Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Trolls, Pressure and Agenda: The discursive fight on Twitter in Turkey

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Abstract:  Censorship, banning, and imprisonment are different methods used to suppress dissenting voices in traditional media and have now evolved into a new form with bot and troll accounts in the digital media age in Turkey. Is it possible to construct a bloc with counter-trolls against the escalating political pressure on the media in the post-truth era? Are counter-trolls capable of setting the agenda? This article discusses the possibility of constructing a bloc against the escalating political pressure in Turkey on the media through counter-trolls in the context of communicative rationality. First, it observes the ruling party’s troll politics strategy on Twitter, then examines the counter-discourses against political pressure today; thereafter it analyzes the discourse in hashtags on the agenda of the Boğaziçi University protests. Firstly, 18,000 tweets are examined to understand the suppress-communication strategy of the AK Party trolls. Secondly, the agenda-setting capacity of counter-trolls is observed between January 1, 2020, and February 5, 2021, and 18,000 tweets regarding Boğaziçi protests are examined to analyze the communication strategy of the counter-trolls. The study shows that the populist government instrumentalizes communication in social media, and Twitter does not have enough potential for the Gramscian counter-hegemony, but the organized actions and discourses have the potential to create public opinion.

Keywords:  agenda; civil society; communication strategy; counter‐trolls; populism; trolls; troll politics



© Uğur Baloğlu. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.