Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in a speech after visiting İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport, where 45 people were killed and more than 200 were injured in a suicide attack on Tuesday, that he was against social media, especially Twitter.
Erdoğan spoke to the press about an incident revealed on social media of taxi drivers’ demanding much more money than usual from people at the airport immediately after the suicide bombing.
“You know that I am against social media. I was attacked many times because of this. I am against Twitter and all the others [social media websites] and I do not share [posts on] them. I do not use them. Some people use accounts carrying my name, but that’s another issue. It is those people’s own immorality. You should not be concerned with these,” Erdoğan said.
Many social media users were briefly not able to access social media organs — especially Twitter and Facebook — from Turkey, after a gag order was issued for the suicide bombing in İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport. The incident was criticized on social media, by those who reportedly used a VPN client to access websites, due to preventing people from sharing contacts of people who offer help to the victims of the attack.
In the recent years, Turkey has seen a massive rise in prosecution against social media users, including journalists, politicians and high profile figures, on charges of “insulting President Erdoğan”. Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ announced in early March that his ministry granted permission for prosecution of 1,845 individuals due to insulting Erdoğan between August 2014 and March 2016.