Once declaring it a menace, Erdoğan starts campaigning on Twitter

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched a campaign for a referendum on constitutional amendments likely to take place on April 16 on Twitter, which he declared a menace in 2014.

Hours after approving an 18-article constitutional reform package, which among other things introduces an executive presidency in Turkey, Erdoğan shared four messages on his Twitter account.

“I am saying ‘yes’ for one nation, one flag, one county and one state,” said Erdoğan, calling on people to support the package.

Erdoğan is known for his harsh criticism of social media.

“There is now a menace that is called Twitter,” Erdoğan said during the Gezi Park protests of summer 2013.

“The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”

In March 2014 the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government restricted access to Twitter after then-Prime Minister Erdoğan threatened to “root out” the social media network.

Turkish government has intensified its monitoring of social media following a coup attempt on July 15.

The Ministry of Interior Affairs announced several months ago that 10,000 people were under investigation on suspicion of terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media.

The ministry also stated that in the last six months 3,710 social media users were investigated, of whom 1,656 were arrested. A total of 1,203 of those investigations resulted in releases on probation.

The ministry further said that cooperation with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and national and international service providers had been carried to the next level.

With new state of emergency decrees issued by the AKP government last month, police were given the authority to directly access information on the identity of Internet users.

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