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Twitter, mwitter! We'll wipe out all of these: Turkish PM on Twitter ban

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, fighting corruption allegations, said he did not care what the world thought after he banned the microblogging service

Ankara: Twitter has gone dark in Turkey after the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to ‘wipe out’ the social network after it refused to remove links deemed illegal.

A man passes by a poster of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who banned Twitter yesterday in the country. However, his move backfired, as the website was inundated with tweets from his country, criticising him. Pic/AFP
A man passes by a poster of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who banned Twitter yesterday in the country. However, his move backfired, as the website was inundated with tweets from his country, criticising him. Pic/AFP

Many Tweeters logging on to Twitter.com found themselves redirected to a statement by Turkey’s telecommunications regulator, citing four court orders as the basis for blocking the site.

It comes after allegations of corruption in the prime minister’s inner circle were circulated on social networks ahead of March 30 elections. Voice recordings and documents were posted, purportedly showing evidence of corruption a claim Erdogan denies. “Twitter, mwitter!” he told thousands of supporters at a rally last night a phrase translating roughly as ‘Twitter, schmitter!’.

“We will wipe out all of these,” he said. “The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.”

His office said that Twitter had not responded to Turkey’s court rulings to remove certain links, forcing Ankara to act. Twitter has so far made no public comment on the issue, but sent out a tweet on Thursday advising users in Turkey that it was still possible to send tweets using mobile phone text messaging.

Not a fan
Not everyone in the government backed the move, with Turkish President Abdullah Gul denouncing the government ban — on Twitter. “A complete ban on social media platforms cannot be approved,” tweeted Gul to his more than four million followers just hours after the government edict. Gul, a frequent user of social media, said it was not “technically possible to totally block access to platforms used all over the world”.

Not social media friendly
YouTube was banned for two years up to 2010 because of material deemed insulting to the country’s revered founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. Early this month, Erdogan warned that he could ban YouTube and Facebook after local polls, triggering concerns from its ally the United States.

Tweeps fight Erdogan with memes
As news of the blocking broke, hashtags #TwitterisBlockedinTurkey and #TurkeyBlockedTwitter both began trending worldwide. Soon, numerous memes began to circulate. Many of them depicted Erdogan 
as anti-democratic.

Turkey Twitter ban

Turkey Twitter ban

17 k
Number of tweets a minute have been posted from Turkey since the Twitter ban

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