A spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party on Wednesday labeled the Twitter social media website to be "deadlier than car bombs."
AKP public relations director Ali Sahin threatened a broad regulation of the internet site as a solution to ending the nationwide anti-government protests, according to AntiWar.com . Sahin claimed in a scathing statement that Twitter is part of a "conspiracy" of social media against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish prime minister last week lambasted Twitter and other social networks as "the worst menace to society," saying the sites allowed individual protesters to undermine the government.
Turkish police in Adana have begun to round up large numbers of Twitter and Facebook users in the country, with at least 13 arrested so far on charges of inciting protests and orchestrating attacks on police, according to Iranian Press TV.
One week ago, 25 people were detailed for tweeting posts on Twitter that police claimed were "misleading and libelous," the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
Dozens of others who post on the site have been arrested since the protests began on May 31. Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) official Ali Engin told Press TV the tweeters were arrested for "calling on people to protest."
The protests began peacefully in response to a plan to redevelop Gezi Park, Istanbul’s last green public space, into office buildings, condominiums, a mall and a network of underground traffic tunnels. A brutal police response to the protests, however, soon inflamed passions and inspired citizens across the country to demonstrate in solidarity with the protesters of Istanbul.
The protests have since spread, and morphed into a groundswell of discontent and calls for a new government. Erdogan, for his part, has said his patience is not endless and this week unleashed security forces and bulldozers to begin clearing out protester tents from the public squares in Adana and the capital, Ankara.
Hundreds have been injured and at least five have been killed so far in the 11 days since the protests began.
Gezi Park, located in the Taksim Square area, has for decades been the city’s traditional gathering spot for rallies and demonstrations. It is also a popular tourist destination.