The Turkish government blocked Twitter on Thursday night after the social media network had been used to spread recordings of telephone conversations and leaked documents that appeared to implicate high-ranking officials and some of their relatives and associates in a widespread corruption investigation.
The shutdown, which Turks began to notice around midnight, occurred 10 days before local elections and came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Twitter in an election rally in Bursa, a western town, on Thursday, saying that he did not care about international reactions if national security was at stake.
“Twitter, mwitter! We will wipe out roots of all,” Erdogan declared in a campaign speech before the pivotal elections on March 30. “They say, ‘Sir, the international community can say this, can say that.’ I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the state of the Republic of Turkey is.”
Erdogan has faced perhaps the biggest challenge in his 11 years in office when unidentified critics began using Twitter and YouTube to leak dozens of phone calls and documents that seemed to tie government officials and business circles close to the government to a graft inquiry that began last December. See also coverage at The Daily Mail.