‘Twitter, schmitter!’ – Turkish prime minister bans Twitter

21 Mar 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey

Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is continuing his single-handed assault on social media with his decision to ban Twitter in the state of more than 76m people.

Last night, Turkish Twitter users found they were no longer able to access the microblogging site after Erdogan had earlier that day said, “Twitter, mwitter! (Equivalent to saying “Twitter, schmitter”) We will wipe out roots of all.”

The decision is part of Erdogan’s clampdown on social media, having earlier claimed he was looking into closing access to Facebook and YouTube, also.

The prime minister has been under increasing pressure from politicians and the public alike because of allegations of corruption as he was recorded telling his son to get rid of large sums of cash in his name before the upcoming elections.

Opposition members have reacted immediately to the court order, appealing the Twitter ban with Akif Hamzacebi of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), arguing it’s a blatant obstruction of the Turkish people’s basic freedoms.

There has even been open criticism from Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who, rather ironically, took to Twitter to warn Erdogan about his actions.

“As I have said many times in the past, at the point where communication technologies have reached today it is technically impossible to entirely block access to social media platforms used across the world such as Twitter. I hope this practice will not last long,” said Gul.

It is not yet understood whether Erdogan and his Justice and Development (AK) party will continue with their previous threat to shut other social networks.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic