Twitter shouldn’t let itself become a tool for tyrants


Date posted: October 7, 2016

Washington Post Editorial Board

PRESIDENT RECEP Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has announced a three-month extension of the state of emergency imposed after a failed July 15 coup attempt, giving him broad powers to rule by decree. He has launched a massive crackdown against followers of the self-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Mr. Erdogan accuses of instigating the attempted overthrow. Mr. Gulen denies it. More than 30,000 Turkish citizens have been arrested and upward of 100,000 people accused, many without due process. On Tuesday, authorities announced that 12,800 police officers had been suspended on suspicion of being part of Mr. Gulen’s network.

Journalists have been in Mr. Erdogan’s crosshairs, and his campaign is pushing into the digital universe, too. Turkey is pressing Twitter to silence journalists, and Twitter must resist more vigorously. Twitter is a powerful force for free expression. “The tweets must flow,” the company likes to say. But they don’t always flow, as freedom of speech and democracy are in retreat around the globe. Mr. Erdogan briefly banned Twitter in 2014 to block messages about a corruption scandal. After Twitter returned, Turkish authorities submitted long lists of accounts they wanted banned, but Twitter for the most part protected journalists and did not switch them off. After the coup attempt, however, new court orders were issued and Twitter was asked to hush accounts, some belonging to journalists from the newspaper Zaman, close to the Gulen movement, that was seized in March and then shuttered. Twitter has switched off a number of the accounts — by one reckoning, several dozen.

One of them belongs to journalist Mahir Zeynalov, who was deported by Turkey in 2014 for his criticism and now writes for the Huffington Post and Al Arabiya. When a court ordered his English account shut in Turkey and Twitter did so, he and others protested, and it was unblocked. But now Mr. Zeynalov has found that, at the behest of a Turkish court, Twitter has blocked his Turkish-language account inside Turkey.

Twitter says that it follows the laws of a country when it gets a “a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity.” But what happens when a law is used to silence political speech? Turkey has asked Twitter to restrict accounts more often this year than any other country in the world, according to Twitter’s transparency reports; Turkey made 2,493 requests covering 14,953 accounts, and Twitter complied 23 percent of the time. Twitter ought to see that in Turkey, as in other closed societies, laws are often used to restrict freedoms rather than protect them. It should keep journalists’ accounts open and not become a tool of repression for Mr. Erdogan.

Source: Washington Post , October 6, 2016


Related News

Swiss investigate spying on Turkish community

The Swiss foreign minister told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Switzerland would “rigorously investigate” any illegal spying by Ankara on expatriate Turks before an April 16 referendum that could expand Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers.

Turkish imams spied on Gülen sympathizers in Romania as well

A report published by The Black Sea news website on Saturday revealed that imams from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) spied on people sympathetic to Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement he inspired in Romania as well.

Gülen calls on int’l community to pressure Turkey over rights violations

Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has made a call to the international community, asking them to warn Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures to restore the rule of law and protect fundamental human rights in the country.

Kyrgyz court overturns extradition of suspected Gülenists to Turkey

A Kyrgyzstan court on Tuesday overturned a decision by the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office to extradite two people to Turkey to face charges of membership of the banned Gülen movement, The Diplomat reported.

Please do not insult the intelligence of the people

The government’s defensive position could have been understandable had it not removed the police chiefs who did the investigation from their positions, almost as a punishment.

At least 275 including elderly woman detained over Gulen links over past day

At least 275 people were detained over their alleged links to the Gulen movement, according to Turkish media. Among the accusations raised against the detainees were to have raised money for Turkey’s post-coup victims, whether be relatives of those earlier arrested or those dismissed from their jobs.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

‘Building Bridges Through Education’ explores education’s role in a globalized society

Woman Detained At Hospital, Jailed With 3-Day-Old Baby In Turkey Over Alleged Gülen Links

Sweden delays sending back Erdogan dissenters

We must have more empathy for people fleeing for their lives around the world

Hizmet, politics and political parties

Volunteer doctors to perform surgeries in Mali under leadership of Kimse Yok Mu

Ex-minister denies claims over helping ‘parallel structure’ while in office

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News