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Turkey warns that YouTube and Facebook could be banned

Published on Mar 8, 2014 6:30 AM
This picture released by the Turkish Prime Minister's office shows Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressing a rally of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Nigde on March 3, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey's embattled prime minister has warned that his government could ban popular social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a number of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposals to tighten the government's grip over the Internet have generated criticism at home and abroad about rights in the EU-hopeful country.

"There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30...including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook)," Mr Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview late Thursday.

The US State Department on Friday criticised Mr Erdogan's remarks and expressed concern over "any suggestion that social media sites could be shut down, as the Internet law is implemented." "We're looking to Turkey to uphold its commitment to respect fundamental freedoms of expression... Independent and free media are essential to an open society and an accountable system of government," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a news briefing.

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