President Erdogan: Turkey will introduce strict social media controls

The announcement follows the arrest of several people for insulting Mr Erdogan’s daughter, who had a baby this week, on social media

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would regulate social media and shut down some platforms. Reuters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would regulate social media and shut down some platforms. Reuters

Turkey will introduce regulations to control social media platforms or shut them down, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday, pressing ahead with government plans after he said his family was insulted online.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, said on Twitter on Tuesday that his fourth child had been born.

Mr Albayrak’s wife Esra was insulted by some users, who were later detained,the Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said.

Speaking to members of his AK Party, Mr Erdogan repeated that his party would introduce new regulations to control the use of social media.

He said an increase in “immoral acts” on the platforms in recent years was due to a lack of regulation.

“These platforms do not suit this nation. We want to shut down, control [them] by bringing [a bill] to parliament as soon as possible,” he said.

He said social media companies would be forced to appoint representatives in Turkey to respond to legal requests, which he said were currently ignored.

“We are determined to do whatever is necessary for social media platforms to set up fiscal and legal representation in our country. We will implement access ban, legal and fiscal penalties after completion of the regulation,” Mr Erdogan said.

In April, the AK Party included similar measures on social media in a draft law mainly about economic measures against Covid-19. The draft law required companies to appoint representatives or have their bandwidth slashed by up to 95 per cent, which would effectively make them inaccessible.

The measures were later removed from the draft law but opposition members said they would come back on the agenda.

Ankara polices social media strictly, especially during sensitive periods such as military operations and the current coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey fiercely criticised Twitter in June for suspending more than 7,000 accounts that supported Mr Erdogan, saying the company was smearing the government and trying to redesign Turkish politics.

Updated: July 1, 2020 06:03 PM

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