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Twitter blocked in Turkey

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The Turkish government has made an attempt to completely block Twitter, drawing protests from people including its own President.

The ban was first noticed at around midnight this morning.  Government officials have been claiming that Twitter was being used to breach privacy, with the Turkish telecommunications authority apparently being contacted after citizens complained.  After Twitter refused to remove some messages, the authority said, “there was no other choice.”

President Abdullah Gul was one of several ministers and officials to bypass the ban, using mobiles and  VPNs like Hotspot Shield or AnchorFree.  President Gul tweeted that, “Shutting down social media platforms cannot be approved…it is not technically possible to fully block access to globally active platforms like Twitter, anyway.”

Social media outlets like Twitter and YouTube have become a hot-button topic in Turkey in recent months.  Back in December, a corruption investigation trapped several government officials and businessmen, including the son of the prime minister.  Angry Turks turned to the Internet instead of traditional media outlets, and several phone conversations and documents were leaked.

“It seems that there is some pivotal information that the government does not wish to spread over the Internet,” Soli Ozel, a professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, said to the New York Times. “Although such an effort sounds rational, it’s actually highly irrational when you consider it is impossible to stop social media networks. My son breached the ban in 15 seconds.”