Is The President of Turkey a Movie Pirate?

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Twitter is an excellent medium for world leaders to keep the people informed on their thoughts and actions, but it can also lead to awkward situations. Yesterday evening the Turkish President Abdullah Gül tweeted that he enjoyed watching the Oscar nominated movie 'The King's Speech' at home with his wife. An interesting status update, since the film has not premiered in Turkish theaters yet, nor is it available on DVD anywhere else.

gulAbdullah Gül is a political heavyweight. He previously served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Turkey, and in 2007 he was elected as the 11th Turkish President.

As President he met with all the major world leaders but Gül also likes to keep in touch with the public, for which he started to use Twitter a while ago. Gül, who has a verified account on Twitter, occasionally tweets his thoughts about national and international politics, and also shares more personal stuff from time to time.

One tweet in particular caught the attention of many of his 185,000+ followers yesterday. Before wishing everyone a good weekend, Gül mentioned how he enjoyed watching “The King’s Speech” at home with his wife the other day.

“Watched The King’s Speech at home with my wife the other day. Really a very beautiful movie,’ he tweeted.


The Turkish President is not the only one who enjoyed the film of course. With twelve Oscar nominations it is considered to be one of the best movies of 2010 by many people.

However, the tweet nevertheless resulted in a small uproar among his followers. The big question is how he could have possibly watched the film at home, without breaking copyright law.

The King’s Speech is not available on DVD anywhere in the world, and the film has not even premiered in Turkish movie theaters yet. There is, however, a good copy of the film available on BitTorrent, Usenet and various other file-sharing platforms (and on the streets).

This led many of his Twitter followers to conclude that their President is in fact a movie pirate. How else would it be possible for him to watch the movie at his home in Turkey?

In a response to the tweet many people asked Gül where he downloaded the movie, and whether he prefers Usenet or BitTorrent. Thus far, the President has not replied to the inquiries, but if he does we will add the response here.

Perhaps Gül can do something about the Turkish Pirate Bay block now? I assume many of his followers would also like to grab a copy of The King’s Speech following this shining presidential endorsement.

Update: Without going into detail Gül said in a response “an illegal film would not be given to me.” Perhaps his staff managed to get a super-exclusive deal to show a private screening to the President? We’d love to hear more about it.


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