access to Twitter blocked then restored by President Erdogan

Access to Twitter was restored Thursday, February 9 in Turkey, after being blocked for a dozen hours on the main mobile phone providers in the country, accustomed to this type of practice. The restriction on the social network has sparked widespread criticism of the government’s response to the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, and whose toll, which exceeded 17,500 dead, continues to rise.

The return to service, noted by a journalist from Agence France-Presse in Turkey, occurred shortly after a tweet from the boss of the social networkElon Musk, that “Twitter has been informed by the Turkish government that access will be[it] reactivated shortly ». Internet governance watchdog, which warned of the shutdown, subsequently confirmed the restoration of service.

Screening risks weighing on rescue operations

Since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on Monday, Turkish social media has been flooded with messages from people complaining about the slow deployment of relief efforts. Turks also use Twitter to post information about unreachable relatives, reports of collapsed buildings and aid coordination.

Turkey’s Deputy Infrastructure Minister, Ömer Fatih Sayan, clarified in a tweet Thursday, speaking with two senior Twitter executives, John Hughes and Ronan Costello. “We reminded them of their responsibility towards our country following this disaster”he insisted, telling them of his expectations for cooperation in the “fight against misinformation”, as earthquake relief continues. “Our demands are clear”said the Deputy Minister, who emphasized the need “measures against content likely to undermine public order and security”. had estimated that the filtering risked“have an impact on rescue operations” victims, adding that Turkey had “a long history of restrictions [de l’usage] social networks during national emergencies and security incidents ». During the cut, however, access to Twitter remained possible through VPN accounts, masking the location of the user. Turkish police have arrested a dozen people since the quake, over social media posts criticizing the Turkish government’s handling of the disaster.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers After the earthquake in Turkey, President Erdogan weakened three months before the elections

“What the hell is this? »

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged “shortcomings” in the response. “It is impossible to be prepared for such a disaster”he said from the province of Hatay (South), one of the most affected, on the Syrian border. “A few dishonest people (…) published false statements such as ‘we did not see any soldiers or police'” in this province, denounced Mr. Erdogan, adding that 21,000 relief personnel had been deployed in Hatay. “We will respond to the disaster in such a way that no one is left under the ruins and no one suffers,” he promised four months before the presidential election.

Turkish officials have in recent weeks issued, on several occasions, warnings about the use of social networks before the presidential and legislative elections of May 14, where Mr. Erdogan is seeking a new mandate after twenty years in power. According to one of them, the disaster poses “very serious difficulties” for the holding of the presidential election scheduled for May 14, putting pressure on the president.

“We already know everything they want to hide”, said Wednesday, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The leader of the Good Party, a small anti-Erdogan movement created in the fall of 2017, Meral Aksener, claimed that Twitter was necessary to “relaying the needs of earthquake victims”. “What the hell is this? », she added. The two political leaders are part of the Table of Six, the name given to the alliance of six opposition parties which are trying to agree to block the head of state.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Turkey, where President Erdogan is rising in the polls, the opposition is in disarray

The World with AFP

source site-29