Erdogan says Turkey could ban Facebook and YouTube

Locked in power struggle with former ally, Turkish prime minister aims to quell abuse by his political enemies on internet sites.

Facebook on iPhone 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Facebook on iPhone 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been abused by his political enemies, after local elections on March 30.
Erdogan is locked in a power struggle with the US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally who he says is behind a stream of "fabricated" audio recordings posted on the Internet allegedly revealing corruption in his inner circle.
"We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook," Erdogan said in a late night interview with the Turkish broadcaster ATV.
Asked if the possible barring of these sites was included in his planned measures, he said: "Included."
Erdogan says the release of his purported conversations is part of a campaign to discredit him. Gulen denies any involvement in the recordings, and rejects allegations that he is using a network of proteges to try to influence politics in Turkey.

His problems began in earnest last year with the outbreak of the Gezi Park protests, and a corruption scandal at the highest levels of his government, putting continued leadership in serious jeopardy.

The military coup in Egypt, which ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, worked to begin a regional pushback against Islamist leadership.

Erdogan’s ruling Islamist AKP party as well as large parts of the bureaucracy have been penetrated by the Hizmet movement of Gulen.

Ariel Ben Solomon contributed to this report.