Twitter Blocked in Turkey as Prime Minister Pledges to ‘Eradicate’ It

Twitter will be blocked in Turkey as its Prime Minister decided to ‘eradicate’ it.

Turkey’s Prime Minister revealed that he decided to ‘eradicate’ the world known social networking service. Photo: Hank Mitchell/Flickr

There’s electioneering, and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday on the campaign trail: “We will eradicate Twitter,” Erdoğan told a rally in Bursa in the west of the country.

“I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” he added. There are roughly 10 million Twitter users who enjoy the site in Turkey.

To drive the point home, Erdoğan added: “Twitter, mwitter!” — although there’re some questions and doubts reagrding the right variant of translating this phrase — it’s either a “semantically empty phrase” or an indication that Erdoğan will shut down Twitter and similar websites.

Soon after the announcement, the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement claiming that Turkish officials had “no option” other than to ban Twitter.

“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,” the statement reads.

American-based microblogging service revealed to reporters on Thursday afternoon local time that it was looking into the matter and had not issued a formal statement.

However, Twitter did publish a post addressed to Turkish users instructing them on how to continue tweeting via SMS text message.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes criticized the ban on her Twitter account as “groundless, pointless, cowardly.”

“Turkish people and the (international) community will see this as censorship. It is,” she said.

Turkish Internet users, however, immediately found their own ways to circumvent the block. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey quickly moved among the top trending globally.

“The disruption sparked a virtual uproar with many comparing Turkey to Iran and North Korea, where social media platforms are tightly controlled,” Reuters writes.

Which is more, Erdoğan previously revealed that the country should also consider banning Facebook and YouTube, which, he believes, have been abused by his enemies after a stream of audio recordings purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle emerged online.

Erdoğan said two weeks ago that Turkey could also ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been abused by his enemies after a stream of audio recordings purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle emerged online.

The ban has drawn public outrage as well as international condemnation. The US expressed deep concern about any move to introduce a ban on social media, highlighting the significance of freedoms.

“As we have previously stated, we remain very concerned by any suggestion that social media sites could be shut down. Democracies are strengthened by the diversity of public voices,” said US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a daily press briefing on Thursday.

“An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies, and crucial to ensuring official transparency and accountability.”

Meanwhile, the ban imposed on Twitter, has drawn public criticism as well as condemnation of governments and experts. The US expressed deep concern about any move to introduce a ban on social media, highlighting the significance of freedoms.

“As we have previously stated, we remain very concerned by any suggestion that social media sites could be shut down. Democracies are strengthened by the diversity of public voices,” said US State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki at a daily press briefing on Thursday.

“An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies, and crucial to ensuring official transparency and accountability.”

By the way, last week 18 European MPs sent a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton asking her to request an invitation from Turkey for election observers.

“(There’s) an atmosphere of mistrust, conspiracy, deep polarisation and sometimes aggression,” Dutch liberal MP Marietje Schaake, who authored the letter, told reporters.

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