Turkey detains 11 over tweets insulting to Erdoğan’s family: report

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AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

At least 11 people were detained in Turkey for social media postings that allegedly insulted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daughter and son-in-law after they announced the birth of their fourth child on Twitter, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing local authorities.

Erdoğan vowed to tighten the Turkish government’s control of social media following the tweets directed at his family members. He said his government plans legislation that would force social media companies to establish a legal presence in Turkey, meaning they could be held financially accountable and answerable to Turkish courts.

Police said at least 11 people were detained for social media postings dealing with Erdoğan’s daughter, his son-in-law, who is the government minister in charge of Turkey’s economy, and the couple’s newborn son.

Many Turks, including opposition politicians, rallied in support of the president’s family and condemned the insults, some of which reportedly questioned the baby’s paternity.

However, Erdoğan’s comments sparked protests on social media. with the hashtag “Don’tTouchMySocialMedia” in Turkish becoming a top trending topic on Twitter.

Meral Akşener, the leader of the opposition Good Party, mocked Erdoğan on Twitter, saying she would be upset with the Turkish leader if he were to shut down Netflix before the final season of the show “Dark.” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) tweeted a jokey response: “Be careful Ms. Meral, he’ll now give you a spoiler out of anger.”

Thousands of websites already remain blocked in Turkey. In January, the government lifted a more than two-year ban on Wikipedia after Turkey’s top court declared it unconstitutional. Turkey halted access to the online encyclopedia after it refused to remove content the government deemed offensive.

The Turkish government has also banned YouTube and Twitter in the past.

Last month, Turkey criticized Twitter after the company announced it had taken down more than 7,000 fake accounts it said were created to increase support for Erdogan’s ruling party.

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