The average person on the streets of Turkey awoke this morning to discover that their government had taken a drastic step. They have blocked access to the popular social media site, Twitter.
Apparently, a user attempting to access the site will be redirected to a government page telling them that the site is blocked. This as a result of prime minister Erdogan's vow to put a stop to the site.
"I don't care what the international community says at all. Everyone will see the power of the Turkish Republic," Mr Erdogan said earlier on Thursday.
He spoke after some users had posted documents reportedly showing evidence of corruption relating to the prime minister - a claim he denies.
His office said that Twitter had not responded to Turkey's court rulings to remove some links, forcing Ankara to act.
This is an unfortunate turn of events as yet another government attempts to control their populace with ham fisted tactics. Luckily there is a way around this website block. SMS still works for users. Here is a suggested avenue from Twitter's @policy account for users who find themselves cut off from their social media site.
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
Avea ve Vodafone'dan 2444'e, Turkcell'den 2555'e START mesaj? göndererek SMS üzerinden Twitter kullanmaya ba?layabilirsiniz.— Policy (@policy) March 20, 2014
Twitter and Facebook played a pivotal role in the Arab Spring uprisings and the ever unpopular Erdogan must have this in mind. Especially taking into account the recent unrest in 2013 that began with Gezi Park and rapidly snowballed with the help of social media platforms.
I have reached out to Twitter to get their comments and they were very quick to respond.
Here's what we've said so far:
If we say anything else tonight, it will come from @policy or @TwitterTurkey.
Be sure to keep an eye on those accounts for updates.
I'm guessing that it won't be long before we see the likes of Facebook and YouTube blocked as well.
[UPDATE]: Seems that the Turkish government attempt to block Twitter is a categorical failure. They are using a DNS block and this can be trivially bypassed by changing your DNS to Google's public systems (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) or OpenDNS (184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11).
(Image used under CC from Surreal Name Given)