Ankara slams social media for role in protests

AFP , Friday 28 Jun 2013

Turkey's Transportation and Communications Minister calls Twitter a 'crime', denounces the micro-blogging site for refusing to deliver personal information on its users

Turkey's government launched an attack on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook on Friday, saying they had been used as a tool for "chaos and disorder" during the country's recent unrest.

"Yes to the Internet ... but an absolute no to its misuse as a tool for crimes, violence, chaos and disorder," Turkey's Transportation and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim was quoted as saying by the local Dogan news agency.

Yildirim called on social media networks to cooperate with authorities as they probe the deadly unrest that has threatened to shake the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) to its core.

Protesters relied heavily on social media to organise the nationwide protests after local media initially offered a limited coverage of the unrest, one of the worst in decades.

This prompted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lash out at Twitter at the start of the unrest, branding it a "troublemaker" and accusing the online messaging service of spreading "lies".

Yildirim said some people had used the Internet to inflame the riots and defame officials, stressing: "If there is a crime, it is a crime both in the real and virtual domains."

The minister criticised Twitter on Monday for rejecting Ankara's requests to deliver personal information on its users.

Facebook has also announced it would not disclose user information outside formal legal channels, unless "there is an immediate threat to life or a child, which has been the case in only a small fraction of the requests."

The government has been urging Twitter to open up a representative branch in Turkey and pay taxes, a demand that saw to the blocking of YouTube for more than two years in 2008.

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