Turkey’s Effort to ‘Eradicate Twitter’ Isn’t Working

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BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04:  Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media following talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the German federal Chancellery on February 4, 2013 in Berlin, Germany. The two leaders discussed issues including bilateral relations, the situation in Syria and the Turkish economy.  (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Erdogan. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been railing against Twitter since it was used to organize last year's anti-government protests, and recently links to recordings that appear to implicate his administration in a corruption scandal have been circulating on the site (including one in which a voice that sounds like Erdogan's tells his son to dispose of large amounts of cash). On Friday he made his move, blocking Twitter across the country. "We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says," Erdogan told supporters at a rally hours earlier. "Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic."

What the world witnessed is that Turkey's power is fairly limited. While Turkish users who try to access Twitter still see a government notice citing four court orders that authorize the ban, many are using VPNs to circumvent the block. The hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey quickly became a top trend worldwide, and Twitter posted instructions on how to keep posting via text message:

On Friday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the government is trying to work out an agreement with Twitter, adding, "I don't think this will last too long."