March 31, 2014
Last week it was reported that Turkey banned the use of Twitter fearing it would affect the country’s upcoming local elections. Now the Prime Minister has suspended YouTube after a leaked audio recording purportedly tied his administration to the use of military action against Syria as a way to avert election woes. The opposition claims the prime minister is seeking war with Syria as a distraction and insists allegations of corruption are real.
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It only took a few hours for the turkeys at the Communication Directorate to block YouTube.
“This is yet another controversial decision by the TIB,” Ersan Sen, an Istanbul-based lawyer, told Al-Monitor.
“There is no legal justification for this blocking. However, this government has granted judicial immunity to some key state officials and institutions, including the Turkey Communication Directorate. Although their is professional misconduct, they have judicial immunity. That (issue) aside, there are all sorts of wrongdoing with that leaked audio surveillance recording. It’s first of all a spying activity.”
Despite the dictatorial crack down, Turkey Twitter consumers used proxy servers; texting or simply changed Tweet domain names to skirt the government ban and get their messages out. Local news outlets reported Twitter remained active, however, the government significantly reduced the number of tweets.
Online publications like the Hurriyet and Twitter, published instructions for users to avert the government ban. “Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS,” one tweet said. Approximately 10 million Turkish citizens regularly used Twitter before the crack down.
Turkish Twitter accounts were abuzz with angry comments and jokes from Erdogan critics, but Tweets by officials and pro-government users were hard to find. “Where are all the AKP people?” Fazil Say, a notable pianist and ardent Erdogan critic asked in reference to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), where were they hiding. “They have vanished,” his account read.
As unofficial election results trickled in, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP Party claimed victory. The scandal-plagued leader said his party won 45 percent of the local election races, while the opposition Republican People’s Party only garnered 29 percent of the votes counted so far. The opposition also claimed the ruling party cooked the numbers to pull out a win.
Earlier today Erdogan promised revenge for those who released reports of corruption by AKP leaders. One of the targeted organizations is the Gulenists. The leader, Fethullah Gulen lives in the U.S. under self-imposed exile and Erdogan blames the moderate Islamic cleric of running a shadow government inside Turkey. “The nation has foiled insidious plans and immoral traps,” Erdogan exclaimed at his victory rally.
Previous Turkey story: http://www.examiner.com/article/turkey-shoots-down-syrian-jet-suspends-twitter
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