Turkish President Turns on Erdogan over Facebook, YouTube Ban
Abdullah Gul, the President of Turkey, declared himself against a possible ban on social media.
On Friday, he announced a blockade of Facebook and YouTube that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had suggested earlier is "out of question", as he was quoted as saying by German magazine Der Spiegel.
Gul's statement suggests he is at odds with Erdogan over the issue, after backing a series of controversial bills which are thought to tighten the ruling party's grip over the country.
On Thursday evening, Erdogan said a ban on the two websites 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 Prime Minister has repeatedly put the blame for the scandal at US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who, as he believes, is leading a media war against the government and uses social media to exert great influence.