Erdogan Threatens to Probe Twitter for Tax Evasion

Turkey’s Prime Minister accuses Twitter of tax evasion, pledges to launch a probe against it.

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Elad Benari,

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

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused Twitter of tax evasion and pledged to launch a probe against it, reported the Anadolu news agency.

Speaking during the inauguration of a biological treatment facility in Istanbul, Erdogan said, “Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are companies established to make profit; these companies are making money.”

“Like any other international company, these companies must also come and comply with tax rules in accordance with my country’s constitution and laws,” he charged.

Erdogan added that the likes of Twitter had nothing to do with freedom and that the recent unblocking of Twitter was an “intervention in politics and administration”.

Erdogan on March 20 blocked access to the social media site after it had been used to spread a torrent of anonymous leaks implicating his inner circle in corruption.

However, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on April 2 that the country’s ban on Twitter violated people’s right to freedom of expression and demanded access be restored.

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

Erdogan said he had criticized these companies because they did not respect “our sacred values, our shared national values, because they do not comply with judicial decisions and because they became tools for attacking our national security,” according to Anadolu.

Several days after the ban was lifted, Erdogan stated 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," he said at the time. “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.”