Turkey Blocks Access to Twitter
Elected politicians, like dictators, will do anything they can to stay in power. In second- and third-tier countries, their first order of business is to control the press, typically by taking state ownership of all television and newspaper interests.
Thanks to blogs and online news reporting, suppression of ideas is more difficult now than in pre-internet days. Countries responded by banning websites and blogs.
Enter social media. If politicians want to suppress thoughts now, they have to forbid “tweets”. And that is precisely what Turkey did yesterday.
The Financial Times reports Turkey Blocks Access to Twitter.
Turkey blocked access to Twitter late on Thursday, after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister, vowed to eradicate the social media site, which has been extensively used to spread corruption allegations against his government.
“Twitter and so on, we will root them out,” Mr Erdogan told an election rally in the western city of Bursa, adding that he would take such a step “immediately” for national security reasons. “The international community can say this or that – I don’t care. They will see the power of the Turkish Republic.”
The moves came as the government endures a continuing series of leaked voice recordings, distributed via Twitter, that critics say highlight corruption in the highest circles of government.
During mass demonstrations against his rule last year, Mr Erdogan described Twitter as a “menace” – 29 people in the city of Izmir are already facing prosecution over using the microblogging site to co-ordinate what the government says were illegal protests.
The prime minister has also indicated he could block access to YouTube and Facebook after the local elections on March 30, although Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, has said such a move is out of the question.
As the ban on Twitter was announced, Twitter’s policy team tweeted to tell Turkish users how they could send tweets via SMS with local mobile carriers. The tweet, in both Turkish and English, encouraged Turkish users to access the platform through its SMS service as Twitter’s site was blocked.
“Cowardice of the Turkish Republic”
No one will see the “power” of the Turkish Republic in idea suppression announcements. They will see the arrogance, cowardice, and desperation of prime minister Erdogan.
It’s easy to spot politicians in serious trouble by the actions they take. In terms of desperation, banning Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube is about 9 on a scale of 10.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock