TURKISH COURTS have blocked access to Twitter in a controversial pre-election ruling.
The decision to block the social network apparently was taken at the request of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, but does not have the support of many others.
Despite having been in place for less than a day, the blockade has already drawn criticism from Europe. Twitter, for its part, has recommended a workaround for Turkish users.
"Gravely concerned by blocked @twitter - being free 2communicate&freely choose the means 2do it,is fundamental EU value," he said.
Neelie Kroes, EC VP for the digital agenda, called the ban pointless. "The Twitter ban in #Turkey is groundless, pointless, cowardly," she said. "Turkish people and intl community will see this as censorship. It is."
Twitter was ready with a workaround for locked out Turkish users.
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
Erdogan proudly announced that Twitter was being walled off, and had already spoken earlier of his desire to see Twitter blocked, but Ria Oomen-Ruijten, MEP and Rapporteur on Turkey for the European Parliament, was much less keen.
"Blocking social media is unacceptable in a functioning democracy and rule of law. I call on the Turkish Government to address this issue without delay. Turkish citizens should be able to express their opinion both offline and online," she said.
"Turkey is backtracking instead of taking steps forward. Measures that limit freedom for the citizens and the press have no place in a modern society and democratic rule of law. I have asked the Turkish Minister for European Affairs for a full explanation". µ
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