Wed, Mar 26, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Turkey tweets defying PM Erdogan’s Twitter ban: US

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US on Monday said there have been more Turkish tweets since Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan banned the micro-blogging service than before the controversial decree was issued.

The Turkish telecommunications authority blocked local access to the US-based social network on Thursday last week under Erdogan’s orders, after opposition members used the site to post telephone recordings alleging his involvement in a major corruption scandal.

The move drw the ire of the international community, with Washington on Friday denouncing it as a blow to “the right to free speech.”

However, US Department of State spokeswoman Marie Harf on Monday said “there have been more tweets from Turkey since the government blocked [Twitter] than there were before.”

“Which is an interesting, I think, signal to people who try to clamp down on freedom of expression — that it doesn’t work and isn’t the right thing to do,” she said.

“What the world saw was the number of people inside Turkey tweeting about what they thought about it being blocked there,” Harf added, as she reiterated Washington’s condemnation of the ban.

The US “said very clearly to the Turkish government that this is not acceptable and that we do not think they should be able to block their citizens’ access to these kind of social media platforms,” Harf said.

She said Washington was also “in contact with Twitter,” but did not say if the US would go to court to force Turkey to restore access.

Washington and Ankara have a long-standing military alliance and work closely to support the Syrian opposition and rebels, but relations have chilled in recent months as the US has increasingly criticized the Erdogan government’s record on civil liberties and human rights.

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