Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “go after” social media website Twitter over its tax evasion, after the site was used to spread corruption allegations against his inner circle.
"Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are international companies established for profit," Erdogan said on Saturday, adding, "Twitter is at the same time a tax evader. We will go after it."
Ankara blocked access to Twitter on March 20, sparking anger among European countries and international human rights organizations who described the ban as a setback for democracy in Turkey that is seeking to join the European Union.
The ban was lifted on April 3, after Ankara’s highest court ruled that the government’s decision breached the right to free speech.
YouTube was also blocked on March 27 after the release of an audio recording revealing a discussion among top Turkish security officials about a possible false-flag operation to justify a military offensive against Syria.
On Thursday, the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK) said that it would not remove the ban on YouTube, despite the court orders.
Erdogan ordered the Internet curbs in the run-up to key local elections last Sunday, in which his ruling Justice and Development party (AK) won a majority of the local government seats despite recent graft allegations and a harsh police crackdown on anti-government protesters last June.