Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again launched a scathing attack on social media and non-governmental media in his country, saying that they “constitute a threat to democracy, social peace and national security”, during his video speech broadcast at the media forum of the “Council of Speaking Countries”. In Turkish”, which was established in 2009 in the Nakhichevan region, which is under the control of Azerbaijan, although it is located outside its borders.
Erdogan also said during his virtual participation in the “media forum” of the Council of Turkic-speaking countries, held in Istanbul under the auspices of the “communication department” of the Turkish presidency: “Just as we do not completely depend on foreigners in the fields of defense industries and military affairs, we cannot entrust others with communications issues.” Adding, in clear defiance of international organizations that criticize the reality of media and freedoms in Turkey, “We also cannot trust the conscience of those who constantly give us lessons in the field of human rights, democracy and freedoms, nor their professional ethics.”
“The government believes that it has somehow controlled the traditional media, and therefore it sees in the democracy that social media provides,” said Ulku Sahin, a Turkish lawyer working for the Turkish Journalists Union, or TGS, which is the oldest press syndicate operating in Turkey since 1952. The social threat to her, which is why she wants to keep her under pressure and control.”
She told Al Arabiya.net, “Last year, social media service providers were pressured through a new law passed by parliament, yet there is another law that the government says is necessary to fight false news and misinformation.”
She revealed: “So far, there is no draft of what the government describes as the law to combat misleading content,” but a source in the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, revealed to Al-Arabiya.net that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s deputies and its ally in the National Movement Party Right-wingers are preparing to submit a new proposal to Parliament in the coming period to pass legislation that further limits the freedom of the media and social networking sites.
Erdogan, “The Turkish world,” referring to the Turkic-speaking countries that joined the council supported by Ankara, namely Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and others, should exchange experiences in the communication sector and “examine ways to make the most effective use of the available self-potential.”
He added also said in his recorded speech today: “We have to manage ourselves in the field of media and communication, as in other strategic issues,” which is the second time he has threatened the media and social media platforms in less than two months.
The Turkish president also justified his hostile stance on social media by saying that “Turks resent the double standards in the international media, in addition to their discontent” with what he called “digital fascism.”
In his fierce attack on the means of communication, President Erdoğan referred to the spread of social media in the world and the “disinformation campaigns that are being used using it, which also affects Turkey.”
He also warned that “uncensored social media has become a threat to democracy, social peace and national security for countries,” justifying that millions of defenseless people in the world are subjected to injustice and suffer serious trauma due to distorted and false news.
In late July of last year, Ankara passed a law on social networking sites, according to which some major communication companies were forced to appoint representatives, with the aim of controlling the content provided by these sites related to Turkey, in addition to imposing financial fines on these companies if they do not It responds to the law passed by the Turkish parliament after it was introduced by deputies of the ruling party and its ally in the Nationalist Movement Party.
Turkey has also maintained its position as a “not free” country, according to the classification of the American organization “Freedom House”, for consecutive years since 2014.
Last year, Turkey ranked 154 out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders.