Turkey PM Threatens Ban On Facebook And YouTube, Because He Doesn't Like His Internet Haters
On Friday, Turkey Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sent shockwaves through the country when he announced Turkey would ban YouTube and Facebook once local elections take place March 30. Erdogan's announcement comes shortly after audio recordings — which allegedly reveal Erdogan and his son engaging in corruption — leaked on (surprise!) websites like Facebook and YouTube. Another tape also leaked to YouTube that allegedly heard Erdogan call a newspaper owner and ask him to fire journalists.
Erdogan claimed the audio recordings were "vile" and "immoral" attempts by his political rivals to ruin his political chances with his Islamist AK Party. But his reasons for wanting to ban the two huge social media websites imply that there may be more behind the audio recordings than "vileness," huh? "We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook," Erdogan told Turkish broadcaster ATV today. "We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way."
The anchor asked if the steps included banning YouTube and Facebook in Turkey, to which Erdogan responded, "Included." He added that the websites are used for "all kinds of immorality, all kinds of espionage."
However, Turkish President Abdullah Gul stepped in several hours later to say that, no, there would be no sort of ban on Facebook and YouTube. "Closure [of Facebook and YouTube] is out of the question," Gul told Reuters. "We are always proud of the reforms we have made regarding the broadening of freedoms."
Gul has the power to veto laws in parliament, meaning that if Erdogan went through with trying to ban YouTube and Facebook, he'd have to have a showdown with his country's president.
Beyond that, Facebook boasts 34 million active Turkish users on a monthly basis. President Gul wouldn't be the only one opposing this measure. Likely, Erdogan wouldn't be able to have his way without a good political fight with the people of Turkey.