Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile news outlets, international brands and politicians were hacked on Wednesday, briefly showing posts in support of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president who is in a bitter standoff with several European Union countries.
The dispute involves several countries, including the Netherlands and Germany, where Turkish politicians wish to hold rallies and campaign for a referendum on Turkey’s proposed Constitution. The Twitter breaches on Wednesday, however, came as Dutch voters were casting ballots in their general election. Separately, websites in the Netherlands that help people decide how to vote were hit by online attacks on Tuesday.
Mr. Erdogan criticized the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, accusing them of Nazi practices, after Turkish politicians were prevented from attending events in those countries. Over the weekend, the Dutch authorities stopped the Turkish foreign minister from landing in the Netherlands, where he was to attend a rally, and they ordered the Turkish minister for families to be escorted out of the country, citing risks to public order and security.
The Twitter hacking on Wednesday appeared to be related to that growing dispute. The defamatory messages, in Turkish, accused Germany and the Netherlands of having Nazi ties, and they linked to a video of a speech by Mr. Erdogan.
While the online messages were quickly removed and control of the accounts returned to their owners, many of the targeted organizations and policy makers moved to distance themselves from what had been posted.
“We temporarily lost control of this account, but normal service has resumed,” the British Broadcasting Corporation wrote on Twitter after one of its accounts was breached.
It was unclear who had carried out the digital attacks.
The problem may have originated with a hack to Twitter Counter, a third-party application employed by some account holders to keep track of their online followers. The start-up, which is based in the Netherlands, said on Wednesday that it was aware of the hacking, and that it had blocked its service’s ability to post from users’ Twitter handles.
In response, Twitter said that it was aware that the intrusion may have resulted from a third-party app.
“We quickly located the source,” Twitter said in a statement. “No additional accounts are impacted.”
On Tuesday, a separate attack affected two websites set up to help voters choose among Dutch political parties in the general election. Known as a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, which typically involves flooding computer servers with online messages until they collapse, the attack took the Kieskompas and Stemwijzer sites offline on Tuesday afternoon.
The voter-aid websites are not part of the official electoral process.
Concerned about the role hackers and so-called fake news might have played in the American presidential election, the Dutch government announced on Feb. 1 that all ballots in the general election would be counted by hand. Previously, some votes were electronic.
“We don’t know where it is coming from, but it is an organized attack coming from abroad,” said Anita de Jong, a spokeswoman for ProDemos, an independent government-financed organization that runs Stemwijzer. She said the geographic origin of the attack was unclear.
Engineers from the National Cyber Security Center in The Hague and from Google offered to help the organizations that run the two websites. Wednesday morning, as voting was underway, the sites were still struggling to function and were not consistently available.
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