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Erdogan blocks Twitter

21 March 2014

Turkish social media users have expressed outraged that their access to Twitter has been blocked only hours after Prime Minister Erdogan threatened to block access to the website.

In typically bullish mood, speaking at a campaign rally in Bursa yesterday, the PM said: “We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.”

On the approach to the local elections on 30th March, Erdogan, late last month, accused a so-called “robot lobby” of launching attacks on the government via Twitter which made public a fresh series of phone conversations, implying that the government was allegedly involved in corruption.

In an attempt to clarify the PM’s statement, the Press Advisory of the Prime Ministry argued that Twitter officials currently “ignore” certain court rulings in Turkey, which order the social media platform to “remove some links” following complaints filed by some Turkish citizens.

Erdogan said that that as long as Twitter continues to ignore court rulings and does not do what is necessary to comply with the law, technically, the only remedy may be to block access in order to “relieve” Turkish citizens.

By midnight, access to Twitter was blocked in Turkey. The Communication Technologies Institution (BTK), which was given extraordinary powers with the recently passed Internet law, lists three court rulings and one prosecutor decision on the website as the reason for the block.

Eventually, all Internet service providers (ISP) in Turkey fell into line with the rulings, obliging Turkish social media users to find different ways to circumvent the blocking, like DNS-tweaking and VPN services.

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