‘We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter.’

Terrence McCoy at The Washington Post reports:

Two weeks ago, after the February release of recordings which show someone sounding like [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan telling his son to dispose of a large sum of cash, the prime minister went ballistic. He called the recordings a “fabrication” and ultimately blamed social media.

“We are determined on the issue, regardless of what the world may say,” Erdogan said. “We won’t allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering.” …

Thursday, Erdogan had had enough of Twitter. “We will wipe out all of these,” Erdogan proclaimed.

Hours later, according to local media, anyone in Turkey who tried to access Twitter was directed to another website listing three court rulings as reason for the shutdown.

And a bit more of the history:

Erdogan’s showdown with Twitter has been long coming. In mid-2013, thousands of protests ripped across Turkey ostensibly in opposition to a proposed urban development of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. But many say that discontent was more rooted in the government’s shift away from secularism — Erdogan is Muslim — and its recent crackdown on freedom of press and expression.

As in other countries, social media played a major role in the protests, which included as many as 3.5 million people in a nation of 81 million. Erdogan was outraged and called all social media the “worst menace to society.”

No, prime minister; sounds like that would be you.

Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy. Before coming to UCLA, he clerked for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court and for Judge Alex Kozinski on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Volokh is the author of the textbooks The First Amendment and Related Statutes (4th ed. 2011), The Religion Clauses and Related Statutes (2005), and Academic Legal Writing (4th ed. 2010), as well as over 70 law review articles. Volokh is also an Academic Affiliate for the Mayer Brown LLP law firm.
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Eugene Volokh | March 21