Turkey has cracked down on social media — not for the first time – after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blocked access to Twitter and threatened to “wipe out” the microblogging service after it was used to expose alleged government corruption.
The BBC reports that its correspondent was unable to access the site from Turkey, where Twitter is estimated to have some 10 million registered users. Twitter hasn’t issued an official response, but it did offer instructions to help users send tweets using SMS:
Turkish users: you can send Tweets using SMS. Avea and Vodafone text START to 2444. Turkcell text START to 2555.
— Policy (@policy) March 20, 2014
A statement from Erdoğan, reported by the Guardian, suggested that the government may also consider closing down other social media channels that are supporting the “espionage”efforts of his rival, exiled opinion leader Fethullah Gülen.
We are determined on the issue, regardless of what the world may say. We won’t allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others. Whatever steps need to be taken we will take them without wavering.
Update: It’s worth noting that Turkish Twitter users are still able to access the service via VPN.
Image via DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images