This article was published on April 20, 2014

Two prominent Twitter accounts get blocked in Turkey following apparent court order

Two prominent Twitter accounts get blocked in Turkey following apparent court order

Turkey’s effort to quell anti-government sentiment on Twitter continues this weekend after two prominent accounts were seemingly blocked from the service’s estimated 10 million users in Turkey, as Reuters reports.

The accounts — @HARAMZADELER333 and @BASCALAN — have been used to disseminate information that purportedly implicates Turkey’s Prime Minsiter and other senior politicians in much-rumored corruption scandals, and are followed by 537,000 and 431,000 Twitter users respectively.

Both accounts show up fine for overseas users, but those accessing Twitter from Turkey are barred from viewing their content, as screenshots tweeted by users in the country show:

Those in Turkey wanting to access content from these accounts can use a VPN service to do so, although the government clamped down on Google’s DNS service earlier this month, so that commonly-chosen option will not work.

Twitter has previously authored blog posts in response to developments in Turkey, but it is yet to cover this latest development. However, tweets from its @policy account suggest that it is responding to a court order and that, while it has blocked the content locally, it has not provided information about the users behind the accounts themselves.

There is also a suggestion that Twitter may be contesting the court order which (it appears) is the reason why the content on these accounts is barred from Turkish users.

We’ve reached out to Twitter to see if it can confirm the steps that have been taken.

Turkey began blocking Twitter earlier this month, as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to “wipe out” the microblogging service after it was used to expose alleged government corruption. The ban was subsequently lifted around two weeks later, following a brief restoration and a counter-suit from Twitter which bid to free itself from the initial court order.

Erdoğan hasn’t only targeted Twitter in his efforts to stop Internet communication, YouTube was also blocked in the country.

Now it appears that, with Twitter unblocked, the government is working to stop the most damaging accounts from being able to communicate with the Turkish public. Twitter is known for being aggressively against complying with government requests — it very publicly threatened the NSA over ‘gag laws,’ for example — so, despite the silence, it seems likely that it is fighting to restore full access to these two Turkish accounts and prevent others from being muted.

Headline image via DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images