Global outcry over Turkey’s Twitter ban
ISTANBULGlobal organizations and the international media have reacted strongly to Turkey’s decision to block Twitter. Here are some of the reactions:
Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI) Press Freedom Manager Barbara Trionfi: “Efforts to shut down Twitter in order to control the news are not only ultimately futile – they sadly move Turkey away from the embrace of human rights and the rule of law, and closer to autocracy. It’s been said that censorship is the lobby of dictatorship. What’s the point of democracy if you won’t give voters the possibility of making an informed decision?”
New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova: "We call on Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan to stop his vitriol against social media in the country and focus on ensuring that all information platforms are free to function freely in advance of local elections. Turkish authorities must stop viewing the media as the enemy and embrace the role of a free press in a democratic society."
Emma Sinclair-Webb, senior Turkey researcher at Human Rights Watch: “This is another fundamental blow to freedom of expression in Turkey and the right to access information, and the closure order should be immediately lifted. The move further signals that the Turkish government has taken an anti-democratic turn which significantly sets back its human rights record.”
The New York Times: “Erdoğan had faced perhaps the biggest challenge in his 11 years in office when unidentified critics began using Twitter and YouTube to leak dozens of phone calls and documents that seemed to tie government officials and business circles close to the government to a graft inquiry that began last December. One of the recordings purports to be of the prime minister himself telling his son to get rid of large sums of cash on the morning of Dec. 17, 2013, when the homes of three former ministers’ sons were raided. Mr. Erdoğan has repeatedly — and angrily — insisted that the recording was fake.”
The Washington Post: “Erdoğan’s showdown with Twitter has been long coming. In mid-2013, thousands of protests ripped across Turkey ostensibly in opposition to a proposed urban development of Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. But many say that discontent was more rooted in the government’s shift away from secularism – Erdoğan is Muslim — and its recent crackdown on freedom of press and expression.”
The Guardian: “Twitter use breaks new record in country as Turks defy purge of social media platform by Ankara.”
Le Monde: “Erdoğan says he doesn’t care what the international community will say about the blocking of Twitter.
Die Welt: “Wiretapped recordings incriminating Erdoğan have been leaking online for the past few weeks. Now Erdoğan reacts. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government criticized Turkey saying the ban did not fit with Germany’s view of freedom of expression. ‘What we are hearing from Turkey does not comply with what we in Germany understand as free communication,’ said Mrs. Merkel’s spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz.”
Der Spiegel: “This is an attack on the freedom of thought. Only dictators could dare it.”
Moskovskaya Pravda: “Turkey blocks Twitter, is Russia next? Twitter had agreed to cooperate with Russian courts, so, a possible blockage in Russia would be softer than in Turkey.”
Kommersant: “Erdoğan is doing it to prove his power.”
Daily Mail: “Turkey PM blocks Twitter after it became awash with evidence of government ‘corruption’ ahead of elections...but his President tweets on!”