Erdoğan vows to take strict measures against social media platforms
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed he will take strict measures against social media platforms following insults directed at his daughter and son-in-law after they announced the birth of their fourth child on Twitter.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will take a step for bill for stringent control over these platforms, he said, speaking at his party’s provincial heads meeting via videoconference on July 1.
“We are working on a legal regulation. This kind of media does not suit this nation, this country,” he said.
“As soon as we will bring it [bill] to our parliament, we want social media channels to be completely removed and controlled. I hope to deal with this issue before the legislative period ends,” Erdoğan said.
The government is determined to introduce legislation that would force social media companies to establish a legal presence in Turkey, he said, noting that the requirement would mean they could be held financially accountable and forced to respond to Turkish court decisions.
“Do you see why we oppose social media like YouTube, Twitter, Netflix, and so on?’’ Erdoğan said.
“Turkey is not a banana republic. We will snub those who snub this country’s executive and judicial bodies,” he stated.
“We will chase those who attack a baby that had just opened his eyes to the world and his family over the values they think they represent,” Erdoğan said, referring to an insult directed at his daughter Esra Albayrak and his son-in-law, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak upon their announcement of their newborn baby.
In the meantime, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on July 1 that some social media platforms pave the way for offenses such as sexual harassment, gambling, fraud and making terrorist propaganda.
"The said social media platforms do not contribute to the protection of our citizen's rights, on issues our laws deem as crimes and lay the groundwork for the commitment of these offenses, despite all our warnings," Altun said in a written statement.
Altun also said that the president's remarks were being taken out of context, adding the companies were asked to open offices in Turkey.
"It is a futile effort to try presenting our president's approach as repressive and prohibitionist," Altun said.
The AKP has long been considering amendments that would enable it to keep social media giants such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube under check by forcing them to remove content or risk facing heavy fines and restricted access to their platforms.
The AKP has carried out work in April for further measures on social network platforms under an omnibus bill as part of the struggle against the novel coronavirus but dropped the relevant article before it came to parliament’s agenda.