Turkey: Erdoğan cracks down on social media

Turkey's President Erdoğan has announced plans for tight controls on social media, with the possibility of them even being shut down. He explained the move saying it was necessary to protect citizens from hate, threats and terror propaganda. Opponents of the government fear a new phase of censorship. Press voices in the country are divided.

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Tear gas won't help on the Internet

The government has chosen the wrong opponent, Cumhuriyet comments:

“It is not particularly wise to pull new problems out of the hat, and even to pick fights with those parts of society that are not to blame for these problems, in other words the majority, instead of tackling the sources of the problems. ... Even if their grandfathers and grandmothers, fathers and mothers are silent (and now they are no longer silent), the kids are coming out with 'Dislike' banners in their hands. And they're emerging where neither tear gas nor rubber bullets can touch them. And if you tried to go at them with truncheons you'd only destroy your own screen.”

Yeni Akit (TR) /

Trolls in a panic

The pro-government paper Yeni Akit says the opposition is only against the draft law introducing social media restriction because it means it would lose its trolls on the Internet:

“What are you afraid of? Why are you so furious? Why are you so worried if you haven't done anything wrong? Are you afraid that the [opposition] CHP party's troll agency will be exposed? Are you sad because the keyboard terrorists you're funding will go silent? Are you afraid that these nameless imposters, provocateurs and traitors to the fatherland will be unmasked? Are you panicking because the identity of those dishonorable people who inadvertently spread the same slander on their official and troll accounts will be exposed?”

Hürriyet (TR) /

Social media are regulated everywhere

President Erdoğan has brought up an important issue, the pro-government daily Hürriyet finds:

“There is organised malice on social media. The well behaved are on leashes while the vicious have been set free. This situation must be corrected. At the same time, those who use social media properly must not be punished. But now people are claiming that the social media are being shut down. The US, Germany, France, Belgium and England also regulate social media. At the same time social media in these countries are in the strongest position. So if the US and Europe take action this doesn't mean they're trying to shut down social media, but if Turkey takes action, it does? Well let's just allow newborns to be insulted [in this case Erdogan's youngest grandchild, who was denigrated on Twitter].”

T24 (TR) /

Last stand before the end

Erdoğan's insatiable thirst for control will cost him his job, T24 comments:

“Although it looks like the government camp's intention is to prevent insults, its true objective is to prevent the opposition from using social media as a communication platform. They spent a few billion dollars from the state treasury in the belief that this would allow them to bring the entire media landscape under their control. But what they have achieved is that the opposition has re-emerged as a strong voice in social media. Now they believe they can solve this problem by banning it. ... But don't forget: as long as the unemployment figures keep rising and food prices increase at twice the fabricated inflation rate, your end is inevitable.”