in the growing drug trade were actually posted by trolls.

The ministry's first reaction has been releasing a press communication during the live broadcast of the press conference, as it said that Emin Sen is not a public servant, and he has no assigned duty as an advisor of the minister.

It is stated at the ministry's website, however, that Emin Sen currently serves as one of the minister's advisors.

It is also noted that Sen is "a pioneer of new generation communication activities, has worked as advisor for prominent media outlets, given seminars on New Media, and actively taken part in various NGOs."

A Twitter account that allegedly belongs to Emin Sen has been suspended.