U.S. concerned over potential Internet restrictions in Turkey

WASHINGTON D.C. - The U.S. State Department voiced concerns over possible social media restrictions in Turkey on Friday.

“We are concerned by any suggestion that social media sites could be shut down," said State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. "We're looking to Turkey to uphold its commitment to respect fundamental freedoms of expression.”

“Independent and free media are essential to an open society and an accountable system of government,” she said.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted in a television interview that social media sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, could be shut down following this month’s countrywide elections.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul disputed the claim, saying that social media platforms cannot be banned, but criminal acts perpetrated online could be prosecuted in court.

Additionally, Psaki said that she has not seen reports that senior Turkish government officials, including Erdogan, have had their communications tapped and disseminated on social media.

“I haven't seen the report on that, so no, I don't have a comment,” said Psaki.

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