‘Twitter, Facebook, YouTube - can they say freedom if they publish the confidential conversations of the U.S. president? They can’t,’ Erdoğan says. AA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
has escalated his salvo against the “double standards” of Twitter, while also defiantly warning Facebook and YouTube to “obey Turkish laws.”
“Twitter obeys the American
Constitution, British, German, Chinese, and Russian
[laws]. But when it comes to Ukraine, when it comes to Egypt, when it comes to Turkey, it speaks about freedom,” Erdoğan said during a massive electoral rally in Istanbul March 23.
“We are not a third world country. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube should respect the Turkish Constitution and obey Turkish laws,” he said, to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters in a brand new giant rally area in Yenikapı, constructed by filling the Marmara Sea.
“Twitter, Facebook, YouTube - can they say ‘freedom’ if they publish the confidential conversations of the U.S. president? They can’t. Do they remember freedom when it comes to Turkey?” Erdoğan added.
He stated that action had been taken after a court decision ruling for the banning of access to accounts that apparently violated the privacy rights of plaintiffs.
“If they don’t obey our laws, we will do what’s necessary. This is not a banana republic. No one can violate our privacy in the name of freedom,” the prime minister said, also slamming the media for “making an alliance” with Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The government moved to block the access to Twitter 10 days ahead the local polls amid the publication of wiretapped phone recordings, mostly related to the recent graft scandal.
Meanwhile, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
said during a rally in the Boğazlıyan district of Yozgat that he hoped to come to the district as a prime minister in the next elections. In his speech, Kılıçdaroğlu also read some of the voice recordings allegedly revealing corruption between former ministers and their sons.
On March 22, the CHP
head slammed the government’s blocking of Twitter during an election rally in the western city of İzmir. “They banned Twitter. Twitter is mostly used by young people. You have created a prime minister who fears 140 characters,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
“I’m giving him [Erdoğan] a title: He’s not an ordinary thief; he is the Thief-in-Chief. And now all the world knows his new title. Have you ever seen another politician who called Twitter ‘a trouble’ and promised to close down Facebook and Twitter?”