BLUE BIRD DOWN: Turkey wipes out Twitter 'scourge'
Erdogan not happy with 'smear campaign'
Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan appears to have ordered Twitter be blocked in the nation after the service was used to post information alleging government corruption.
Turkish users trying to load Twitter.com were taken to a page with a statement from the local telecoms regulator TIB, according to Reuters.
The statement apparently claimed that four court orders had already been served requesting the site take down content including voice recordings which purport to show corruption in the Erdogan administration.
Another statement, sent to the newswire from the prime minister’s office, had the following:
If Twitter officials insist on not implementing court orders and rules of law ... there will be no other option but to prevent access to Twitter to help satisfy our citizens' grievances.
Twitter rolled out new functionality in 2012, to widespread criticism, allowing individual governments to request that certain tweets be blocked in their country.
However, the firm was obviously not sufficiently quick or compliant with its responses to Turkey’s requests.
In the meantime, Twitter has reminded users in the republic that they can sent Tweets using SMS.
Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555.— Policy (@policy) March 20, 2014
Prime minister Erdogan visited Silicon Valley last May for a tour of Apple, Google and other tech firms ahead of a government scheme to purchase millions of tablets for Turkish school children.
However, it doesn’t seem as if he liked what he saw. The Turkish PM has displayed an increasing hostility to social media as key elections on March 30 draw nearer.
He has apparently referred to Twitter as a “scourge” in the past and threatened to “root out” the service, whilst also raising the possibility of a ban on Facebook and YouTube.
“We will wipe out all of these," he told supporters at a rally on Thursday, according to Reuters.
“The international community can say this, can say that. I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.”
If Turkey has indeed banned Twitter it joins that other staunch upholder of liberty and democracy, China, in choosing to do so. ®