A few years ago, we wrote about attempts in Turkey to ban YouTube
and some other social media sites under orders from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. We followed up some of those stories, in 2010, by noting that Turkey's President, Abdullah Gul, had spoken out against
those bans and was looking for ways to end them. So, we had to check the dates on new articles, when we saw late last week that Prime Minister Erdogan was, once again, talking about plans to ban YouTube and Facebook
The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Facebook and YouTube could be banned following local elections in March after leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son went viral, prompting calls for his resignation.
Erdogan claims social media sites have been abused by his political enemies, in particular his former ally US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who, he says, is behind a stream of "fabricated" audio recordings posted on the internet purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.
"We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook," Erdogan said in an interview late on Thursday with the Turkish broadcaster ATV. "We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way."
And, within a day, there was President Gul saying that such bans were not on the table
“Things like YouTube and Facebook are accepted all around the world, and their closure cannot be of discussion,” Mr. Gul said Friday in televised remarks. “Reversing on liberties is out of the question in Turkey. We always feel proud of reforms that enhance freedoms; they will always proceed further.”
Of course, just last month, it was Gul who approved new censorship laws
in Turkey. While he did get the new law amended to address some of the criticism, he still approved the final law, which has serious problems. Either way, it appears that internet censorship remains a very popular tool for insecure Turkish politicians.