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Turkey Bans Twitter: Here's Why

Turkey

BY JACOB RESNECK / GlobalPost

It's hard not to see this as having to do with the audio files Twitter users are passing around involving the prime minister and a corruption investigation.

ErdoganISTANBUL — Turkey has blocked Twitter hours after the prime minister vowed he’d “eradicate” the popular social media site.

A controversial new internet law passed last month allows the country’s telecommunications authority to order content removed within hours without a court order.

On Thursday night, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Twitter wasn’t complying with the new law, and told a rally of thousands that he’d bring the site down.

The press advisory of the Prime Ministry later in the night clarified Erdogan's statement, arguing that Twitter officials currently "ignore" some court rulings in Turkey, which order the social media platform to "remove some links" as per the complaints filed by Turkish citizens.

"[In Erdogan's speech] it is stated that as long as Twitter fails to change its attitude of ignoring court rulings and not doing what is necessary according to the law, technically, there might be no remedy but to block access in order to relieve our citizens," the statement said.

Reaction to the move — which came around midnight Friday local time — was swift. Major newspapers posted instructions offering simple technical workarounds to access the site.

“This is certainly a step backwards in terms of openness, transparency and the democratization process of Turkey,” said Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “Restrictions on political speech and discourse of this scale is unacceptable in any country including in Turkey.”

Twitter representatives confirmed reports that the site had been disrupted.

“We're looking into this now,” said Twitter spokesman Nu Wexler. The company’s official account offered Turkish cell phone subscribers ways to send tweets via text message.

The cause of the ban is most certainly political as Turkey prepares for March 30 local elections, seen as a key test of power for the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party, now in its 11th year of rule.

Anonymous users have been posting links to YouTube of audio recordings purporting to be wiretaps that expose rampant corruption within Erdogan's inner circle.

This follows a corruption scandal that erupted Dec. 17 that implicated three cabinet ministers as well as businessmen with close ties to the prime minister’s closest associates.

The government has responded to the accusations with mass purges of the police and judiciary as well as by ordering evidence destroyed. Erdogan has said the accusations are part of a plot hatched by a former ideological ally, Fethullah Gulen — a Pennsylvania-based Islamic cleric — whom he accuses of conspiring to bring down his government.

Twitter“It was just a matter of moment for Prime Minister Erdogan and his men to decide to ban Twitter,” said Erkan Saka, an outspoken blogger and communications lecturer at Bilgi University in Istanbul. “Twitter remains the main channel for freedom of expression and dissemination of corruption file leaks.” 

Cyber law experts say the ban on Twitter is reminiscent of the YouTube ban that lasted for 18 months from 2008-2010.

“Certainly this is politically motivated just prior to the local elections,” Akdeniz said. “I suspect the decisions were issued prior to the PM's speech but they were only executed subsequent to his speech.”

Some of the alleged leaked wiretaps appeared to record Erdogan himself instructing media companies to censor coverage of last spring’s Gezi Park protests. Such censorship — during the protests CNN Türk famously showed a documentary on penguins in Antarctica in place of the news — is another reason why Twitter has been an important tool for Turkish citizens to share information, unrestricted, in real time. Several media companies during Erdogan’s tenure as prime minister have been fined or taken over by companies close to the government.

The recently passed internet law was panned by press freedom groups, including the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, which warned it would have a chilling effect on free speech. The Turkish government claimed that the law was meant to protect children and the privacy of individuals.

Right now, the warnings from CPJ and other press freedom groups are looking prescient.

“CPJ urges the Turkish government to immediately unblock Twitter, and to respect the press freedom and free expression rights of its citizens,” said Geoffrey King, the group's internet advocacy coordinator, late Thursday.


'Firefly' Star Adam Baldwin Compares Gay Marriage To Incest

 

Adam_baldwin

It's a touch ironic to hear homophobia from someone who played a male character named "Jayne," but this past Thursday Firefly actor and Buffy the Vampire Slayer regular Adam Baldwin (no relation to the Baldwins) took to Twitter to vent about same-sex marriage and compared it to a father wanting to marry his son.

Adam Baldwin tweet

Of the several intelligent and insightful arguments he made for his position, he at least took the time to point out that he wasn't talking about sex: 

Then again, this is a right-wing conservative who's buddy-buddy with Ted Nugent, so his attitude is not terribly shocking in context.

Baldwin claimed that Huffington Post Gay Voices misquoted him and that he never made an incest comparision, that it was strictly addressing "tax avoidance marriage."

