Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey threatened Thursday to ban Facebook and YouTube in the country, after audio recordings purportedly implicating him in a corruption scandal circulated on the sites in recent weeks.
Speaking with Turkish broadcaster ATV late on Thursday, Erdogan said his government “will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook,” Reuters reports. He said barring the sites was a possibility.
In recent weeks, audio recordings purportedly of Erdogan and his allies have been circulating online, ahead of local elections later in March. The latest recordings, published on YouTube on Thursday, claim to be of Erdogan suggesting that the proprietor of a Turkish newspaper sack two journalists over a lead story about Kurdish peace talk efforts. Other recordings are allegedly of him telling his son to dispose of large amounts of money before police raids as part of a graft investigation last year.
Erdogan, who has been in power since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the elections in 2002, maintains that the moderate U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen is attempting to discredit him with what he says are fabricated recordings.