News / Europe

Turkey Internet Curbs Don’t Hurt Erdogan

Turkey Internet Curbs Don’t Hurt Erdogani
X
March 28, 2014 5:38 PM
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to shut down the social media network Twitter and the video-sharing website YouTube have been more controversial abroad than they have been inside Turkey. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London on how the issue fits into Turkey’s complex political landscape.
Al Pessin
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s efforts to shut down the social media network Twitter and the video-sharing website YouTube have been more controversial abroad than they have been inside Turkey.  The issue fits into Turkey’s complex political landscape.

The latest Internet posting that angered the Turkish government is an audio recording and transcript of a meeting of top officials, discussing military operations and other secret matters.

As a result, YouTube was blocked throughout Turkey, as Twitter had been a few days earlier.  The popular micro-blogging service based in California angered Turkish officials when a user posted an Internet link to a secret government report on corruption.

Some Turks are concerned and defiant.

One woman, Aylin Vural said,"He thinks we cannot criticize him if he shuts down Twitter, but our struggle will continue. Nothing will change despite the ban."

Another woman, Demet Toprak, added, "I wonder how far they will go to curb our freedom. First Twitter, now YouTube. What’s next?  Facebook?  When will this end?"

Turkey’s president joined in the criticism, via his own Twitter feed. But the anger was limited.  Only 15 percent of Turks use Twitter.  Only a third of the population is on the Internet at all.

That may help explain why an angry Prime Minister Erdogan drew large crowds at campaign rallies this week for local elections to be held on Sunday.  He called whoever posted the secret recording “villainous” and dishonest.

“[The] majority of Turks are conservative, nationalist and religious. The key criteria for his core supporters is the state of the economy, rather than the persuasiveness of corruption allegations or the issue of media freedoms,” said Turkey expert Fadi Hakura, with London’s Chatham House.

Still, the latest moves could cut off an important avenue for political engagement by Turkey’s young generation according to Paul Dwyer of the Center for Social Media Research at London’s University of Westminster, who spoke via another Internet service, Skype. “This is one of the ways in which young people today do engage with politics, and particularly in societies like Turkey, where democracy is still a relatively new phenomenon,” he explained.

For now, internet-savvy Turks will have to rely on workarounds, some published by Twitter itself, to continue using what one expert calls their country’s “last preserve of freedom of information.”

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs