You can tell the story too
A glimpse into the murky world of espionage
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.
Poisoned waters and illegal fishing drove Somalis into sea piracy to feed families, according to relatives.
Human Rights, Poverty & Development, Environment
Italy's 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate is believed haul in more revenue than many Fortune 500 companies.
Italy, Crime, Europe
'Marg' vigilante group vows to safeguard northern Afghanistan from armed factions amid reports of ISIL infiltration.
War & Conflict, Asia, Afghanistan
Tens of thousands stranded after southern Africa country's record floods face rising risk of disease outbreak.
Humanitarian crises, Africa, Malawi
Organisers expect huge turnout for rally in honour of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov who was gunned down on Friday.
Politics, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Europe
Palestinians across Gaza denounce ruling and reject Egypt's accusations that the group is aiding armed forces in Sinai.
Politics, Middle East, Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, Hamas
The System examines two cases where prosecutorial misconduct may have led to wrongful imprisonment.
Crime, Law, United States
The FIFA presidential candidate explains why he is challenging Sepp Blatter and how he plans to reform the organisation.
Sport, Middle East, FIFA
The music of the Algerian Sahara, known as Ahalil, is a key part of a way of life that has survived for centuries.
Arts & Culture, Algeria, Music
People & Power investigates how a match-fixer and his syndicate corrupted global football.
Sport, Football, Corruption