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Restricting social media "never an option": Turkish communications minister

26 June 2013 13:44 (Last updated 26 June 2013 13:47)
Minister Yildirim said such restrictions were against the nature of social media.

ANKARA

Turkish government would never consider putting restrictions on the use of social media in the country, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yildirim said.

The government announced in its recent five-year development plan a fortnight ago that it would move to "take measures so as to decrease the harmful effects of social media on families."

Yildirim said any measures would serve to prevent social media from becoming an instrument of criminal activity.

"Such issues were encountered quite frequently during Gezi protests," he said, referring to the opening of numerous fake accounts on social sharing websites with the apparent goal of lending support to the three-week long demonstrations across the country.

Government officials contacted many social media outlets and asked them for their cooperation, the minister said.

Twitter was among those solicited, but did not welcome the proposal, Yildirim said.

"This is important, of course. If you are operating in this country, you should collaborate with the judiciary and security forces in criminal matters. That's how it works in all countries," he said.

"We have seen the trouble this creates. [But] what needs to be done is not to subdue the voice of social media or impose restrictions on it. This is a method that should never be considered. This is against the nature [of social media]."

Turkish Communications Minister Yildirim called on all social media websites to open offices in Turkey.

"Come and be a part of Turkish legal system. It wouldn't harm anyone," he said. "We would like to be able to get in touch with a contact person in Turkey when tax officials or police or any other government body applies to us for information.”

“We can't be struggling to reach someone in the US with an eight-hour time difference."

Turkey suffers "weakness in IT infrastructure"

"The fact that our information tours many countries before reaching Turkey has been discovered to be a source of weakness, both in terms of information security and IT infrastructure," Yildirim said.

Turkey works to improve on the issue with a new project and has established its monitoring body which stands guard twenty-four hours for possible cyber-attacks, he added.

englishnews@aa.com.tr

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