Turkish ministry denies reports of plan to block social media
Thousands of people march in central Istanbul to protest against the government's plan to filter the internet on May 15, 2011. REUTERS photoTurkey's Transportation, Maritime and Communication Ministry denied reports that it was preparing to make arrangements that would enable the body to block access to Facebook and Twitter in the event of a "threat to public safety.”
Olcay Aydilek of daily Habertürk had reported earlier today that Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said social media could "provoke great masses," and that it was a "threat."
Yıldırım denied the reports, saying, "No such work exists to seek blocking access to social media."
Habertürk's report alleged that reports prepared for the ministry showed that the social media acted as a "catalyst" that fueled ethnic and religious confrontations at times of crisis, especially after attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The report said the ministry sought to block access to Facebook or Twitter in order to ensure public safety. The block would be momentary or last only a few hours, the report said.
Yıldırım said there can be no such thing as a momentary ban on social media as "everything happens in a moment."
There are 31 million Facebook users and 9 million Twitter users in Turkey.