As Turkey prepares for a
“In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today,” wrote the company’s Global Government Affairs account in a series of tweets on Friday night. “We have informed the account holders of this action in line with our policy. This content will remain available in the rest of the world.”
By Saturday, users were calling out the platform’s choice in cries of free speech censorship.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded to the immediate notes of concern in his own way, taking to Twitter to engage with users after the announcement. Musk prompted more worry, however, implying that the Turkish government had reached out to Twitter about the upcoming election in a reply to a user’s request for the reasoning behind the block. Musk wrote, “
Musk also responded to Bloomberg columnist Matthew Yglesias, who accused the CEO and his platform of acquiescing to Erdoğan’s censorship demands, tweeting: “Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?”
The hotly-contested election may decide the fate of the country’s longest-held incumbent president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been in power for the last 21 years. Erdoğan’s alignment with Turkey’s conservative and Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) has solidified his presence as an authoritarian and nationalist figure.
In 2016, sections of the Turkish military, joined by citizens galvanized by social media coverage of the news,
This year, as Erdoğan faces off against his parliamentary-focused opponent Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkish citizens are also voting with recent natural disasters (and the government’s response) in mind,
At the same time, human rights organizations have
“The Turkish government has accelerated its efforts to enforce censorship and tighten control over social media and independent online news sites ahead of this election,” wrote Human Rights Watch senior technology researcher, Deborah Brown, in a report on Turkey’s history of oppression and a rise in