Turkey Twitter Ban Prompts Global Outrage


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan successfully blocked access to Twitter this week after the company ignored court orders to remove ”illegal” links.

The move came hours after Erdogan threatened to ”wipe out” Twitter, where residents posted allegations of corruption in his government, according to a report by the AFP.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment, saying that engineers are investigating reports, and pointing PCMag to its global @policy account, which suggests a workaround for Turkish users, who can still send tweets as text messages.



All further statements will be made via the @policy or @TwitterTurkey accounts, the spokesman said.

Folks around the world are standing up for Turks’ rights to an open social network, tweeting support for users and disapproval of Erdogan’s blackout.







The EU’s commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, joined the Twitter backlash, writing in an early reaction that Turkey’s block ”is groundless, pointless, cowardly.”



Fellow EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighborhood policy, Štefan Füle, spoke out against the ban, saying that it ”raises grave concerns and casts doubt on Turkey’s stated commitment to European values and standards.”

He cited freedom of expression—”a fundamental right in any democratic society”—which includes the right to send and receive ideas without government interference.

”Citizens must be free to communicate and choose freely the means to do it,” Füle said. ”This obviously includes access to the Internet.”

Some protestors have been posting non-Turkish DNS settings on political posters (pictured), which tech-savvy users can use to evade the blockade.

Amidst this global outrage, Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gül, took to the micro-blogging site today to deny the ban, writing in translated tweets that only a court decision can result in a shutdown.

Turkey is no stranger to censorship. In late 2010, the Turkish officials lifted a 2.5-year ban on video-sharing site YouTube, then promptly re-blocked access over unflattering videos of the country’s political leaders.

”Open debate promotes transparency and accountability and ultimately reinforces democracy,” Füle said. ”Such debate needs to be strengthened everywhere, including in Turkey.”

Similarly, Egypt and Pakistan have implemented their own restrictions on Twitter in the last few years.