Twitter Blocked in Turkey Over Government Criticism to Quake Response; Public Outcry After Two Major Networks Restrict Access

As the death toll continues to rise in the earthquake affected Turkey, the relief and rescue operations are likely to face a major setback after the Twitter services were reportedly restricted in the country on Wednesday. Several netizens took to the microblogging platform claiming that Twitter was not accessible in Turkey.

Turkey Earthquake

Why is Twitter Inaccessible in Turkey?

Netblocks, which tracks connectivity across the globe, claimed that Twitter has been suspended in Turkey two days after deadly earthquake rattled the country and left a trail of disaster. "Confirmed: Real-time network data show Twitter has been restricted in #Turkey; the filtering is applied on major internet providers and comes as the public come to rely on the service in the aftermath of a series of deadly earthquakes," the outlet said in a tweet.

Netblocks reported that real-time NetBlocks metrics indicate that Twitter has been restricted by means of SNI filtering on major internet providers TTNet and Turkcell, with aggregated reachability statistics collected from an initial set of 40 vantage points. "This class of disruption can be worked around using VPN services, which are able to circumvent government internet censorship measures," read the report.

Balkan Insight reported that blockade comes in wake of growing public anger against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan government's response to the relief and rescue operations following a series of deadly earthquakes.

As per the outlet, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, CHP said they will continue to use Twitter with VPN. "I told my friends in the field to use VPN for cooperation coordination. This insane ... the government cut off social media communication," he said.

Anger on Social Media

Even though two major internet providers TurkTelekom and Turkcell have completely blocked access, Vodafone still allows slower access to Twitter, the outlet claimed.

The recent development has invited a lot of reactions on the microblogging site, with many urging Elon Musk to intervene. "@elonmusk mr musk. Twitter is down in Turkey in this moment when comunications is so important. PLEASE solve it as soon as possible. Its crucial in this moment," tweeted a user.'

"The Turkish government just shut down Twitter to prevent free flow of information from the earthquake zone. Twitter was crucial for disaster aid coordination. Can we get a limited time free deal for users from Turkey?" wrote another user.

"@elonmusk Twitter is down in Turkey right now. People that are under collapsed buildings were using Twitter to share their location to get help since the gsm connection is problematic. Can you please help or do something??" pleaded a user.

This article was first published on February 9, 2023