Turkey blocks Twitter, after Erdogan vowed 'eradication'

Bribe scandal documents appear on social network

21 March, 12:40

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a local election campaign in Istanbul, Turkey Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a local election campaign in Istanbul, Turkey

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL - Turkey has blocked access to Twitter, hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to close down the social media platform as daily Hurriyet online reports. "We now have a court order. We'll eradicate Twitter. I don't care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic," Erdogan said at his campaign rally in the western city of Bursa on March 20, 10 days before the upcoming local elections.

    The Press Advisory of the Prime Ministry has later in the night clarified Erdogan's statement, arguing that Twitter officials currently "ignore" some court rulings in Turkey, which order the social media platform to "remove some links" as per the complaints filed by Turkish citizens.

    Just before midnight, access to Twitter was already blocked in Turkey. The Communication Technologies Institution (Btk), which was given extraordinary powers with the recently passed Internet law, lists three court rulings and one prosecutor decision on its website as the reason of the outage.

    During the Gezi Park protests last June, Erdogan described the microblogging website as a "trouble," claiming that "unmitigated lies are there (on Twitter)." After the explosion of a bribe scandal in the Bosphorus involving dozens of members of the current regime, Erdogan removed thousands of police officers and hundreds of magistrates, among them those who were responsible for investigations into corruption. According to opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who has denounced an authoritarian turn and called for the immediate resignation of the premier, Erdogan is "ready to do anything" to remain in power and bury the anti-corruption investigations, which the premier had defined as "an attempted coup d'etat" orchestrated by ex-allies of the Muslim Brotherhood of Fethullah Gulen. The corruption scandal dominates the campaign for crucial administrative elections March 30, which could be decisive for Erdogan's political future. Last month, Erdogan had already threatened to block Facebook and Youtube. Last night, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes condemned the blocking of Twitter in Turkey. The ban against Twitter in Turkey is "groundless, pointless, cowardly," wrote Kroes. The Turkish people and the international community will see this as censorship, which it truly is, added Kroes.(ANSAmed).

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