TORONTO – Over the last week Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has provoked outrage in Turkey and abroad for trying to block citizens’ access to Twitter and YouTube.
Last Friday, Turkey’s telecommunications authority said it had blocked access to Twitter after Erdogan threatened to “rip out the roots” of the website following the spread of tweets with links to recordings that appeared to incriminate him and other top officials in corruption.
Similarly, on Thursday Turkish users were unable to access YouTube after an alleged audio recording of a meeting between Turkey’s foreign minister, intelligence chief, and top military and foreign ministry officials was leaked on the site.
He has also threatened to shut down Facebook access.
But Erdogan has never shied away from showing his true feelings about social media – in fact, he has been very vocal about it.
Here are some of the things Erdogan said about social media in the past
During the height of the June 2013 protests at Taksim Square:
“There is now a menace which is called Twitter,” Erdogan said.”The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”
During an interview two weeks before instating the ban on Twitter:
“We won’t allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering.”
During a rally on March 23:
“I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies,” he said. “I am obliged to take measures in the face of any attack threatening my country’s security, even if the world stands up against us.”
During the same rally on March 23:
“Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have to respect the Turkish Republic’s laws. Turkey is not a banana republic.”