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Turkish attempt to ban Twitter backfires

By The Associated Press

This article was published March 21, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's attempt to block access to Twitter appeared to backfire Friday with many tech-savvy users circumventing the ban and suspicions growing that the prime minister was using court orders to suppress corruption allegations against him and his government.

Turkey's telecommunications authority confirmed early Friday that it had blocked access to the social media network hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to "rip out the roots" of the website. Tweets have proliferated with links to recordings that appear to incriminate him and other top officials in corruption.

Turkey in the past blocked access to YouTube, but it is the first ban on Twitter, which is hugely popular in the country — to the point where Turkish hashtags routinely appear in global trends. The social network was instrumental in organizing flash protests against the government last year.

By midday Friday, tweets were continuing unabated as users swapped instructions online on how to change settings. One enterprising user spread the word by defacing Turkish election posters with instructions on beating censors.

President Abdullah Gul, a political ally of Erdogan's, was among those who circumvented the order, which he contested in a series of tweets.

"I hope this implementation won't last long," he wrote.

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