And thus the public interest in another Firefly movie waned a bit more.


Celebrites Read Mean Tweets About Themselves, Again: VIDEO

Silverman

Jimmy Kimmel proves once again that the best way to read trolling on Twitter is to have those targeted read the tweets themselves.

Featuring George Clooney, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Garner, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Sarah Silverman, Tom Hanks, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rob Lowe, Cate Blanchett, Tim Robbins, Bill Murray, and Matt Damon.

Enjoy, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Celebrites Read Mean Tweets About Themselves, Again: VIDEO" »


Fox News Contributor Todd Starnes Has Twitter Meltdown Over Grammy Weddings

Todd Starnes Twitter freakout

For those who were watching last night, the 34 gay weddings officiated by Queen Latifah at the Grammys was a groundbreaking event.

StarnesHaters will hate, as they often do, but Fox News religion "reporter" Todd Starns - who accused Duck Dynasty protesters of being "anti-straight" - just about blew a gasket and proceeded to have a very public freak-out on Twitter. In addition to sounding like grandpa on the porch complaining about this "rock and/or roll" noise and throwing a fair amount of slut-shaming:

He proceeded to completely lose it when the gay weddings came on: 

When a man whose views are so vile that even other Christian bloggers call him out for being a liar, one really can't help but indulge in some schadenfreude.


Gay Dads' Family Photo Causes Outrage on Twitter

Kordalenkaleb

This photo of gay fathers Kaleb and Kordale, posted to their Instagram account (along with lots of cute others) is making headlines after it reportedly stirred up a ridiculous heap of anti-gay outrage on Twitter from people offended by two black men taking care of their children.

Wrote the pair on Instagram:

Being fathers is getting our daughters up at 5:30 am making breakfast getting them dressed for school and putting them on the bus by 6:30 .This is a typical day in our household . It's not easy but we enjoy every moment and eveny minute of #fatherhood . #proudfathers #blackfathers #prouddads #gaydads

KordaleMusedMag first noted the uproar, as well as positive comments which mostly took the form of "Finally, a black gay couple"

Writes Beyond Steven:

Are we that sheltered from black gay couples that the general public doesn’t think they exist? But, can you blame them? There is hardly an image of “gay” love that features people of color. In the heat of  national marriage equality campaigns, if you google black gay couple you get bunch of Tumblr links. This is not like the in-depth articles when you google the opposite. It’s almost like black gay couples don’t exist – but we do.

The couple released a statement to the Huffington Post which reads, in part:

As far as the positive; yes we are two gay men with three kids who have no problem with preparing them for their education every morning; that comes with anything and everything they may need for school! Our kids are blessed to have three parents (Kordale, Kaleb and their Mother) who love, care and support them in every decision they have made and will continue to make as they get older. We are blessed to have the ability to provide for them in ways that a lot of people cannot for their family, which ultimately makes us happy knowing that they don't want for much! Our main objective as parents is to provide, love, educate, support, encourage, and love some more!

In regard to the negative, people fail to realize that we are people too with kids who love us. We do what is necessary for them to succeed in this ever-changing world but it's sad that we're discriminated against because of our sexuality and/or what we do behind closed doors -- which is no one's business. In the same breath, we take all of what's been said in stride. The picture was put out on social media for an opinion so we can't be mad when people give just that: an opinion. People tend to think that gay people cannot raise their children to be heterosexuals. Instead, they have derogatory thoughts of us "tainting" our children or "confusing them" with what society sees deems as wrong an unmanly because we're gay. But this is all comical because people forget where a lot of gays come from: a heterosexual household.


'Top Gear' Host Jeremy Clarkson Under Fire for 'Gay' Twitter Pic

Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson, the host of the UK's car show Top Gear, posted a photo on Twitter his friends had taken of him after he had fallen asleep on a plane.

A piece of paper with the words "gay c--t" scrawled on it was held near Clarkson's head.

The Independent reports:

The famously acerbic TV personality then shared the image on his Twitter account alongside the caption: "Sadly, I fell asleep on the plane."

After attracting a barrage of protesting tweets, the 53-year-old removed the message, posting instead: "I have deleted my last tweet and would like to apologise profusely to anyone who I upset while I was asleep."

However, it is unclear whether Clarkson posted the picture himself, or whether that too was a practical joke played by his ‘hilarious’ Top Gear co-stars.


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