PM Erdoğan threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube

PM Erdoğan threatens to ban Facebook, YouTube

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Photo: AP, Burhan Ozbilici)

March 06, 2014, Thursday/ 23:38:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted that his government may shut down Facebook and YouTube after March 30 local elections to what he says avert negative effects of the Internet on society, a move that would likely spark a public backlash given the mounting social unrest and uneasiness over government's growing encroachment on people's lives and media.

Erdoğan raised the issue when he was talking about the country's new controversial Internet law, which has drawn wide criticism and condemnation from critics at home and the EU, in a live televised interview jointly aired on A Haber and ATV late Thursday and said the government would consider shutting down popular video sharing website YouTube and social media network Facebook.

This comes as the government introduced a number of legislations curbing internet freedom, press freedom and subordinating judiciary to government through restructuring the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), top legal body that regulates judicial affairs, including launching disciplinary inquiries to top judges and appointment of prosecutors and judges.

When the news report exploded on social media, it led to raging debates on Twitter, with critics expressing their concerns over the direction of the country.

Some approached to issue with satire, with journalist Aslı Aydıntaşbaş saying "Thankfully he didn't mention Twitter."

On Friday, Turkish President Abdullah Gül ruled out the ban on Facebook and YouTube, saying that there cannot be a setback from freedoms. He said Turkey's Internet law is clear and that web-sites could be banned only by court decisions. 

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