Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is waging a different kind of war to show his power—that is to shut down social media in his country. During a political rally at the western city of Bursa on March 20, the prime minister boasted of a court order that he can use to eradicate the popular microblogging platform Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR).
According to Prime Minister Erdogan, “We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”
Erdogan describe Twitter as a troublemaker
In June last year, Prime Minister Erdogan said Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is a trouble maker. According to him, “unmitigated lies” are posted and disseminated through the popular microblogging site. He added that false tweets misinform people. He said, “The thing that is called social media is a troublemaker in societies today.”
Last month, the prime minister also alleged that a “robot lobby” used Twitter messages to harm the progress of Turkey and damage the ruling Justice Development Party (AKP). He also questioned the authenticity of the new telephone recordings that were leaked in the internet.
“The robot lobby they set up on social media hits with tweets. They tell them to increase the number of tweets,” said Prime Minister Erdogan.
Twitter deletes fake accounts in Turkey
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) started deleting fake accounts created in Turkey after conducting a brief review on the complaints it received over the past two weeks. The company deleted the “bot” accounts regardless of political affiliations. In September, last year, Turkish media reported that the Justice Development Party created a team (6,000 members) to set the agenda, drive trends, and counter its critics on social media platforms.
Erdogan threatens to shut down Facebook, YouTube
Prior to threatening to eradicate Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdogan also stated his intention to shutdown Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and YouTube if necessary, two weeks ago.
“Whatever step is necessary, we will take it in the most precise way, including shutting down [both websites] because those people incite any kind of immorality or espionage for the profit of these institutions. There can be no such mentality of freedom,” said Prime Minister Erdogan during a previous interview on Turkish private broadcaster ATV.
On the other hand, Turkish President Abdullah Gül said banning Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and YouTube is “out of the question.” According to him, both platforms are very important. He added, “We always take a pride in enlarging freedom.”