The Turkish prime minister, furious that an audio implicating him in a corruption scandal was posted on Twitter, has vowed to eradicate the social media service, and has blocked it nationwide.
“We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a campaign rally.
Twitter struck back, by tweet of course, letting Turkish users know that they could still send tweets using their cell phones:
The prime minister’s office claims that Twitter has not responded to court ruling telling it to remove certain links.
The BBC reminds us that Turkey also famously blocked YouTube for two years, only to release its block in 2010.
It’s difficult to listen to the Turkish prime minister’s warning that “everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic,” and not hear Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias,” always one of my favorites:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away
It also sounds a lot like Khrushchev’s “we will bury you.”
Speaking of Turkey’s former, and perhaps soon-to-be-again, neighbor, Russia is also censoring the Internet in an unrelated attempt to clamp down on dissent, particularly surrounding its invasion and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.
The Kremlin does not censor, however, the Russian-based Web pages that local neo-Nazis use to organize the serial kidnappings of gay people in that country, some as young as 13 years of age.