LOCAL > Twitter lies deadlier than car bombs: Ruling party official

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

Rocked by the intensity of the protests that have swept Turkey, the AKP vows to begin censoring Twitter in an effort to stop what it terms ‘slander’

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‘Social media must be brought under order. A draft law could be considered,’ Ali Şahin, the AKP’s vice press head, has said. DHA photo

‘Social media must be brought under order. A draft law could be considered,’ Ali Şahin, the AKP’s vice press head, has said. DHA photo

Göksel Bozkurt Göksel Bozkurt goksel.bozkurt@hurriyet.com.tr

Social media, the supreme arsenal of the demonstrators at the Gezi Park protests, is now being targeted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for working against society’s “serenity and peace,” and the government is now seeking ways to restrict it.

After Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Twitter a “plague,” the government has moved to bring certain legal regulations to the use of social media. Following the snowballing impact it engendered in organizing the Gezi Park protests, Erdoğan is reportedly considering precautions to take, as discussed during an emergency meeting of the Central Decision and Executive Council (MKYK) of the AKP on June 8.

The AKP’s vice chairman of media and public relations responsible for social media, Ali Şahin, hinted at a “legal regulation” to “set social media in order.” “Social media must be brought under order and regularity ... A legal regulation could be made. People must be held responsible for the content they write. If as a result of a tweet they write, people loot shops and burn vehicles, the one who wrote it must bear its costs,” Şahin told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Intention to topple gov’t through social media

Şahin said people’s personal rights, legal personalities of companies and public institutions were being attacked while commercial activities were harmed due to news spreading on social media. “The elected government is being conspired against, there is an intention to topple the government through social media and people are being sworn at. All these things should have a cost, a sanction. Cursing at people is not freedom. As someone responsible for social media, I am in preparations in this sense. Social media must be brought under order and regularity. Such a draft law can be considered,” Şahin added.

Yalçın Akdoğan, an AKP deputy and a senior adviser to Erdoğan has said that there is a conspiracy behind the Gezi Park unrest directly aiming at the government.

“We will not sacrifice the prime minister,” Akdoğan said, portraying the government’s resistance to calls coming from the Gezi Park as a matter of life and death. “A tweet containing lies and slander is much more dangerous that a vehicle loaded with a bomb. The explosion of a vehicle loaded with a bomb would be limited, but a tweet filled with lies and slander can lead to a climate of conflict. If the situation is serious, necessary precautions must be taken,” Şahin said.

“If we are really to use social media, it should not be used to chafe someone, to produce false campaigns, to conspire or to topple a government.”

According to a decision made at the June 8 MKYK meeting, the AKP intends to “synchronize” its local elections campaign with its maneuvers concerning the Gezi Park unrest. The local elections, the first of a series of looming elections, are scheduled to be held on March 30, 2014.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and AKP Deputy Chair Hüseyin Çelik will seek to get in touch with protesters at Gezi Park. Interior Minister Muammer Güler is expected to meet with sociologists to draft “a process analysis” to introduce to Erdoğan.

'Spike in use slowed Internet'

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Intense use is the cause of Internet access problems around Taksim Square and Gezi Park, Turkish Transport and Communication Minister Binali Yıldırım said yesterday.

Access has been intermittent since the clashes began between protesters and Turkish police. This has caused many to believe that the officials are preventing communication among protesters.

Yıldırım also said it should be investigated whether the social media was used in provocating people or not.


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Notice on comments

Ex Pat

6/11/2013 10:59:50 PM

There are lies on the internet! Oh my God I am glad this public censor of common sense finally told me. I am officially dumber for having read this article. Twitter is to blame for their lot in life. Good to know that the excuses and blame keep flowing in every possible direction.

Brit in Turkey

6/11/2013 7:27:42 PM

Can tear-gas be pushed down an Internet line? 8-)

Brit in Turkey

6/11/2013 7:26:30 PM

Didn't we read recently that the President was a Twitter? Perhaps it all got too much for him.

Zeljko Brkic

6/11/2013 5:16:02 PM

This is true, in my country media was specifically used just for one purpose in 1990s - To spread hate and flame on people! Result was over 100 thousand dead and over million refugees.Then Yugoslavia collapsed as a state. Media today are far more powerful and easily reaching every sole in the society. I personally don't like conspiracy theories but beyond any doubt there are many powerful regimes and states that dislike Turkish rise to power and would love to see end of it.

John Smithicks

6/11/2013 5:11:39 PM

Ummm, didn't the governor tweet that Gezi Park would not be touched? Just sayin'...

Mehmet Ungrateful

6/11/2013 2:54:33 PM

Confiscate all smart phones, in fact ban all mobile phones, the good old days no one had a phone. Confiscate all books, no one could read in the good old days. Only have one channel on the TV and radio. Love it the good old days. Wait a minute, we still had raki and fish then. What happened? I will ask the sultan


6/11/2013 1:22:44 PM

All we need to have happen now is for someone to commit Erdogan and his mates to the lunatic asylum, they have proven they really have lost their mental faculties.

Vargen Vargen

6/11/2013 11:39:09 AM

If a country is used to freedom of speech and its citizens are educated in critical thinking, then the people are used to read all sorts of things and also approaching everything they read with a healthy critical view and an open mind. Free information (including "lies") are then not very dangerous. But if people are not used to critical thinking, then misinformation can be dangerous.

Rimon Tree

6/11/2013 10:27:22 AM

@ Misses don't count on international support, US and EU have gone braindead in the meantime! did you hear a word from Obama recently?

Richard Wyatt

6/11/2013 9:13:00 AM

Censorship, the ultimate weapon of a paranoid regime.
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