Turkey bans Twitter, but users can still Tweet via SMS

Saqib Shah
March 21, 2014

Turkey has joined the ranks of  Iran, Egypt and China, by  blocking access to Twitter.

Now, anyone in Turkey who tries to go to the website is redirected to a statement from the country’s telecommunications regulator instead.

A Turkish journalist told  The Daily Dot  that the outage started just after Thursday midnight and gradually spread out, depending on users’ internet providers.

It looks like the government didn’t block the microblogging site’s SMS service, though, because Twitter’s Policy account just reminded Avea and Vodafone users that they can text START to 2444, while Turkcell subscribers can text START to 2555.

It is claimed that the decision to clamp down on Twitter originated after some users posted voice recordings and documents, which allegedly reveal corruption within the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan’s  inner circle.

Hours before the blackout, Prime Minister ErdoÄŸan threatened to shut Twitter down while speaking at a political rally to campaign for the 30 March local elections.

He claimed the accusations are merely a smear campaign by his opponents and even dismissed other countries’ criticisms: “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.”

Erdogan’s office later explained that Twitter was blocked in the country, because it failed take down the offending links after being issued four court orders.

The Turkish government has previously made warnings about limiting Internet use,  including threats to block both Facebook and YouTube.

#TwitterisblockedinTurkey  became a  top  trend  worldwide within hours after the government  halted access to  the website, and many users expressed disdain at the ban.

Source: Engadget, WSJ

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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