Target: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Goal: Lift the government-imposed ban on Twitter
Eight years ago the first Tweet was sent out, but citizens in Turkey won’t be able to celebrate event since the government has banned access to the site. Concerned that citizens will spread anti-government propaganda, the country shut down the social media site when the recent Prime Minister attended an election rally. Human rights groups are demanding that the government lift the ban because it violates freedom of speech and expression.
Turkey already has restrictive laws on the internet, and the ban on Twitter merely adds to their violations. The ban took effect following the pledge of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “wipe out” Twitter. The move was definitely political, as several elections were taking place a week after the ban was implemented. However, in the several hours following the event, Twitter users were able to circumvent the ban, condemning the government and voicing their opinions on the election.
Government officials in Turkey have come to despise the use of Twitter and other social media platforms because of how well they expose crimes. Twitter users were known to share tapped phone calls, exposing government corruption within businesses and the media. Many users and journalists use social media as a way to organize protests or expose corruption. The citizens of Turkey recently used Twitter during the Gezi Protest, when people shared views and information that the mainstream media was not forthcoming about.
Turkey has laws that target pro-Kurdish news and gay chat rooms. The country also banned YouTube from 2007 to 2010, because videos were found that insulted the founder of the Turkish Republic. Some Google sites remain blocked despite the European Court of Rights stating that this was a violation of human rights. You can aid Turkish citizens by signing this petition to demand the immediate removal of this ban.
Dear Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
It has come to my attention that you were responsible for a ban on Twitter in your country, calling the social media platform “a scourge.” I would like to remind you of the rights that every human is inherently born with, including the right to freedom of speech and expression. Your government is directly violating these rights with this ban and I demand its immediate removal.
Your country is known for its restrictive internet laws, which your citizens do not approve of. Despite the ban on Twitter, citizens are still able to circumvent the ban and express their views. Your government’s reputation is only deteriorating by silencing your people, sowing distrust and resentment. If you wish for your country to improve, these laws that violate your citizens’ freedom of speech should be abolished.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Shawn Campbell via flickr