Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens to block Facebook and YouTube, president dismisses idea

By Daniel S Levine,

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said in an interview that the government there may block his people’s access to Facebook and YouTube. Erdogan’s comments came after phone conversations leaked online, which he perceives as a threat to his government. However, President Abdullah Gul dismissed the idea of shutting down access to social networks.

Erdogan made the comments Thursday in an ATV interview, reports Businessweek. A day before, he said that covertly recorded videos were a threat to the government. He considered shutting down the social networks “because these people and institutions encourage all sorts of immorality, spying and espionage.”

Last month, Turkey changed its laws on internet access, allowing sites to be blocked without any court orders. The move followed leaks of phone calls that allegedly involved Erdogan in January.

The Associated Press reports that Erdogan acknowledged some recordings, but called others “fabricated.” One reportedly included Erdogan telling his son to get rid of money on the day sons of ministers had their homes raided during a corruption investigation.

On Friday, Gul, who is the moral authority in the country, said that Facebook and YouTube will not likely be blocked. He still left the door open for criminal content being blocked, though.

Erdogan faces elections this month.

image: By Michał Józefaciuk (Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-pl], via Wikimedia Commons



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