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Mystery Turkish Anti-Government Twitter Account Blocked

Erdogan Clamps Down On Online Dissent

The Turkish government has had a rough time of it on social media recently; following the mass protests last year which saw millions taking to the streets as well as Twitter and Facebook to express their anger at the government’s restrictive policies, and the recent outburst against the deputy Prime Minister’s statements about women, the administration is now under scrutiny for the sudden blocking of a prominent anti-government account on Twitter.

With general elections in Turkey just a few days away and current Prime Minister Erdogan the favourite for re-election, the government is doing all it can to maintain the status quo. While the true identity of the account, @fuatnavi, is a mystery, the information which it dispensed suggests that it is somebody inside the government or at least somebody with access to restricted government plans.

Prime Minister Erdogan allegedly recently ordered the formation of the Cosmic Study Group (KÇG): a specialist police unit dedicated to acting against members of the Gülen Movement, a moderate Islamic group active in Turkey which is believed to have had some influence in the corruption charges levelled at Prime Minister Erdogan in 2013. The Twitter account in question tweeted details regarding upcoming activities by the KÇG, including planned raids at dawn and operational locations.

It was soon after this that the account was blocked by Twitter in what they said was a response to a court order issued to them – a statement from the website said that they remained committed to free speech, a believable enough claim considering their refusal to bow to censorship laws in countries like China. They said that they would be appealing the court’s decision.

While recent Turkish government activity on social media has been more diverting than anything else, as deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc was lampooned on social sites for his suggestion that women should not laugh in public, this development suggests a more sinister ploy to control the digital narrative.

Turkey has around 1.75 million Twitter users out of a population of 75 million, although the number of active tweeters soared by 138% following the government’s temporary banning of the site in March of this year. In a country where the traditional media is stringently controlled by officials, it is online forums where people are most able to express dissatisfaction and unrest.

@fuatnavi appeared to be forewarned that the account would be shut down, urging followers to transfer to a different account and making pointed statements like ‘Hey Fidan [Hakan Fidan, chief of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation], you know me like you know your name. Beware that neither you nor your Ismail will be able to escape. You’re among the losers.’ 

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Mystery Turkish Anti-Government Twitter Account Blocked Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, August 07, 2014 Rating: 5
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