Turkish government, Twitter working on roadmap for Turkey office

Turkish government, Twitter working on roadmap for Turkey office

Turkish government, Twitter working on roadmap for Turkey office

The government is working to ‘ease worries’ of Twitter representatives on way to a new Turkey office, Communications Minister Yıldırım says. AA photo

Government officials have been in contact with Twitter representatives over potential changes to present laws, requested by the company as preconditions to the opening of an office in Turkey, daily Radikal reported.

Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım said they were working on changes to certain laws that paved the way for prison sentences for Twitter representatives over material posted on the micro-blogging website.

The company had reservations regarding a new Turkey office, which the government is currently working on, according to Yıldırım, in order to “ease their worries,” including a possible change of jail time to monetary fines.

Yıldırım said social media was “a place of freedom” but had to have its limits.

“It will not be a place to encourage criminal activities, to ruin lives. Many people came to us to complain of fake accounts committing crimes under their names,” Yıldırım added.

Those in security and those in social media ought to be in a close partnership to prevent similar activities, according to Yıldırım, who mentioned past meetings with social media representatives that occurred recently in the United States.

“Eventually they will have to cooperate. I believe the meetings went well. They have been more sensitive in the face of certain event after the meetings,” Yıldırım said.

Sense of responsibility needed, minister says

Social media has to have a sense of responsibility, the minister added, while dismissing the time overlap of Twitter meetings and Gezi protests as “coincidence.”

The government attitude toward social media outlets has become harsher over the past few months, since outlets like Twitter and Facebook became crucial to Gezi Park protesters.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had even described Twitter as “trouble” in a television interview, saying, “There is a trouble called Twitter. Unmitigated lies are there [on Twitter]. The thing that is called social media is a troublemaker in societies today.”

Just several days ago, the prime minister’s lawyers filed lawsuits against parody accounts set up in his name.