Erdogan Mulls Blocking YouTube, Facebook amid New Recording Leaks
Turkey could block access to social media such as YouTube and Facebook, its Prime Minister announced on Thursday.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan added the measure could be approved and enacted after local elections, which will be held on March 30, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported, citing a live interview aired on TV channel ATV.
He was quoted as saying that he would take the step "if necessary", as he "would not sacrifice the Turkish people" to the two websites. He also claimed that through these social media, "immorality and espionage" is being incited.
The Turkish cabinet has already introduced a number of bills curbing Internet and press freedom, as well as subordinating judiciary to the executive, and some of them have been approved by the President.
Erdogan's latest plans come after a series of wiretapped recordings, allegedly with his voice, leaked on YouTube and claimed his involvement in cases of administrative power abuse, cronyism and meddling in the judiciary's affairs .
The most recent recording, uploaded on YouTube after having been leaked by Twitter on Thursday evening, purportedly contains a conversation between the Prime Minister and Bekir Bozdağ, who is presently Justice Minister.
The two discuss the selection of prosecutors for a graft probe made public on December 25 last year but successfully thwarted by the government.
Erdogan admitted the authenticity of some of the recordings. Others have been repeatedly described as "montage" by him and his ruling Party of Justice and Development, including the conversation leaked on February 24 featuring Erdogan talking to his son about hiding significant sums of cash.
Allegations of graft and administrative abuses, as well as corruption investigations into his Party of Justice and Development (AKP), have led to a political crisis which forced Erdogan to declare on Wednesday he would step down if his party did not come as a winner out of the March 30 local elections.
Turkey's Prime Minister, however, has also hinted that he could run for Prime Minister for the fourth consecutive time, although that would contradict his own party's internal regulation and short time ago was deemed unlikely.
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