On July 1st, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to tighten government control over all social media.
This was reportedly a result of insults directed at his daughter and son-in-law when they announced the birth of their fourth child on Twitter.
Today, #Turkey's President declared his intention to kill all social media outlets, the last remaining platform for independent and critical journalism.
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) July 1, 2020
Addressing his party’s provincial leaders on conference call, Erdogan threatened new legislation by the year’s end to stringently regulate “immoral” social media.
“Do you understand why we are against social media such as YouTube, Twitter and Netflix? To eradicate such immorality,” Erdogan said.
He said his government is determined to introduce legislation that would force social media companies to establish a legal presence in Turkey.
The requirement would mean they could be held financially accountable and forced to respond to Turkish court decisions.
Arayan, mesaj atan ve hayır duada bulunan herkese teşekkür ederiz 😊
Allah (cc) evlat isteyenlere bu eșsiz duyguyu lütfetsin, türlü sebeplerle evlat hasreti çekenlere de sabır ve metanet versin 🤲#HoşGeldinHamzaSalih
— Berat Albayrak (@BeratAlbayrak) June 30, 2020
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is married to Erdogan’s daughter Esra, announced the birth of their fourth child, Hamza Salih, on Twitter.
Erdogan said investigations were under way against those who “attacked” his family by “abusing a newborn”.
“We will keep chasing these cowards who attack a family and the values they believe represented by them through a baby,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan blamed the issue on global social media companies, based in Western nations for “turning a blind eye” to Turkey.
“We experienced similar attacks in the past. The lack of monitoring on these platforms have a role in the rise of this sort of immoral behaviour,” he said.
“These platforms do not suit this country. We want these platforms to be banned, taken under control.”
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said a number of social media users had been detained overnight for allegedly posting insulting tweets.
Turkish authorities have previously imposed temporary blocks on Twitter and other social media during crises, for example, following an air attack in Syria’s Idlib that killed dozens of Turkish soldiers in February this year.
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