Turkey’s block of social media site Twitter on Thursday, and threats to do the same against other sites, has led to outrage among those who see the “digital coup” as a blatant attempt to silence corruption allegations in the run-up to local elections.
The Turkish government’s court-ordered block of Twitter has been denounced by many as an attempt to quell allegations of official misdeeds. But the government’s threats have not stopped with Twitter; Google has reportedly declined Turkey’s request to remove YouTube videos that allege government corruption, sources told The Wall Street Journal.
Amid a corruption scandal, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has asked Google in recent weeks to block certain videos from its site in Turkey. Google has reportedly refused to comply, given it believes the requests are legally invalid.
After blocking Twitter, the government threatened to do the same with YouTube and Facebook, as the sites have been prime conduits for corruption allegations.
Sources said Google sensed that a threat to its services could be imminent after the Twitter block, though as of late Friday, YouTube was still online in Turkey.
The videos mainly in question are those that include the alleged recording of a conversation in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from criminal investigators, a source told The Wall Street Journal. Erdogan has called the popular videos fake, claiming they are part of plans to oust his government.
Prior to the Twitter block, Erdogan, while on the campaign trail Thursday, vowed to “wipe out” the social media site, no matter what the international community might think. Turkey faces local elections on March 30.
Many in Turkey found ways around the ban, as Twitter published instructions on how to publish tweets via SMS text message. In addition, the hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #TurkeyBlockedTwitter were popular across the world… see more