— The Erimtan Angle —

Cenk Uygur and the Young Turks’ team talk about Tayyip Erdoğan’s attempt to throttle the freedom to tweet as you please . . . (20 April 2014).

Already a week ago now, the news agency Reuters reported that “Turkey urged executives from Twitter to open an office and start paying Turkish tax on Monday [, 14 April] in the first direct talks since a two-week ban imposed on the site as the government battled a corruption scandal. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites. The block was lifted 10 days ago after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains largely blocked in Turkey. The prime minister on Saturday [, 12 April] accused Twitter of being a ‘tax evader’, repeating his combative stance ahead of the talks between his government and the San Francisco-based company”.[1]

As for the Gezi protesters who got arrested on account of their tweets, late in February Today’s Zaman reported that at “the first hearing of a trial of 29 Gezi protesters over messages they posted on Twitter, a lawyer of several defendants has demanded that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attend the next hearing to testify as he is named as the sole victim in the indictment. According to an indictment completed by an İzmir prosecutor last week, three years’ imprisonment is being sought for 29 Gezi protesters for the Twitter messages. In the indictment, Erdoğan is seen as the sole victim of the tweets that the protesters sent and the plaintiff is written as ‘civil law’ in the indictment. In the first hearing of the trial at the İzmir 1st Criminal Court on Monday, lawyer Can Onur told the court that if Erdoğan is the victim of the case, he should be called to testify. Another lawyer, Eren İlhan Güney, told the judge that Erdoğan is seen as the sole victim in the indictment, but the ‘actual victims are the protesters and their families in the courtroom’. The protesters’ Twitter messages are considered as an organized crime activity by the prosecutor who completed the indictment, Turkish media reported”.[2]

The report explains that “[d]uring [Gezi] protests on May 31, 2013, hundreds of people were detained but later released. Seventy-four protesters faced criminal charges of inciting violence and damaging public property as well as being members of terrorist organizations bent on destroying public order. The investigation started on June 5, 2013, by the İzmir Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit. Thirty-nine people were detained for Twitter messages which were considered offensive and provocative. In the indictment it was stated that 33 banks, 17 ATM machines, 75 shops, 10 houses, 20 police cars and 31 private cars were damaged but that there was no proof that the 29 on trial took part in these incidents”.[3]


[1] Orhan Çoşkun, ” Turkey accuses Twitter of ‘tax evasion’, calls for local office” Reuters (14 April 2014). http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/14/us-turkey-twitter-idUSBREA3D0TY20140414.

[2] “Gezi protests’ Twitter suspects demand Erdoğan testify as victim” Today’s Zaman (24 February 2014). http://www.todayszaman.com/news-340332-gezi-protests-twitter-suspects-demand-erdogan-testify-as-victim.html.

[3] “Gezi protests’ Twitter suspects demand Erdoğan testify as victim”.


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