Turkish PM denies Internet freedom restrictions, says he is ‘protecting new generation’
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan provides students with tablet devices as part of his 'Fatih' project, on Feb 17. AFP photo
Refuting critics both inside and outside Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said a new bill on the Internet will not lead to censorship and the restriction of freedom, but rather will actually save young generations from the potential harm of the Internet.
“We will make arrangements without limiting and restricting freedom, but also without bowing to threats and without ignoring the dangers [of the Internet]. We will hand over Turkey to generations who are not slaves to technology, but who rule and direct technology,” Erdoğan said on Feb. 17, while delivering a speech at a ceremony during which tablets were delivered as part of the ambitious FATİH Project.
The project is run by the Education Ministry and aims to provide all students with tablets and to connect all classrooms, equipping them with interactive projection devices.
“While we are expanding the Internet and technology to this extent, we are also taking certain measures. We are not restricting anybody’s freedom. We are trying to protect our children from ill-intended defrauders and blackmailers,” Erdoğan said.
“I am sure parents understand us. We will take every necessary step to protect our children and the youth. We will make our arrangements without restricting freedom,” he added.
If approved by President Abdullah Gül, the controversial bill would dramatically increase the government’s ability to control the Internet. Gül is under pressure to send the bill back to Parliament.
The bill enables the authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision. The opposition argues that it is part of a government attempt to stifle the corruption scandal that broke in mid-December.