The Slatest

Turkey’s Prime Minister May Have Just Banned Twitter

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference in Istanbul on February 25, 2012.

Photo by MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had some fighting words for Twitter today. Speaking at an election rally in the western province of Bursa, he said, “Twitter, mwitter kökünü kazıyacağız,” which, depending on interpretation, roughly translates to the taunting, “We will wipe out Twitter, schmitter,” or the more sinister, “We will wipe out Twitter and other similar sites.”

Those words turned into action, according to reports from users inside Turkey, around 4:30pm ET when the site was blocked. Twitter is investigating and sent out advice – in Turkish and English – for working around the apparent restriction this afternoon.

Erdogan, not much for social media, threatened earlier this month to restrict other sites like Youtube and Facebook in the run up to Turkey’s March 30 election day. In the past, Erdogan has asserted more control over the web citing privacy concerns, though Al Jazeera reports, this latest move may be more about stemming corruption rumors and allegations that have gone viral online.