Until Feb. 18, Turkish President Abdullah Gul was the hope of all people who cared about the status and prestige of their country in the international system. Although optimism about Turkey’s near future has been considerably thinned by the rigid, coarse, divisive and confrontational discourse and conduct of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the "strong man" of the country, the sober, sane and moderate statesmanship of Gul provided some security.
That was until the late evening hours of Feb. 18. When the story broke around 10 p.m. that Gul had signed the controversial Internet bill, the president won his share of the anger directed against Erdogan. About 40,000 Twitter users, out of 4.3 million nationwide, unfollowed Gul’s Twitter account before midnight, in the space of 90 minutes.