Turkish president publicly criticizes ban on Twitter
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has set himself publicly at odds with the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by defying a government ban on Twitter.
Just hours after the ban came into effect on Friday, Gul swiftly took to the site himself and said a complete ban on social media platforms was unacceptable and hoped it would be short-lived.
“A complete ban on social media platforms cannot be approved," he said, adding that it is not "technically possible to totally block access to platforms used all over the world."
The move came after Erdogan vowed to clamp down on social media networks when allegations of corruption in his inner circle went viral.
The ban has also drawn criticism from Turkish lawyers' association and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).
CHP lawmaker Aykan Erdemir said the party will file a lawsuit against Erdogan over the new restriction, which he described as “an unbelievable violation of fundamental rights and freedoms."
The European Union, which Ankara has been vying to join over the past years, voiced concern over the move that threatens the country's attempts to join the bloc.
"The ban on the social platform Twitter.com in Turkey raises grave concerns and casts doubt on Turkey's stated commitment to European values and standards," EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said in a statement.
Erdogan is openly suspicious of the Internet, and last year denounced Twitter for helping protesters organize mass anti-government rallies.