Responding ever more aggressively to on-going accusations over corruption, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that following local elections in March he plans to ban YouTube and Facebook. He told Turkish broadcaster ATV in an interview on Thursday that,
‘We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook. We will take the necessary steps in the strongest way.’
The move follows leaked tapes of an alleged phone call between him and his son which implicated Erdoğan’s inner circle in corruption, and which has since gone viral across social networks.
Erdoğan claims that the tapes are ‘fabricated’, and blames his once friend, now enemy, Fethullah Gülen (a Turkish Muslim cleric now living in the US) for trying to discredit him and destabilize his government. Gülen denies any involvement.
Erdoğan’s announcement follows a week in which more (allegedly) incriminating recordings have turned up on YouTube, and in which Erdoğan is reported to have suggested to the owner of Milliyet newspaper that he sack two journalists responsible for a front-page story about Kurdish peace talk efforts.
Combined with the recent changes to Law 5651, this announcement demonstrates that Turkey is becoming an ‘increasingly difficult place for its citizens.’ If you live there and want uncensored access to Facebook, YouTube, and international news reports, then VPN is the answer, as it provides a securely encrypted tunnel to a server outside the country, allowing for uncensored internet access that is free from surveillance.