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Twitter Ban In Turkey Prompts Even More Tweets

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When Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan vowed to "wipe out" Twitter on Thursday, he set himself up for a showdown with the company, the international community, and crucially -- with Turkey's social media savvy population.

Erdogan declared his war on Twitter during an election rally on Thursday, saying he would wipe out the service and did not care what the international community had to say about it. "Twitter, mwitter!," Erdogan added gleefully (The phrase roughly translates to "Twitter, schmitter!").

The Turkish prime minister was drumming up support ahead of local elections on March 30 and a potential presidential run later this year. But Erdogan has been dogged by corruption scandals and popular protests against his government and the strongman had often blamed social media for aggravating tension.

Just hours after Erdogan's comments, at midnight on Thursday, Turkish telecoms watchdog BTK announced Twitter had gone down citing court orders. Shortly after, accessing Twitter.com in Turkey returned a page describing the site's removal.

A mere three hours later, however, more tweets went out from the country than on a regular day before the ban -- according to Turkish data analysis company Gonzo Insight 2. 5 million to be precise, or 17,000 per minute.

In an eruption of outrage, Turkey's Twitter ban became the top trending topic early Friday.


Twitter's policy team sent out a tweet with instructions on circumventing the ban by using SMS, retweeted by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

Turkish tweeps got even more creative, circulating instructions on how to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get around the ban. One Twitter user posted a photo of a Turkish cellphone full of VPN apps.

Another route around the Twitter ban, changing your Domain Name System (DNS) server, spread like wildfire.

For those in Turkey already locked out of the site, the instructions have been widely posted where they can be seen -- on the streets.


Turkey's Deputy Premier Bulent Arinc, who is known to have had frequent fall-outs with the prime minister, went on tweeting as normal on Friday with an innocuous post about his schedule.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Abdullah Gul flouted the ban and took to... Twitter.. to express his discontent. "One cannot approve of the complete closure of social media platforms," he posted on his official account.

The president had earlier spoken out against Erdogan's previous clampdown on web freedoms, although some analysts note that Gul has not blocked Erdogan's measures and accuse the pair of playing a good cop, bad cop routine.

Turkey's angry Twitter users responded to Erdogan's challenge in force on Friday, mercilessly mocking the prime minister on the social network.

Twitter is incredibly popular in the country. According to Gonzo Insight data, 10 million tweets are posted each day from the country on average , a figure that may yet be dwarfed by the Twitter explosion on Friday. Pew's Conrad Hackett noted that a higher proportion of Turkey's internet users use social media than in the U.S.

Take a look at some of the best tweets in the slideshow below.

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