Turkey’s finance minister uses Twitter for tax inspections

Turkey’s finance minister uses Twitter for tax inspections

Zeynep Gürcanlı / Aysel Alp ANKARA
Turkey’s finance minister uses Twitter for tax inspections

Mehmet Şimşek is one of the most active Twitter users in the Turkish government.

The government’s ongoing frequent measures against the Internet may have irked many social media users in Turkey, but one fan of microblogging site Twitter is Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, who said he uses Twitter for pinpoint tax inspections.

“I have many followers on Twitter. They tweet me their shopping receipts from time to time to notify me about irregularities. And I instantly send comptrollers,” Şimşek told daily Hürriyet.

The minister cited one example in which a citizen notified him through Twitter after discovering that he was only the second customer of the day at a restaurant according to the receipt, despite the fact that it was in the evening at a popular venue. Şimşek said he instantly sent the Finance Ministry teams in and “what is necessary was done.”

He was keen to stress that his ministry used other unorthodox innovations for inspections, along with social media. “For instance, we compare the sugar expense recordings of pastry shops with their declarations for cake sales. Finance Ministry teams recently initiated a review on a pastry shop because there was a significant disparity between these numbers,” he said.

Several government figures use Twitter and other social media channels actively. Meanwhile, the “domestic security package” that the government is preparing is expected to introduce unprecedented new measures on social media.

The Constitutional Court overturned on Oct. 2 a controversial law that gave Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate’s (TİB) the authority to close websites within four hours on the basis of national security, protecting public order, or preventing crime.