Turkish Prime Minister Blames Twitter for Unrest, Calls It “the Worst Menace to Society”

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 3 2013 4:55 PM

Turkish Prime Minister Blames Twitter for Unrest, Calls It “the Worst Menace to Society”

Turkey Erdogan protests
Police use a water cannon to disperse protesters outside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's working office in Istanbul'sBesiktas district, on June 2

Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Protests have engulfed Turkey’s Taksim Square, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan knows exactly what’s to blame: Twitter.

In a news conference, Erdoğan dismissed the protesters as “looters” and “bums” and blasted the country’s opposition party for provoking them. But he reserved his fiercest words for the microblogging site, which has become a hub for activists and a major news source as Turkey’s mainstream media have downplayed the unrest.


News agencies have differed in their translation of Erdoğan’s exact words, but he either called Twitter a “curse,” a “menace,” a “scourge,” or some combination thereof. For good measure, he followed up by unloading on social media at large. Here’s the New York Times’ rendering of his full quote:

Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best example of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.

The worst! Worse than poverty, climate change, crime, or even the opposition party. Who says Erdoğan is heavy-handed?

His views aside, the prime minister appears to have no immediate plans to combat this menace/curse/scourge—despite scattered reports of Internet outages, the tweets continue to roll in, along with the Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and Vine videos. Oh, and Foursquare check-ins. As I write this, some 2,530 people are checked in to Taksim Gezi Park, leading Foursquare to conclude that the park is “busier than usual.”

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
Sept. 18 2014 5:09 PM Three CEOs Step Down in 30 Minutes
Sept. 18 2014 4:15 PM Reactions to a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Reveal Transmisogyny
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 5:43 PM Oracle’s Larry Ellison Steps Down, Will Be Replaced by Hurd’n’Catz
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.