Turkish Twitterati Can Tweet Again!
By Paul Liu
Wednesday, April 9th, 2014
Twitter has made a comeback in Turkey after being unavailable for more than 2 weeks. In a dramatic turn of events, the Turkish Telecom Authority lifted the ban on Twitter after Turkey’s Constitutional Court termed the ban a violation of freedom of expression and individual rights. However, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is not happy with the court’s ruling and wants the ban to be reinstated.
Twitter was banned in Turkey shortly after Prime Minister Erdogan vowed to wipe it out from the country. The Turkish government was embarrassed ahead of the general elections after a series of audio recordings showing the extent of corruption among Prime Minister’s trusted aides were posted on the social networking site. It may be recalled that Erdogan is battling a series of corruption scandals after being in office for 11 years. The Turkish authorities ordered Twitter to remove the recordings but the San Franciso based company didn’t budge resulting in a frenzy of legal activities that culminated with the ban.
One week after Twitter was banned, Erdogan’s AK Party won the elections again. Almost coinciding with the event, an audio clip of a meeting held between top Turkish officials discussing a possible military operation in Syria was posted on YouTube. Left red faced again, the Turkish government showed great urgency and blocked YouTube within no time. The government also pledged to block more social media sites if they threatened Turkey’s sovereignty and national security. A lot of people believe Facebook could be the next target of Turkish government’s campaign against social media sites.
The international community has been vociferous in condemning the social media banning spree unleashed by the Turkish government. For a country which wants to become a part of the European Union, the conduct of Turkish authorities has simply been inexcusable. It is a well known fact that European Union values human rights and freedom of expression so by banning Twitter and YouTube, Turkey may have delayed its entry into the Union by few years or even decades.
Although Twitter’s ban has been lifted, many users now fear that the government would be a lot more proactive in monitoring their online activities (including Tweets) and censoring content on the web. As it is, Turkey is listed as “Partly Free” by Freedom House and “Under Surveillance” by Reporters Without Borders and the future could be a lot worse since the government is now determined to block websites and censor content at will.
If you are worried that your online activities could be monitored by the Turkish government then it is time to start using a privacy solution such as a VPN. When the government banned Twitter, hundreds of thousands of Turkish Twitter users relied on VPNs to access the social networking site but now that the ban has been lifted, you can use it protect your online activities and tweets from being monitored. Not to mention, using a VPN would also allow you to access YouTube and other blocked websites without worrying about the undue repercussions.
In case you need on, here are some really good VPN service providers that we’ve tried:
- Invisible Browsing
- Private Internet Access