Twitter briefly blocked in Turkey after deadly bombing

The service was blocked after the users in Turkey were posting images of the Suruc bombing and protesting the government.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Twitter was blocked for a few hours in Turkey, but it's now back, according to reports. Screenshot by Dara Kerr/CNET

Twitter was briefly blocked in Turkey on Wednesday after users tweeted images and called for government protests Monday's deadly bombing in the country.

The Turkey government blocked access to Twitter for approximately three hours on Wednesday in response to users taking to the microblogging service to post pictures of Monday's Suruc terror bombing. Users also called on others to protest and accuse the government of not doing enough to protect its citizens, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. The government also reportedly asked Twitter to remove 107 links with images of the bombing, and Twitter had complied with 50 of those requests before the blockade, according to the report.

The blockade followed a bombing in Suruc, Turkey on Monday that killed 32 people and wounded dozens more. The bombing was allegedly in connection with the Turkey's recent crackdown on the Islamic State group, which has tried to undermine the government. According to the Associated Press, Turkey has detained 500 people in the last six months with alleged ties to the group.

With over 300 million monthly active users, including three-quarters of those accounts outside the US, Twitter has long been a destination for people to share opinions and information in 140 characters or less. Twitter, which registers over 500 million tweets per day, was the first home for news of the raid on Usama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan in 2011 and has proven to be the online water cooler for people who want to share their opinions on what's happening on any given day.

For some countries, Twitter's position as a place for people to share opinions and photos on potentially controversial topics has proven troublesome. The service has been blocked in a slew of countries around the world, including China, North Korea, and several countries in the Middle East.

Twitter isn't alone. Most other popular social networks, including Facebook and YouTube, where people share their uncensored opinions, are blocked in heavily censored countries.

The relationship between Twitter and Turkey has been a particularly odd one. In March 2014, Twitter was banned in Turkey after the country's Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to " wipe out Twitter." His inflammatory comments came after Twitter users across the country accused the government of corruption.

"They will see the Turkish Republic's strength," he said at the time.

Just a few weeks after the ban, Twitter was brought back online after Turkey's constitutional court ruled that the ban was in violation of the country's freedom of expression and individual rights. Not long after, Erdogan said that the "ruling on Twitter did not serve justice," adding that the ban should be overturned. Twitter was still available to Turkey users until Wednesday.

The most recent ban on Twitter was lifted after the company "removed malicious content, including hate speech," the Associated Press is reporting, citing an official who spoke to the news service on condition of anonymity.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.