Erdoğan links YouTube to Twitter ban

Erdoğan links YouTube to Twitter ban

Erdoğan links YouTube to Twitter ban

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has perceived the dark machinations of YouTube behind the equally pernicious microblogging site Twitter. AA photo

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended his government’s blocking of Twitter on March 25 by linking it to YouTube.

"If you don't correct the issues, we'll close the site down. If you abide by the bans, we will abolish the ban. What is Twitter? It's a company. And actually, YouTube is behind it. They are working with YouTube's lawyers," he said during a joint broadcast on private channels NTV and Star.

Twitter had expressed hope that full access to the website would be returned soon, after a lawyer representing the microblogging platform met with Turkish authorities in Ankara on March 21. Lawyer Gönenç Gürkaynak, who met officials from Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority (TİB) in Ankara, had previously worked on the legal case against the ban on YouTube.

During the broadcast, Erdoğan also said Twitter agreed to remove "one or two" pieces of content from the social media platform, but there are "approximately 700 pieces of content" that his government has demanded be removed.

"If they remove them, we'll do what's necessary," Erdoğan said, adding that the normalization of Twitter access in Turkey depended on the fate of the removal requests by Ankara.

After he was reminded about President Abdullah Gül's March 21 tweet that said “A total shutdown of social media platforms cannot be approved,” Erdoğan nodded: "Of course, our president can do it. But I don't share it. Our president can tweet. But I don't like such things a lot. I don't have time for such things." 

Twitter had reassured Turkish users on March 24 over the protection of their privacy following its lawyer’s closed-door meeting with Ankara.

'Unlawful use of advanced technology'

Earlier in the day, when addressing a rally of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters in the northern province of Kastamonu, Erdoğan accused several accounts held on Twitter of violating the personal rights of many people, including himself and his ministers by delivering fake voice recordings, allegedly belonging to him and other officials.   

“We are not against the use of advanced technology, but unlawful use of it is not acceptable,” said Erdoğan. The PM also urged people not to write anything on the ballots, saying it would make their votes invalid. He also accused the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s movement of being against the Kurdish peace process.

Erdoğan said prosecutors linked to Gülen had released accounts of talks between Turkish officials and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, and had attempted to arrest the chief of the Turkish Intelligence Agency (MİT).

Erdoğan also alleged that MİT officials were manhandled by gendarmerie when an MİT truck was stopped on its way to Syria last month: “The MİT personnel were forced to lie down and were kicked by several officers; even the security officers of a foreign army would not do that, but the ‘parallel state’ did,” he said.

Touching upon the downing of a Syrian warplane by Turkish F-16 jets on March 23, Erdoğan claimed that it was “interesting” the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader reacted to it before the Syrian government.

“The CHP leader defends the Baath regime because they are no different,” said Erdoğan.