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Turkish PM warns of Facebook and YouTube ban

Ankara, Mar 9 (): The prime minister of Turkey has cautioned he may hinder access to YouTube and Facebook as they are being misused by his political enemies.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said the sites could be closed to stop his enemies secretly posting audio recordings supposedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.

In a late-night television interview on Thursday by Tayyip Erdogan, he had said that his government was firm to stop the leaks, which he claims are being prompted by followers of an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric. He said new steps would be taken in that domain after March 30, including a ban on YouTube and Facebook.

Already, he had tightened his government’s rule over the Internet, creating criticism abroad and at home about rights in the EU-hopeful country.

Erdogan, Turkey’s powerful leader from 2003 has been under growing pressure after the leak of audio recordings last month in which he and his son supposedly talk about how to hide vast sums of money.

The premier of Turkey dismissed the audio recordings as an “immoral” and a “vile” tableau by foes ahead of the vital local elections that are scheduled for March 30. His office too claimed that the recordings were “entirely untrue”. A series of other leaks on YouTube showed Erdogan supposedly interfering in court cases and trade deals.

Erdogan’s government has been involved in scandal in recent times following a prominent corruption investigation that activated the resignation of three ministers and a cabinet rearrangement. Erdogan asserts the probe is an effort by his political foes to dishonour his government.

Erdogan has taken a number of steps to hinder the corruption examination, including eradicating hundreds of prosecutors and police officers and increasing government controls over the judiciary and the Internet. The new Internet restrictions have sparked violent protests in Istanbul.