Twitter appears to be blocked in Turkey as the prime minister attempts to clamp down on unrest in the country. However, users are flouting the ban, with Twitter itself publicising tactics to ensure messages can get through to the site.
Reuters reported that people in Turkey attempting to access Twitter were met with a statement from its telecoms regulator citing court orders that now prevent access to the site, under the orders of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“Twitter has been blocked as a preventive measure in order to prevent future damage to our citizens as a last resort,” the statement reportedly said.
The attempt to block access has been met with widespread protest, with European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes claiming it was nothing more than censorship.
The Twitter ban in #Turkey is groundless, pointless, cowardly. Turkish people and intl community will see this as censorship. It is.— Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU) March 20, 2014
Furthermore, users have been finding workarounds to the ban, seemingly by using a function that uploads Twitter posts via text message, with Twitter's own policy accounts informing users of this capability.
Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555.— Policy (@policy) March 20, 2014
In another odd twist on the situation, the president of Turkey Abdullah Gül took to Twitter to say the prime minister is wrong to try and implement the ban.
The incidents underline the power of social media platforms and the concern they cause leaders in many nations. Many governments attempted to stop communications tools such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as text messages, from being used during unrest in the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.
The UK government even considered blocking such tools in the aftermath of the riots that hit the UK in the summer of 2011, although these plans appear to have cooled over time.
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