Turkish president sees 'problems' in law tightening Internet controls

by Reuters
Thursday, 13 February 2014 15:31 GMT

ANKARA, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Thursday he saw problems with a controversial bill backed by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that would tighten government control over the Internet.

Social media and video sharing sites have been awash with alleged recordings of ministers including Erdogan and business allies presented as proof of wrongdoing in a graft scandal that has gripped the country. Reuters has been unable to verify their authenticity.

Gul has around 10 more days to approve or veto the bill, which opponents say muzzles free speech. Erdogan says the new law, which triggered street protests in Istanbul over the weekend, is essential to protecting privacy.

It would allow telecommunications authorities to block access to material within four hours without a prior court order.

"There are one or two problems. We are working on it," Gul told reporters at a press conference.

Defying the government and vetoing the bill would be unusual for Gul and put him at odds with his long-time ally Erdogan, who faces pressure from a corruption scandal just weeks before a critical local election. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

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