Turkey’s combative prime minister warned on Thursday that he would eradicate Twitter after a number of audio recordings anonymously posted on social media purportedly exposed corruption in his inner circle.
“We will wipe out Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says,” premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an election rally in the western province of Bursa.
“They will see the Turkish republic’s strength,” he added.
Early this month, Erdogan warned that his government could ban popular social media networks Youtube and Facebook after the crucial March 30 local election, triggering U.S. concern.
Erdogan, Turkey’s all-powerful leader since 2003, has been under mounting pressure after audio recordings allegedly show his involvement in corruption, and others portraying him interfering in business deals, court cases and media coverage.
He dismissed most of the recordings as “vile” fakes concocted by his rivals.
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The Supreme Electoral Board said the use of the red Turkish flag in the slickly produced minute-long advert, which has appeared on major TV channels, websites and social media, breached campaign guidelines for the March 30 municipal elections.
“Then we will ban that. We will bring a ban to the ban,” an infuriated Erdogan was quoted as saying by several Turkish newspapers following a campaign rally late on Wednesday in the northwestern city of Tekirdag.