US on Turkey's Twitter ban: more tweets than before

March 24, 2014
Protesters demonstrate against the ban on Twitter in Ankara on March 22, 2014

The United States on Monday noted there have been more Turkish tweets since the prime minister controversially banned the micro-blogging service than before.

Turkey's telecommunications authority blocked local access to the US social network Thursday under orders of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after opposition members used the social network to post telephone recordings implicating him in a major corruption scandal.

The move has attracted ire from the international community, with Washington on Friday denouncing the blow to "the right to free speech."

But State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf noted Monday that "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 continued, as she also reiterated her government's condemnation of the ban.

The United States "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.

The spokeswoman noted that the US government was also "in contact with Twitter," but did not say if the United States would go to court to force Turkey to restore access to the service.

Washington and Ankara have a long-standing military alliance, including through NATO, and the two countries work together closely to support the opposition and the rebellion in Syria.

But relations have chilled in recent months as the United States has increasingly criticized the government's record on respecting civil liberties and human rights under Erdogan.

Explore further: Turkey PM says YouTube, Facebook could be banned (Update)

Related Stories

Turkey PM threatens to 'wipe out' Twitter

March 20, 2014

Turkey's combative prime minister warned on Thursday that he would eradicate Twitter in the wake of damaging allegations of corruption in his inner circle that have spread across social networks in recent weeks.

Turkish attempt to ban Twitter appears to backfire (Update 5)

March 21, 2014

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

Twittersphere rallies to help Turks by-pass block

March 21, 2014

The global Internet community rallied to help Twitter users in Turkey circumvent a block on the popular messaging service on Friday, as some experts said Ankara's efforts are backfiring.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 27, 2014
"The spokeswoman noted that the US government was also "in contact with Twitter," but did not say if the United States would go to court to force Turkey to restore access to the service."

Why would the US government spend millions of dollars taking another country to court on behalf of Twitter? Do we have nothing better to spend money on?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.