Turkey: Prime minister tries to ban Twitter - again
Turkey's embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is once again trying to ban Twitter while statements by the president suggest a growing political divide between the two.
Twitter, along with YouTube, was first blocked in the weeks before the March 31 local elections as both were used to disseminate recordings implicating the prime minister and his cohorts in corruption.
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Court rulings have overturned the bans as unconstitutional though the government continues to resist restoring service, with YouTube remaining banned and the Twitter ban lifted days after it was supposed to.
Erdogans's new tactic to ban Twitter is to appeal to the Constitutional Court, Turkey's highest judicial body. He is contending that because some of the recordings are of him and his son, his rights and the rights of his family have been violated, according to Reuters.
The prime minister's efforts to ban forums such as Twitter and YouTube have attracted international concern and seem to have been a bridge too far for President Abdullah Gul, a member of Erdogan's A.K.P.
When asked recently about a "Putin-Medvedev model" wherein the governing prime minister and president swap positions to maintain a party's hold on power, Gul responded that it would not be appropriate for Turkey, according to Today's Zaman.
This has upended conventional wisdom in Turkish politics, which held that such a swap was the most likely result of the country's upcoming presidential elections in August.
The split is shocking, particularly for its frankness, but was foreshadowed during the Twitter ban when even Gul worked his way around it to voice his dissatisfaction with the government's decisions.
Gul's comments reflect just how much has changed for a prime minister who once planned to hold power until Turkey's centenary in 2023.