Turkey attempts to increase block on Twitter

Turkey has increased its efforts to block access to Twitter after many user found ways around a government-imposed ban

Turkey has increased its efforts to block access to Twitter after many users, including the country’s president, found ways around a government-imposed ban.

Turkish authorities have a long history of monitoring and filtering web content in the country, even intermittently blocking access to online services.

Last week, anyone trying to access Twitter was redirected to a statement by Turkey's telecommunications regulator that cites a court order to apply "protection measures" on the website.

Now the country’s internet service providers are blocking the IP addresses used by Twitter, making it significantly more difficult to get around the restrictions, reports the Guardian.

Turkish telecoms watchdog BTK said the Twitter ban was in response to complaints that the social blogging site was breaching privacy.

But reports have linked the ban to prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's vow to "wipe out Twitter" following damaging allegations of corruption in his inner circle, which he denies.

The attempts to block Twitter have been criticised on the social media site by Turkish President Abdullah Gül, who posted five tweets on Friday.

He said the shutdown of an entire social platform is unacceptable, but noted that it is technically impossible to close down communication technologies like Twitter entirely.

Gül also said he hoped the measures would not last long.

Twitter, which reportedly has around 10 million users in Turkey, has published a message telling users in Turkey that it is possible to send tweets using mobile phone text messaging.

And on Friday it Tweeted: “We stand with our users in Turkey who rely on Twitter as a vital communications platform. We hope to have full access returned soon.”

Twitter users in Turkey have also been sharing information to help others affected by the ban, such as private protocols that can be used to hide an internet user's location and circumvent the block.

The IP address block is also being circumvented with the use of virtual private networks (VPNs), with downloads of one such app, Hotspot Shield, increasing from an average of 10,000 daily to 270,000 in just 12 hours, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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