Turkey PM Erdogan compares social media to 'murderer's knife'

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara on Aug 14, 2014. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014, launched a blistering n
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the party headquarters in Ankara on Aug 14, 2014. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Aug 14, 2014, launched a blistering new assault on social media, comparing the likes of Twitter to a "scalpel in the hand of a surgeon" and a "knife in the hand of a murderer". -- PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday launched a blistering new assault on social media, comparing the likes of Twitter to a "scalpel in the hand of a surgeon" and a "knife in the hand of a murderer".

Although many other world leaders are enthusiastic Twitter users, Mr Erdogan has long scorned social media, especially since anti-government protests last year and a torrent of corruption allegations against his circle.

"I don't speak via social media. I don't like to tweet, schmeet, because you know what they cause in society," Erdogan told regional heads of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Ankara.

"I compare them to a scalpel in the hand of a surgeon, and a knife in the hand of a murderer," he said.

Mr Erdogan, who once branded Twitter as a "troublemaker" for being used to organise mass street protests against his government last year, accused social media of aiding the drugs trade with youths.

He said social media "does not save lives but extinguishes them".

"Therefore, as AK Party, which adopts the ideal of a conservative society and conservative families I believe we have much more sensitivity," he added.

Mr Erdogan, who was elected as Turkey's new president in Aug 10 polls, will be inaugurated as head of state on Aug 28.

The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating the prime minister and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal.

The blanket ban on social media was later overturned by the country's top constitutional court that ruled that it was a breach of free speech.

Ironically, many key government figures including Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek (@memetsimsek) and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutloglu (@Ahmet-Davutoglu) have official Twitter accounts where they post key announcements.

There is an Erdogan Twitter feed with over 4.5 million followers (@RT-Erdogan) but it is not believed to be an official account.

One world leader who may sympathise with Mr Erdogan is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who once denounced the Internet as "half pornography".