If you live or travel in Turkey, you're likely to notice a range of internet restrictions. The Turkish government has a long history of targeting social media, and Twitter specifically, with various blocks and limitations. Why is this, and how can you unblock Twitter in Turkey?
The Turkish government started restricting the social media site back in 2014. This came after audio clips circulated online that may have implicated then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a corruption scandal.
This was not an isolated incident. As recently as January 2021, Twitter has been targeted with restrictions on their ability to promote online ads. This is apparently because of failure to comply with new social media laws in the country.
Many argue that the Turkish government wants to influence social media to prevent it from swaying global opinions against the current regime. This is problematic as Turkey has over 10 million Twitter users and nearly 40 million Facebook users connecting on a daily basis, most of whom need access to communicate with family and read the latest news. Social media sites have been a popular target for blocks in the past by Turkey and other countries experiencing political unrest.
2014 March. YouTube and Twitter are blocked in Turkey after an audio clip was shared online, apparently incriminating Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now Turkey’s president, of corruption.
Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not a fan of Twitter. He said: “Now we have a menace that is called Twitter. The best example of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”
2015 April. Turkey blocked Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to stop the sharing of graphic images of prosecutor held hostage and a gun being held to his head were posted online. Once the images were removed from the social media sites, access to them was reinstated.
2015 September. Following unrest among Kurdish protesters, the government imposed a Twitter ban to stop violent images being shared online. Social media blackout could return as tensions grow in the country. This past Tuesday (Sept. 8th), Turkey send in troops to Syria to look for rebel Kurdish Troops after a number of violent altercations with police ended with a death toll of 33.
2015 October 10. A horrible terrorist attack has shocked Turkey with over 80 people reported dead and many more injured during a Peace rally in the country capital Ankara. Hours after the attach Turkish government has launched news censor from the country and blocks to both Facebook and Twitter were reported soon after.
Blocking social media sites has become a symbol of political tensions in the country.
2016 March 5. An attack on free expression as one of the biggest newspapers was seized on presidential orders. The raids of Zaman newspaper offices in Istanbul and Ankara shook the nation that has undergone countless freedom of speech censorship initiatives in recent years. Change.org had started a petition to end Turkey's crackdown on free press.
2016 March 14. Ankara court bans Facebook and Twitter in wake of photographs of an explosion appearing on social media channels.
2021 January 19. The Turkish government's most recent move against Twitter has seen them remove advertising from the site. This came as a penalty after the company failed to comply with new laws that critics claims are intended to stifle free speech.
If a site like Twitter is restricted, using a VPN can help to unblock it.
VPNs can encrypt your internet traffic and allow access to blocked content by rerouting your IP address. They can help, for example, when it comes to YouTube, and VPN services can also help you to unblock Twitter in Turkey. A NordVPN encrypts your data through a secure tunnel before accessing the internet – this protects any sensitive information about your location by hiding your IP address.
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