A week after banning social media site Twitter, the Turkish government has gone a step further and banned YouTube.
Furious with the latest restrictions just a week before the March 30th elections, the Turkish public has called the move a "digital coup". The government decision also triggered worldwide condemnation. It seems the Turkish government will do anything to camouflage the leaked telephone conversations and documents implicating high-ranking officials and some of their relatives and associates in widespread corruption.
Too late though, the damage has already been done – if anything, the acts have only underlined the desperation of the authorities.
What’s more, a lesson the Turkish government in general and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in particular will learn soon enough is that restrictions fail to harness in a people. In fact, they do just the opposite.
This tweet says it all:
Blocking social networks will not shut people down . #DictatorsWay— *Nia* (@itsniayall) March 27, 2014
The Turkish social media is determined to have its voice heard.
Meanwhile on YouTube in Turkey pic.twitter.com/pdSKr7Q2lV— Meanwhile In... (@MeanwhilePics) March 28, 2014
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Turks have matured beyond the point of accepting this shallow form of democratic rule. Even though Erdogan may still be popular, his government is losing legitimacy with each passing day.
It seems even if the prime minister’s party wins the next elections, the discontent will continue.
What’s more, there’s fear that Facebook would be the next to face the hatchet.
Many believe these are signs of democracy crumbling in Turkey. British writer Christopher de Bellaigue feels there is now a real chance that Turkey could drift towards ‘Islamic authoritarianism’.
‘What has happened in Turkey is that an enormously popular and powerful prime minister has let power go to his head,’ he says.
Erdogan’s refusal to adopt a flexible stance during the Gezi protests and the recent uproar of his people only proves that.