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Erdogan Claims Social Media 'Disrespects National Values'

Reeling from a court ruling upholding the right to free speech on social media, Turkish Prime Minister slams US company over values.
By Tova Dvorin and Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/4/2014, 11:10 AM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated Friday that, while Twitter had been reinstituted in Turkey, he is not pleased with the decision. 

“We have to implement [the ruling], but we don't have to respect it," Erdogan stated, at a press conference. He claimed the decision disregarded Turkey’s “national values.”

“Not only Twitter, but YouTube and Facebook are commercial companies as well. I don’t find it right and patriotic that the Constitutional Court has adopted such a decision two days after a direct application in which there were so many files waiting to be reviewed at the Constitutional Court," he continued. "While they are protecting an American company, our national and moral values are being disregarded." 

“The decision was adopted without an appeal to the first instance courts and exhausting all legal avenues through directly applying to the Constitutional Court. The court should have refused it. Second, I don’t find the freedom approach appropriate because [Twitter] is a commercial company,” he said. “I want it to be known that when this decision was made, no precedents in the United States, in France or Spain had been taken into consideration." 

Turkey lifted the block on Twitter on Thursday, after its highest court declared that the ban breached the right to free speech. Erdogan shuttered access to the social media site in March after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption.

Turkey's NATO allies and international human rights groups strongly criticized the ban, as well a subsequent block of video-sharing website YouTube.

On Wednesday, Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled the Twitter ban violated free speech and ordered the communications ministry and telecoms authority to reverse it "with immediate effect."

The court thus upheld a ruling by a lower court, which last week ordered that the Twitter ban be lifted.