Turkish President Slams The Internet


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the internet during a meeting with a group of journalists and free speech activists, while defending his country’s record on press freedom, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Friday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

“I am increasingly against the internet every day,” he reportedly told the delegation in Ankara, saying criminal and terrorist organizations were exploiting the technology.

Erdogan has a history of lashing out against social media and oversaw laws passed this year that tightened the government’s control over the internet.

“Media should never have been given the liberty to insult,” Erdogan said, criticizing coverage of the Gezi Park anti-government protests last year.

Erdogan has been accused by critics of presiding over a drift towards authoritarianism, including crackdowns on political dissent. Despite signs that some journalists have been freed, a high number still remain behind bars in the country.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has meanwhile launched an attack on a decision by the Constitutional Court, which struck down parts of a new law that allowed government agencies to store internet users’ data and shut down website without a court order.

The premier said that the law was intended to protect people from being insulted online and that personal rights could now be violated.

The court was ruling on an appeal against the regulations, which had argued the law would restrict access to the internet and violate privacy.

Twitter and YouTube were closed down for brief periods this year and were only reopened after a court order.

Protesters used social media during last year’s anti-government demonstrations. The platforms were used again this year to spread audio recordings containing corruption allegations against the government and business leaders.

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