Turkey's Prime Minister Sues His Own Country Over Twitter

from the seriously-losing-it dept

As we’ve been reporting for nearly a year now, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, really hates Twitter. Indeed, it is arguably becoming something of an obsession for him, to the point where he has now taken the unprecedented step of suing his own country over it, as Hurriyet Daily News reports:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made an application to the Constitutional Court on April 18 over the failure to implement court rulings requesting the removal of content violating his rights, according to a senior official from his office. Erdoğan is seeking 50,000 Turkish Liras in compensation, Reuters reported.

The move has been described as a “first of its kind” by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) head Metin Feyzioğlu, who said the prime minister of Turkey had never before filed a lawsuit against the state.

“There is no precedent for the Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic to sue the Turkish Republic and demand compensation. This is happening for the first time,” said Feyzioğlu.

He also described Erdoğan’s application to the Constitutional Court as “unlawful,” on the grounds that domestic remedies had not yet been exhausted.

Those domestic remedies include filing a lawsuit against Twitter, which naturally seems to be trying to avoid that: on April 14, its head of global public policy held talks with officials from the prime minister’s office, the Communications Ministry and telecom authorities. The company has already made concessions, as this story from Agence France-Press indicates:

Twitter blocked two accounts on Sunday that had been used to spread corruption allegations against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his government and his inner circle.

The move came after high-level meetings between the government and executives from the company last week, and after the Turkish government provoked a storm in March by trying to ban the network entirely.

The two accounts blocked on Sunday — @Haramzadeler333 and @Bascalan — leaked large amounts of secret documents and recorded phone conversations implicating Erdogan, his family and associates in a wide-ranging corruption scandal.

It seems unlikely that blocking a couple of accounts will satisfy the Turkish prime minister — it may even embolden him. Expect to see further interesting developments in this long-running struggle pitting a popular but increasingly-autocratic Erdoğan against his political opponents and supporters of freedom of speech.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+

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Comments on “Turkey's Prime Minister Sues His Own Country Over Twitter”

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ricebowl (profile) says:

Twitter blocked two accounts on Sunday that had been used to spread corruption allegations against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his government and his inner circle.

The move came after high-level meetings between the government and executives from the company last week, and after the Turkish government provoked a storm in March by trying to ban the network entirely.

The two accounts blocked on Sunday — @Haramzadeler333 and @Bascalan — leaked large amounts of secret documents and recorded phone conversations implicating Erdogan, his family and associates in a wide-ranging corruption scandal.

But why is Twitter stifling speech critical of a government with, apparently-factual, evidence of corruption?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“But why is Twitter stifling speech critical of a government with, apparently-factual, evidence of corruption?”

Follow the money.

For the same reason that Twitter spy on you via TwitterBot, shadows every click you make and that Twitter hands your data to the highest bidder, but not to you and that Twitter Wants To Sell Information On Your Daily Routine To Advertisers.

Twitter is in the business of making money and that is ALL they are in business to do. If “making money” requires kissing Erdogan’s ass, and there’s enough money on the table, then they’ll do it. (Arguably: they already have.) They don’t care if he’s corrupt. They don’t care if he’s an autocratic asshole. They don’t care if he’s anything. All they care about are profits for Twitter. Profit is their only corporate value, and it trumps every other possible consideration at all times.

So please let’s not be naive and expect Twitter to nobly stand up for free speech and principle and truth: they’ll only do that when they calculate that doing so will increase profits — when it’s good PR or when they really have nothing to lose. But as your observation points out, they will NEVER take a stand when it’s going to really cost them. They’ll just trot out their corporate spokesliars to blather about how Twitter supports this and that and blah blah blah and then they’ll quietly give the dictators whatever they want.

Now…I’m sure someone from Twitter will read this and disagree with it. Fine. Here’s your chance to prove me wrong: (1) reinstate those two accounts and (2) Tell Erdogan, via your official Twitter account, to go fuck himself. Really. Those exact words. Let’s see if you have the stones to stand up to a tyrant or if you’re just a bunch of gutless posers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“But why is Twitter stifling speech critical of a government with, apparently-factual, evidence of corruption?”

It’s fascinating, really. Pop over to the articles on TAFTA/TTIP and everyone is complaining about corporate sovereignty and how international companies shouldn’t have the right to override domestic courts and legislatures. But come over here, and suddenly everyone is all for outright ignoring court orders that they don’t like.

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