In an astonishing move aimed at curbing the spread of information ahead of March 30 presidential elections, Turkey’s courts have blocked Twitter. The move came within hours of comments made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to supporters during a campaign rally:
“Twitter, mwitter!,” Erdogan told supporters at a rally late on Thursday. That’s a phrase Reuters compares to the English rhyming slang, “Twitter, schmitter!”
“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.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, March 20, 2014
Almost instantly, a new hashtag was born: #TwitterIsBannedInTurkey, and the news went viral.
Twitter’s @policy account earlier messaged Turkish users, advising them to tweet by SMS, but according to reports, it isn’t clear whether these can be viewed inside Turkey.
Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul–tweeting as @cbabdullahgul–said Friday that social media bans are not acceptable and expressed hope that the ban wouldn’t last long.
Twitter has been blamed for spreading an incriminating recording featuring Erdogan and his son debating how to hide large amounts of cash. Erdogan sayss the recording is a fake and has promised to punish those responsible.