Turkish Prime Minister Makes Good On Promise To Ban Twitter

On Thursday, Prime Minister Erdogan pledged to wipe out Twitter. Hours later, the site appeared to be blocked by the country's telecoms.

Turkish Prime Minister Makes Good On Promise To Ban Twitter
Wikimedia Commons / Erdem Civelek

Turkey's prime minister vowed to block Twitter in his country Thursday, and a few hours later he apparently succeeded.

"Some users trying to log on say they are redirected to a statement apparently from the country's telecommunications regulator. It cites four court orders as a basis for blocking the site." (Via Al Jazeera)

Reports from Turkish Twitter users say the ban rolled out gradually across the country, telecom by telecom, and Facebook and YouTube could be next.

At a campaign event earlier in the day, Prime Minister Erdogan promised to wipe Twitter out, saying something that roughly translates to "Twitter, schmitter!" and adding "Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is." (Via Today's Zaman)

The move doesn't really come as a surprise. The country is set to hold key local elections at the end of the month, and Erdogan has been dogged by controversy spread through social media, including some incriminating leaked phone calls.

"The protests breaking out following the leak of phone conversations. ... In the discussion, two men were talking about how to hide large amounts of money." (Via CNN)

The recordings appeared to be between Erdogan and his son, and set off anti-corruption protests. But Erdogan calls the recordings a fabrication, claiming they were stitched together out of sound bites from other phone calls. (Via Hurriyet Daily News)

Turkey's parliament then passed a law critics say provided the pretext to go after social media. Erdogan said in an interview earlier this month he would not see Turkey sacrificed on the altar of Facebook and YouTube. (Via ATV)

Twitter responded to the ban by saying simply that they were looking into it, and posted a way for Turkish users to tweet via text message.