Amnesty's Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner blogs on freedom of expression and the widely criticized and ultimately futile attempt to silence Twitter (follow @andrewegardner on Twitter)
The Twitter shutdown started at about 11pm on Thursday night. My telephone started to ring: had I heard that Twitter was blocked? There was confusion about who could access Twitter, who couldn’t, and why. And would the government really take this step – such a brazen attack on freedom of expression – just a week before the local elections?
Yes, that’s just what they have done. Five days on, Twitter is still blocked in Turkey and there is no sign of when the ban might be lifted.
It wasn’t a complete surprise. Four hours before it was shut down, Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had threatened to “wipe out” Twitter at an election rally. And as he has said since, he personally gave the order. It’s a textbook example of how policy is made – and human rights infringed – in Turkey.