With AJE's Marwan Bishara on the 'new World War'
Zika virus: 'We have more questions than answers'
21 Mar 2014 11:26 GMT | Europe, Turkey
Turkey has restricted access to Twitter hours after the prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to shut down the social media platform after users published claims of corruption against him.
Users reported on Friday that they were forwarded from twitter.com a statement from Turkey's telecoms regulator, TIB, which cited court orders for the site's apparent closure.
The statement cited four orders as the basis for blocking the site, where some users in recent weeks have posted voice recordings and documents purportedly showing evidence of corruption among Erdogan's inner circle.
Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is.
Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister
The state-run Anatolia news agency said authorities "technically blocked access to Twitter" because the service had ignored the orders to remove some links deemed illegal, the AFP news agency reported.
Turkey's telecommunications watchdog, BTK, has also confirmed the shutdown.
Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul, has denounced the ban, tweeting to more than four million followers: A complete ban on social media platforms cannot be approved.
In response to the outrage over the move, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that it was temporary, adding that he expected a "mutual solution" to be reached.
Twitter said it was investigating the blocking, but had not issued a formal statement. The company did post a message instructing Turkish users on how to continue using the service via SMS text message.
Erdogan on Thursday promised to "root out" and "wipe out" Twitter services, which he said have helped his political enemies conduct a smear campaign against him.
"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," he said.
In response to the shutdown, Turkey's main opposition party, Republican People's Party, announced it would file a legal challenge to the court order.
In a move that put him at odds with the prime minister, Turkish president Abdullah Gul also tweeted to denounce the government's move just hours after it was announced.
"A complete ban on social media platforms cannot be approved," Gul tweeted to his more than four million followers.
Leaked recordings shared and linked on Twitter include one in which Erdogan allegedly instructs his son to dispose of large amounts of cash from a residence amid a police corruption probe.
Erdogan insists the recordings are fabricated "vile fakes" and part of a plot to discredit the government ahead of the March 30 election.
Following his speech, Erdogan's office said he was referring to what it called Twitter's failure to implement Turkish court orders seeking the removal of some links and that they may be left with no option but to ban the platform.
"If Twitter officials insist on not implementing court orders and rules of law ... there will be no other option but to prevent access to Twitter to help satisfy our citizens' grievances," the statement said.
The apparent blocking was only the latest clash between Turkey's ruling party and social media companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter.
After a series of popular protests partly fuelled by Twitter last summer, Erdogan slammed the service as "a scourge".
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday, Andrew Finkel, co-founder of P24, an intiative to promote independent journalistm in Turkey, called the latest move as "a panic measure" aimed at stopping more allegations from surfacing.
"There's rumours of much more serious allegations to come," he said.
Erdogan said two weeks ago that Turkey could also ban Facebook and YouTube, which he says have been abused by his enemies after a stream of audio recordings purportedly revealing corruption in his inner circle emerged online.
His ruling AK Party has already tightened Internet controls, handed government more influence over the courts, andreassigned thousands of police and hundreds of prosecutors and judges as it fights the corruption scandal.
However, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Friday the government had no plans to block access to other social media platforms.
"At the moment there is no such decision for other social media like Facebook," the official said.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies
What will come out of the struggle between the Gulen movement and the AKP?
Politics, Egypt, Turkey
Erdogan says he will continue to fight against lies on the internet but rules out ban on YouTube and Facebook.
Science & Technology, Politics, Europe, Turkey
Content on this website is for general information purposes only. Your comments
are provided by your own free will and you take sole responsibility for any direct
or indirect liability. You hereby provide us with an irrevocable, unlimited, and
global license for no consideration to use, reuse, delete or publish comments, in
accordance with Community Rules & Guidelines and Terms and Conditions.
'Daddy, why don't we just take the airplane?' asks one of Delvan's daughters as they contemplate crossing the rough sea.
Humanitarian crises, War & Conflict, Middle East
Twenty years ago, Jack Picone photographed Nancy just after she was beaten. He wonders what has changed since.
Poverty & Development, Health, Human Rights
A rising indigenous class is putting its money where its homes are and inspiring a new style of architecture.
Arts & Culture, Latin America, Bolivia
Plans to turn a vacant church in a Chicago suburb into a mosque have been the target of anonymous flyers.
US & Canada, Religion, Islam
Armed group strikes defiant note after Turkey demands Kurdish withdrawal from captured territories in Syria's north.
War & Conflict, Syrian Civil War, Middle East, Turkey
Turkish official confirms aircraft have arrived in Turkey to target ISIL with air strikes.
ISIS, Syrian Civil War, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Turkey-Syria border
Activist Maryam al-Khawaja in debate with Mansoor al-Arayedh, the chairman of the Gulf Council for Foreign Relations.
Human Rights, Bahrain, Arab Spring
As the WHO investigates the massive outbreak of microcephaly in Brazil, we travel to ground zero of the epidemic.
Health, Latin America, Brazil
Hundreds of Cambodian journalists make a living by uncovering news and then extorting bribes to bury the story.
Media, Journalism, Cambodia
How will improving relations between communist Cuba and the capitalist US affect the lives of people on both sides?
Politics, United States, Cuba