Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdoğan, has attempted to ‘eradicate’ Twitter from Turkey after it was used to criticise his government.
The government were also targeted by alleged leaks, which were published on Twitter, casting them in a negative light. In response to these attacks, the government has placed restrictions on Turkish users accessing Twitter. When users try to access Twitter normally they get redirected to a statement from TIB, Turkey’s telecommunications regulator.
The Guardian has reported that the statement refers to four court orders as the basis for blocking the site, where some users in recent weeks have posted voice recordings and documents purportedly showing evidence of corruption among Erdoğan’s inner circle. It said that action had been taken against Twitter as a “protection measure”.
Of course, it didn’t take long for Twitter users to find a way around the ban. Witnesses have stated that graffiti with instructions on how to access Twitter appeared on buildings over the weekend, and Google’s Matt Cutts tweeted instructions on how to use Google’s public DNS to access banned sites.
Whilst bloggers and social media users in Turkey have expressed optimism that the ban will be lifted shortly, Erdoğan has responded saying that he can’t understand those who defend social media platforms. “I cannot understand how sensible people still defend Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. They run all kinds of lies.” This is one battle for freedom of speech that is likely to run and run.