USA 'worried' over Twitter ban in Turkey

President Gul disapproves, deputy premier bypasses ban

21 March, 13:09

    Turkish women check the Internet on their laptops while being served a coffee at a cafe in Istanbul, Turkey Turkish women check the Internet on their laptops while being served a coffee at a cafe in Istanbul, Turkey

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL - The US State Department expressed "worry" after the Turkish government's decision to block the social network Twitter, Turkish media reported. "We are very worried" by any hypothesis of closure of social networks, said a note delivered by US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki to Turkish correspondents. Democracies are strengthened by the diversity of voices expressing themselves in public, the note added.

    The European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, last night condemned the Turkish government's decision to block Twitter, calling the ban "groundless, pointless, cowardly". The Turkish people and the international community will see this as censorship, which it truly is, Kroes added.

    Disapproval for the government decision was also expressed by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, who publicly criticized the decision taken last night by Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter itself.

    "A total closure of social networks can not be approved," Gul said on his Twitter account. "I hope this situation does not last long," he added.

    Turkish Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc also circumvented the Twitter ban, publishing his work agenda for the day on the social network, press in Ankara reported. Several techniques for getting around the ban have already been developed in the country, wrote the Hurriyet online. It is not clear, the journal said, if Arinc's gesture is an implicit criticism of the Twitter ban, decided by Erdogan after publication of documents and records on the social network that implicated the premier in corruption scandals shaking the country on the eve of crucial administrative elections March 30.

    Considered a moderate in the Islamic Turkish government, Arinc has already had differences with the head of the government, in particular during the Gezi Park revolts, when Arinc attempted to open a dialogue with demonstrators despite the intransigence of the premier.

    Meanwhile, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey this morning sent a message to Turkish users explaining how to bypass the social network ban. In a 'tweet' on the official account of the social network (@policy), Dorsey advised sending SMS messages from cellular phones through the operators Avea and Vodafone, beginning with START and addressing them respectively to the numbers 2444 and 2555, wrote the Hurriyet online.(ANSAmed).

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