Category: News

Latest Stupid Erdogan Move – Turkey Blocks Twitter

Somewhere within the Turkish Government surely there must be someone who is able to tell PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  that his latest tactic of blocking social networking sites is incredibly stupid.  Unfortunately it would seem not,  as  that is exactly what has happened within the last twelve hours.

Here’s an example of what happens if you now try to visit the social networking site Twitter using a Turkcell mobile phone.   The same thing happens if you try and access from any other device, a fact which I have confirmed with several friends who live on the Turkish coast and in Istanbul.

Twitter Blocked by ErdoganIt has been made legally possible by a dodgy piece of legislation passed last month by the Government which allows websites to be blocked on a variety of spurious reasons and without the need of a court order which was previously required.

The main reason (as always) why the Turkish leader hates social networking sites so much is because they are used to distribute the numerous allegations of corruption within his government.

Twitter was used to distribute the phone call recordings which allegedly take place between Erdogan and his family discussing where to hide various large sums of money from the corruption investigations.  The PM denies this allegations and insists these recordings have been faked, but they are making him very mad indeed.   There are apparently some more recordings to come, which happily this block  will have virtually no effect on whatsoever.

It is of course utterly pointless to block access to these sites for a variety of reasons – which many corrupt leaders have found out to their costs.   Here’s some of the more obvious ones –

  • Thousands of alternatives available to distribute information
  • Looks like an admission of guilt
  • Lots of ways to bypass the blocks quickly and easily (Identity Cloaker for one)
  • International condemnation – not a way to run a democratic republic!

It will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks, if Erdogan keeps on this track and blocks access to even more social sharing sites.  In reality it will probably have little effect other than to galvanise the opposition and attract even more international criticism.   He may however take notice that his technical efforts have been of limited effect domestically,  the number of tweets sent within the country has not even fallen!  Blocking access to these sites just makes you look like you have something to hide, expect to see increased protests and opposition if he chooses this route. Turkey are of course unfortunately already noted for their level of censorship, these blocks only bring the eyes of the world down on his undemocratic censorship.   In any event, the only really effective method to restricting access to sites like Twitter is to block the entire internet, a bit  like North Korea or move up to the sort of solution China has employed to block access, needless to say this would not be a popular move!

Vietnam’s Persecution of Bloggers

So ok, bloggers can be annoying. Very often we sound a bit full of ourselves, perhaps we’ve checked our stats and  found that 10 new people have subscribed and got a bit carried away.   In many countries, there’s a host of attention seeking, self important rubbish riters (sic) who couldn’t get published anywhere else….

But the important point is that people get a voice, anyone gets to state their opinion – a blog is somewhere to put your point across.  It’s somewhere to protest, to complain, in biblical terms it gives a voice to the meek – and we know what they’re supposed to inherit.

Well Just Cheese

Vietnam know how important the opinion of bloggers is, which is why they actively persecute anyone who speaks out against them.  The country is only second in the world in the league table of imprisoning blogger and dissidents – of course China is first.

Imprisoning bloggers sounds bizarre, especially by a country where you might be considering taking your next holiday.  So what is a blogger, why are they so dangerous? Well here’s some definitions, just grabbed at random from the web – ‘cos that’s what we do.

  • a blog is a personal journal

Do you know – I think I’ll leave it at that.  It’s not complicated it just involves speaking online about things you want to talk about.  But I need a list so instead, here’s one of  bloggers who have been jailed in Vietnam.

I’ve tried to post relevant links in each case, but there is always much more to the story.  I urge you to google any of the above names and be both inspired and saddened by their stories.   They’re all being imprisoned for very long terms simply because of what they said online – they’re also not alone!  In fact there are at least 35 bloggers/thinkers/scholars and writers who are imprisoned for no very good reason in Vietnam.

Simply put they should be free – here’s the petition…

vietnam-bloggers

(Updated – Petition Closed Now)

Turkish Protests – Is Social Media so Bad?

If you were asked for the greatest menace facing society, what would you go for?  Something like war, famine, disease, religion, capitalism or perhaps global warming and impending environmental disaster?  No, perhaps you’d plump for something more specific depending on your location perhaps malaria, HIV or your local dictator someone like Robert Mugabe?

Well whatever your choice, I suspect not many would pick Twitter or Facebook – but that’s seems to be the choice of Recep Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey.  The quote was –

“Social media is the worst menace to society”

Well I think what he really means, is that social media is a menace to those in power especially when your people don’t like very much what you’re doing to their country.

The backdrop for this idiotic comment is of course the protests in Turkey.  Starting in Istanbul seemingly with a small protest trying to save a park, the authorities piled in the police with tear gas and water cannons. Suddenly the hundred became thousands and then hundreds of thousands as the protests spread across the country through the major cities.   Paul Mason of the BBC a veteran reporter of these protests has been shocked at the sheer size.

This of course put’s the prime ministers quotes into context, if my people were rising up against me – I suspect I would also consider Twitter to be a real menace.

This has of course moved on from the protest about a park in Istanbul. The cries from the crowd are along the lines “long? live atatürk and f*ck erdogan”. Kemil Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic is rightly still a hero to many Turkish especially the young. They have seen however the model of a free, democratic, secular society slowly being eroded by a religious man who seems to have been in power for too long.

Just for clarification – secular means keeping religion out of government, whereas the President seems intent in turning Turkey into an Islamic state. His latest laws are restrictions on the sale of alcohol – he mentions that people who drink are alcoholics anyway. The internet has been heavily filtered over the years with most of the social networking sites being blocked at some point over the years.

That’s not all many gay and lesbian sites (message boards, information sites, not pornography) have been banned, Richard Dawkin’s site was banned after he ridiculed a book on creationism, the list get’s longer and longer every year in fact you need a proxy unlock program for even the most benign sites in many cases. Many Turkish people and indeed a vast number of expats who live in the country have used proxy sites for some time to be able to access sites often blocked by the Turkish Government.

Here’s hoping it can be resolved peacefully and the Turkish people get the government they want and deserve.