Twitter Blocked In Turkey Days Before Election, In A Not-So-Subtle Move By PM Erdogan To Suppress Scandal

Less than a day after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down Twitter, he appears to have followed up on his threat — Turkish users can't access Twitter. Reuters has confirmed the Twitter outages, reporting that Turkish users trying to get onto Twitter instead received a statement by Turkey's telecommunications authority, TIB. The statement outlined several court orders that apparently allows the Turkish government to block Twitter.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reports that Erdogan was behind the ban. According to the newspaper, Erdogan said Thursday: "We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic."

Two weeks ago, Erdogan also threatened to shut down YouTube and Facebook — after anonymous users released audio via YouTube and Facebook implicating Erdogan and his son in corruption. Erdogan, who is up for election in nine days, on March 30, has accused his political rivals of attempting to smear his name through social media, in particular Twitter.

Given this context, the move to block Twitter appears to be a last-minute move to silence the accusations against Erdogan. It is not subtle.

The Press Advisory of the Prime Ministry released a statement.

As long as Twitter fails to change its attitude of ignoring court rulings and not doing what is necessary according to the law, technically, there might not be a remedy but to block access in order to relieve our citizens.

While Twitter hasn't issued a formal statement, it did send out Tweets on its account @TwitterTurkey informing users how to circumvent the Twitter ban, both in English and in Turkish.

The response to the ban on Twitter users was, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly critical.

In fact, the hashtags #TwitterIsBlockedInTurkey, #TurkeyBlockedTwitter, #ErdoganBlocksTwitter are Trending.

Good one, Erdogan. Smooth.