anger about Turkey’s brief Twitter suspension during the earthquake rescue

By Daren Butler; Edited by News Gate Team

[1/3] People carry the body of a victim removed from under the rubble in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey February 9, 2023.
REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov/File Photo
[2/3] People work to rescue a dog from under rubble, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, in Iskenderun, Turkey February 8, 2023, in this screengrab obtained from a social media video.
Gurcan Ozturk/via REUTERS
[3/3] Rescuers rescue a child from under rubble, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Turkey ,February 9, 2023 in this screengrab obtained from social media video.
Istanbul Municipality via REUTERS

Turkey, February 9 (Reuters) – The public’s frustration with the pace of rescue operations has increased as a result of Turkey’s decision to limit access to Twitter for around 12 hours from Wednesday afternoon to early Thursday.

After the initial tremor on Monday, information about arriving aid and the whereabouts of those still trapped in rubble was shared on the platform, which has since been throttled, drawing criticism from opposition leaders and social media users.

The administration of President Tayyip Erdogan has previously censored social media and has been concentrating in recent months on battling what it refers to as “disinformation,” which it claimed was the cause of the block on Wednesday.

Early on Thursday, when the dead toll from the earthquake in neighboring Syria and Turkey surpassed 17,000, it restored full access to Twitter.

Government of President Tayyip Erdogan “Cries for help are not being heard as a result of the world having lost its mind. Everything you’re trying to conceal is known to us “Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the major opposition CHP, stated after the block was put in place on Wednesday afternoon.

An anonymous government official claimed that although the change temporarily cut off legitimate calls for assistance, it was immediately remedied and the service resumed as usual.

The official told Reuters that it was necessary to take action since certain accounts contained inaccurate claims, slander, insults, and remarks with fraudulent intentions, noting attempts to steal money while seeming to be in need of assistance.

According to the deputy transport minister Omer Fatih Sayan, Turkish officials spoke with Twitter on Wednesday and expressed their expectation of collaboration in the battle against misinformation while providing aid.

Twitter cooperated in the discussion and promised to support Turkey’s efforts, according to Fahrettin Altun, the director of Erdogan’s communications, who added that officials look forward to working with Twitter “over the next few days and weeks.”

He said on Twitter on Thursday that “disinformation is the common enemy of humanity and a significant threat to democracy, social peace, and national security.”

The adoption of a measure by Turkey’s parliament last October, which allows for the potential three-year imprisonment of journalists and social media users for disseminating “disinformation,” alarmed human rights organizations and nations in Europe.

Erdogan’s ruling party has stated that it would not stifle dissent and that legislation was required to address false charges on social media. Elections are expected to take place by the middle of this year, which increases the significance of the issue.

The mainstream media has developed a strict chain of command for government-approved headlines, according to a Reuters study from last summer, while the smaller independent and opposition media bear the brunt of regulatory sanctions.

The leader of the opposition DEVA party, Ali Babacan, a former minister of the economy and Erdogan ally, responded angrily to the Twitter ban.

“In a time when communication is saving lives, how is Twitter still accessible? What a level of ignorance, “Babacan stated Wednesday night.

The pro-Kurdish HDP party claimed that censoring social media would only result in more deaths and that Twitter had been essential in coordinating relief for those impacted by the earthquakes.

By Daren Butler; Edited by News Gate Team

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