Tags: Turkey | Twitter | Erdogan

Turkey Blocks Twitter Amid Govt Corruption Scandal

Image: Turkey Blocks Twitter Amid Govt Corruption Scandal
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 11:54 PM

Twitter Inc. access was blocked for many users in Turkey after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the microblogging service ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal.

The San Francisco-based company said users in Turkey should send tweets via text messaging instead. Erdogan vowed earlier today to “dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots” at a party rally in Bursa, Turkey, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

The tweets targeted by the premier are from an anonymous user going by the name of Haramzadeler, a Turkish phrase that means Sons of Thieves. The person or persons have been leaking documents and audio files described as the results of a 15-month prosecutor-led investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s government. The leaks have captured the attention of Turkey’s 74 million citizens as the prime minister prepares for local elections on March 30.

The Turkish government has approached Twitter to remove several tweets related to the investigation, the Hurriyet newspaper reported this week. A court decision had been made on Twitter access, Erdogan said at the rally, without elaborating.

Nu Wexler, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment.

While the authenticity of the recordings or the police records couldn’t be independently verified, Erdogan and his government have addressed the allegations in a lawsuit, in parliament and on the campaign trail.

The leaks call into question everything from the financial probity of ministers to their religious piety, and the independence of a media browbeaten by the government. That’s enlivened the opposition and put Erdogan on the defensive amid public allegations of graft involving the premier’s family and businessmen who’ve profited during his 11 years in power.

While the original investigation stalled after prosecutors were removed from the case, and thousands of police officers transferred, some of the files leaked from Haramzadeler have been read into parliamentary record by the opposition.

Speaking across Turkey, Erdogan has dismissed some of the recordings as fake, described one as “natural” and said the entire investigation was sparked by “foreign powers.”

Last month Twitter said the Venezuelan government blocked users’ online images, amid protests by opposition groups against record shortages of goods and the world’s fastest inflation.

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Twitter Inc. access was blocked for many users in Turkey after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the microblogging service ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal.
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2014-54-20
Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 11:54 PM
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