Turkey Bans Twitter Prior To Elections, Twitter Offers SMS Workaround

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blocked access to Twitter in Turkey and threatened to “wipe out” the service after it was used to expose alleged government corruption.

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On Twitter’s eighth birthday when most of us are checking out our first tweet posted on the network, people in Turkey are devoid of Twitter. In a latest move, Twitter has been banned entirely in Turkey where it has 10 million registered users.

Turkey’s Telecommunications Department has confirmed that a “protection measure has been taken” for Twitter, “according to Decision Nr.dated 03.20.2014 of Istanbul Public Prosecutor (Article 10 With TMK Guard).

Twitter which has been under immense pressure from the Turkish government since mid 2013 added that it can’t confirm if there has been a formal ban, “that would have to come from the government.”

Meanwhile Twitter has offered an SMS workaround in the country. It has advised Turkish customers of Avea and Vodafone to text “START to 2444.” Turkcell customers can text “START to 2555.”

Twitter ban in the country isn’t a surprise considering the ongoing hatred towards social media networks from Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Earlier in the month of March, Erdogan had stated that – “We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook.”

Talking at a television interview, Erdogan informed that he planned to ban YouTube, Facebook in the country after local elections due on March 30, saying that they have been abused by his political enemies. He had also insisted that strict measures are necessary to stop his enemies leaking “fabricated” recordings in a bid to blackmail him.

YouTube has already faced sporadic ban in the country between 2007 and 2010.

Like YouTube and Facebook, Erdogan considers Twitter as a “menace to society” after the network became an important forum for anti-government protests that swept across Turkey last summer.

Talking about the latest ban on Twitter, Erdogan stated in an unyielding tone that he did not care about the international response.

With Turkish parliament approving a bill last month that gives the telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling, the ban on Twitter won’t be the last one considering the elections are quite close enough.

Image courtesy: allgedo.com