Twitter deletes Turkish far-right party leader’s tweet against university protests

Twitter on Thursday deleted a tweet by Turkish far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for violating its policy against threats.

Bahçeli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s silent coalition partner in parliament, had said in his Feb. 3 tweet that people who joined the protests against Erdoğan’s appointment of a party loyalist as rector to one of the country’s most prestigious universities, Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, were like “poisonous snakes whose heads need to be quashed.”

“Thus has Twitter’s Turkey policy solidified,” freedom of speech advocate Yaman Akdeniz said in a tweet announcing the deletion.

In a statement released on Thursday, the MHP said Twitter had “restricted some of MHP Leader Bahçeli’s posts for his opposition to the nefarious demonstrations in front of Boğaziçi University,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported, “despite Mr Bahçeli clearly stating the difference between students and terrorists”.

The social media giant “and the powers behind Twitter” had chosen to “support those among protesters in front of Boğaziçi University who were in contact with terrorist organisations", the MHP said.

Twitter recently ruled that two tweets by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also violated its terms of use against hateful conduct, but did not delete them as the tweets remaining accessible “may be in the public’s interest.”

Two tweets where Soylu called LGBT people “deviants” can be seen only after reading a warning and clicking a button.