Disinformation became global security issue: Turkish president

Social media turned into one of the main sources of threats to modern democracy, Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Stratcom Summit 2021 in Istanbul.

Disinformation became global security issue: Turkish president

Disinformation including on social media now beyond mere a national security issue to being a global security threat, the Turkish president warned on Saturday.

Lies, manufactured news, and disinformation spread rapidly through the use of social media, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video message sent to the first day of the Stratcom Summit 2021 in Istanbul, Turkey’s commercial capital.

“Millions of people's lives are darkened due to such news spreading from channels lacking any effective control mechanism,” he told the summit.

Erdogan said though when it first emerged, social media was hailed as a symbol of freedom, now it has “turned into one of the main sources of threats to today's democracy.”

“In this regard, it is important to inform the public and to fight disinformation and propaganda within the framework of truth,” he said. "We are trying to protect our people, especially the vulnerable sectors of our society, against lies and disinformation, without compromising our citizens' right to receive accurate and impartial information.”

“No one, no company can be above the law,” he stressed.

“We will definitely not allow the truth to be devalued by disinformation operations, and the truth to be covered by lies,” he vowed.

Noting that he believes the Stratcom International Strategic Communication Summit will fill an important need in the field, Erdogan thanked all the participants who are contributing to the two-day event.

Turkey this weekend is hosting Stratcom 2021, an international gathering to address compelling policies, issues, challenges, and trends of the strategic communication ecosystem​​.

The two-day summit brought together 112 speakers from over 30 countries and a distinguished audience of over 3,000.

Topics being discussed at the summit include strategic communication, public diplomacy, digital diplomacy, the metaverse, nation branding, disinformation, new media, open intelligence, new communication technologies and trends, strategic marketing, and political communication.

Hüseyin Demir