The government of Turkey has found the culprit for the Gezi Park protest movement.
It’s not government policies which suppress freedom and attempt to wipe out Turkey’s secular history, while pushing the nation to creeping Islamization of previously secular institutions.
It’s The Twitter.
— Claire Berlinski. (@ClaireBerlinski) June 14, 2013
The Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reports, Twitter under microscope amid ‘Gezi Park probe’:
Protestors are being held in custody for “inciting riots and conducting propaganda” on Twitter, and these custodies have been criticized as being contrary to the law. Amid these disputes, the ministry has indicated it is likely to examine Twitter’s activities in Turkey more closely.
The Turkish judicial authorities’ previous requests of foreign service providers like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube “to share content and access information” was earlier rejected because the code on the protection of personal data does not exist in Turkish law.
However, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s sources said a “Twitter investigation” is still continuing, stating that prosecutors are collecting evidence via displays on television and police cameras, as well as pictures in newspapers.
“Turkey signed the cybercrime agreement. However, foreign servers like Twitter and Facebook don’t give content and access information requested by prosecutors. Their reason is that there is no law for the protection of personal information in Turkey,” said Hakan Kızılarslan, an academic at Ankara’s Ufuk University. Kızılarslan said Turkey had not enacted this law since 1996, adding that it was currently waiting in Parliament.
He stated that the prosecutors’ requests to access content and information sharing within the framework of the Gezi Park investigation would be rejected by Twitter because “Turkey doesn’t have legal safeguards.”
How important was Twitter to the protest movement? These Charts Show How Crucial Twitter Is for the Turkey Protesters:
Thanks to shoddy-to-nonexistent domestic news coverage in the early days of the protest, social media played a pivotal role in both organizing the demonstrators and in broadcasting the events to the wider world. Some reports said that 15,000 users sent at least one tweet from Gezi Park, and at one point, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan even blamed Twitter for the unrest, calling it a “curse,” a “menace,” and a “scourge.”
Two recent studies shed light on how twitter messages about the events spread rapidly both within and beyond Turkey’s borders. Here are some of the insights that Sandra González-Bailón at the Oxford Internet Institute and Pablo Barberá and Megan Metzger of NYU’s Social Media and Political Participation laboratory found by analyzing Twitter activity surrounding the protests, in studies published originally on the blog Monkey Cage .
1) Unlike in some protests, almost all of the earliest tweets originated from within Turkey….
2) A small group of protesters drove almost the entire conversation….
3) Tweets about Turkey quickly spread to the English-speaking Twitter community.…
Back to the Hurriyet article. How are the authorities going after Twitter? The tax code — there’s a lesson there:
The Transport Ministry has brought the legal basis of Twitter under the microscope, claiming that it causes information sharing and tax problems. The moves come amid detentions of Twitter users within the framework of the Gezi Park investigation, which has been criticized as “unlawful.”
“Twitter doesn’t have a legal basis in Turkey. They take ads but they do not pay tax in Turkey. It should establish a company compliant with the Turkish Commercial Code, like Facebook and YouTube,” the ministry officials told daily Hürriyet.
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