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President Schulz of the European Parliament on the banning of Twitter in Turkey

24/03/2014

"Freedom of expression and information are enshrined in our most basic fundamental rights instruments, be it at EU or at the Council of Europe level. The European Parliament strives to firmly uphold freedom of expression, and the freedom and pluralism of the media within the Union and beyond. As a Member of the Council of Europe and as an EU candidate country, Turkey is no exception. The

Said President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz after the ban of Twitter in Turkey.

© European Union
© European Union

Today is Twitter's eighth anniversary. Yet, in Turkey, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has promised to 'eradicate Twitter', there is no reason to celebrate.

I strongly condemn the ban on Twitter in Turkey, which follows from PM Erdoğan's previous threats against other social media. PM Erdoğan seems to be waging a campaign against all the media and press that he cannot directly influence or control. This authoritarian drive is a direct attack against freedom of expression in the country.

Erdoğan should guarantee freedom of press and freedom of expression not as a favour to the international community, but because this is a right of Turkish citizens and an achievement of all advanced democracies.

PM Erdoğan has entered the upcoming elections in Turkey using a rhetoric of "us" and "them", true patriotic Turks and foreign agents provocateurs. In my eyes, the debate should be on how to bring Turkey forward, with which ideas, which society and which policies.

Gagging the internet, social media and the free press, and politicising magistrates are not good recipes to make Turkey fit for the challenges of the 21st century, and certainly not the good recipes to bring it closer to the European Union."

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