Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he would tighten controls on social media, days after remarks were made on Twitter about his daughter and son-in-law.
“Turkey is not a banana republic,” Erdogan said in a televised address to his party members. “We will snub those who snub this country’s executive and judicial bodies.”
Erdogan’s eldest daughter, Esra Erdogan, and his son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak reportedly received what were called insulting tweets after the couple announced the birth of their fourth child on social media.
Eleven of 19 Twitter users who allegedly insulted Erdogan’s family were detained, Turkish police said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Do you understand now why we are against social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Netflix?” Erdogan ask while addressing his party. “These platforms do not suit this nation. We want to shut down, control [them] by bringing [a bill] to parliament as soon as possible.”
Rights groups have accused Erdogan of using the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to tighten controls on the media, with only a few independent publications continuing to report on the Turkish president’s handling of the pandemic.
Turkey’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, called Twitter a “propaganda machine” after it recently suspended 7,340 accounts. Twitter said the accounts were “employing coordinated inauthentic activity” promoting favorable narratives to Erdogan and his party.