ISTANBUL, TURKEY – May 31: Turks set up fires, barricades, and battle Turkish police through clouds of tear gas to protest the development of the Gezi Park near Taksim Square into a shopping mall, as well as increasingly authoritarian rule from the government, in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 31, 2013. Later, the Turkish prime minister blamed Twitter for at least some of the trouble.
The worst menace to society is not rock music, marijuana, or even gay marriage.
It is Twitter, according to one world leader.
The San Francisco-based micro-blogging website took some of the credit for organizing Egyptian protesters in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring in 2011. And now, with protests in Turkey's capital of Istanbul over the weekend, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says he knows what caused protestes to take over Istanbul's Taksim Square, according to reports.
The exact translation of Erdoğan’s words appears unclear, as "news agencies have differed in their translation," according to Slate, which reported that the prime minister, re-elected to a third term in 2011, "either called Twitter a "curse," a "menace," a "scourge," or some combination thereof."
According to the New York Times, Erdoğan described Twitter thusly:
"Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best example of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."
Ostensibly, the protests in Istanbul are over a plan to tear down a public park and fountain and replace them with a shopping mall. But experts on the country note a culture clash between a secular people and an and "increasingly Islamist" government.