Turkey PM, president disagree on banning Facebook, YouTube

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Ankara, Turkey (4E) – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday he would ban Facebook and YouTube after the March 30 parliamentary elections but President Abdullah Gul said he is against such move.

Erdogan made the threat in response to the circulation in the popular social media and video-sharing site of a link to a telephone conversation between him and his son discussing how to hide large sums of money. The prime minister accused U.S.-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of fabricating the audio recording.

“There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30, including a ban. We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook,” Erdogan said in an interview with a local late-night TV show on ATV.

Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lütfi Elvan supported a ban on Facebook and YouTube saying online profanities targeting a country’s prime minister, ministers and their families are unacceptable.

Commenting on Erdogan’s warnings, Gul said Facebook and YouTube can never be unplugged because they are important platforms and “we always take a pride in enlarging freedoms.”

Last month, the Turkish parliament dominated by Erdogan’s party AK passed a new law allowing Turkey’s telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling. It sparked violent protests in Istanbul.

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