Twitter speaks out against Turkish government, says it stands by its users

Turkish women using cellphones outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, in 2008. Cellphone use is widespread in Turkey.

Above: Turkish women using cellphones outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, in 2008. Cellphone use is widespread in Turkey.

Image Credit: Kate Dixon
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Following the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to ban Twitter, Twitter has issued an official response condemning Turkey’s actions.

After offering an SMS alternative last night, Twitter’s move serves as an even clearer statement of opposition to Erdogan’s ban — a ban which we found to have backfired.

Both tweets were published in both Turkish and English.

Twitter has a lengthy history of refusing to pick sides in political discussions, although it has often stood up for people’s right to access the service when governments have blocked it, and its @policy account, where these tweets appeared, has a track record of making statements against government surveillance and restriction of access to the Internet or Twitter’s own product.

Twitter has fought against bans such as this in the past. One noteworthy example is Twitter’s collaboration with Google during the 2011 Egyptian protests. The resulting tool, “Speak to Tweet,” was an online voicemail service that tweeted links to the voice recordings with the “#egypt” hashtag. Later in the month, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone published a blog post stating the company’s beliefs in the free flow of information and tweets. 

Twitter has not yet respond to our requests for comment and more clarification.

Kia Kokalitcheva contributed to this report.
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