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POLITICS > Erdoğan fears 140 characters, CHP leader says

Banu Şen - Turan Gültekin / İZMİR

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the government's blocking of Twitter during his election rally in the western city of İzmir on March 22.

Thousands of CHP supporters, who packed Gündoğdu Square in the CHP stronghold city, welcomed Kılıçdaroğlu enthusiastically, chanting "Prime Minister Kemal." In response, the CHP head said "Inshallah [God willing] it will happen. The first step will be March 30," referring to the upcoming local elections.

"They have banned Twitter. Twitter is mostly used by young people. You have created a prime minister who fears 140 characters," Kılıçdaroğlu added. "I'm giving him [Erdoğan] a title: He's not an ordinary thief; he is the Thief-in-Chief. And now all the world knows his new title. Have you ever seen another politician who called Twitter 'a trouble' and promised to close down Facebook and Twitter?"

Although Erdoğan "brings shame" on Turkey, Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that the ban "cuts no ice with the youth."

The number of active Twitter users, as well as tweets posted, has soared in Turkey since the government blocked access.

Twitter suspends one account

Meanwhile, Twitter has suspended one account in accordance with the government's requests, semi-official Anatolia news agency has reported.

The government had listed three court rulings and one prosecutor's order as the source of the blocking of Twitter. One of these cases was related to a Turkish woman's complaint for the removal of her explicit photos shared through one account without her consent.

Lawyer Mehmet Ali Köksal told daily Hürriyet that Twitter's removal was a "routine procedure," while the pro-government media has presented the development as "Twitter's retreat" in the face of the Turkish government's increased pressure.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, meanwhile, has signaled that the block can be revoked anytime if Twitter "cooperates" with Ankara. After the representatives of both sides met in Ankara, Twitter expressed hope that full access to the website would be returned soon, but the Turkish government keeps closing the backdoors like DNS services and argues that there are hundreds of court rulings that Twitter does not abide by.

March/22/2014

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