Turkey Vows Twitter Censorship

January 22nd, 2015

The Twitter micro blogging site is popular around the world, however it is frequently threatened in certain countries.  Turkey has already blocked the site several times before and has now told the site it must delete the account of a Turkish Newspaper on it’s site.

The newspaper – Birgun has been criticised by the government because it allegedly shared official documents which detailed a raid on Turkish Intelligence Agency trucks which were heading to Syria.  More mysteriously the raid apparently was undertaken by the military police.


The issue was taken to a local Turkish court who ruled that no media could cover this story as it may compromise national security.  However the information is already out there, so although Twitter and Facebook initially co-operated with the demand – it’s pretty non-ending.  There are of course plenty of people ready to retweet information which the government want to suppress.   Of course anybody can see that it’s completely pointless, you can’t suppress information when it’s been in the public domain even for a few hours – it’s out time to move one.

It looks like Turkey is trying to avoid blocking Twitter altogether, however if this is looking inevitable if they continue on this rather pointless path.   The initial court order when passed to Twitter asked for the removal of the information from over 200 accounts, these requests were passed individually along with threats to delete accounts.   Imagine,  all these Tweets had already been seen by all the followers of these 200+ accounts, plus the publicity probably attracted even more followers.   The amount of people who already knew about the raids was huge, with the potential to spread it by retweets and of course by word of mouth – in summary it was a completely pointless exercise.

Blocking Twitter would have stalled the spread of the information slightly more effectively, combined with the Turkish Governments oppression of the free press.   However this also is doomed to failure as there are plenty of other micro blogging sites plus thousands of other ways to disseminate information online.  This doesn’t even include the thousands of Turkish people who have realised that investing in hide ip software is pretty important when you have a government so intent on censorship in power.

Whether the proposed bill to allow the Turkish government powers to block sites like Twitter goes through, there is no doubt there’s a great risk to democracy in Turkey.  The country has benefited from increased investment from the international community because of the democratic changes.    Turkish journalists and the media are still able to speak out against the Government and their changes at the moment.  However this might not be possible if the current leaders continue down this authoritative path intent on crushing freedom whenever it suits them.

James Carrington
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