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In Face of Massive Corruption Scandal, Turkey Blocks Twitter Access

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government on Thursday blocked access to Twitter, just hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “eradicate” the microblogging service and bragged about having obtained a court order enabling him to do so.

Erdogan – who until recently had been hailed by some U.S. foreign policy analysts as a model for modern democratic Islamism – elaborated that he “[doesn’t] care what the international community says.”

“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,” Erdoğan said at his campaign rally in the western city of Bursa on March 20, 10 days before the upcoming local elections.

Analysts were quick to link the AKP’s moves to an ongoing corruption scandal that has plunged Turkey into open political warfare and ensnared top elites from the party, including Erdogan and members of his family. The AKP had just a day earlier blocked opposition efforts to unveil formal graft charges at a Parliamentary session.

Ilhan Tanir, the Washington correspondent for Turkey’s Vatan outlet, was unapologetically acerbic regarding the Thursday moves against Twitter.


(For an in-depth look at Turkey’s treatment of journalists under the rule of Erdogan’s AKP party, see James Kirchick’s essay in The Tower Magazine.)

Twitter’s public policy team issued the following information for Turkish followers:

[Photo: What today news / YouTube]