Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul has challenged PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ban on Twitter.
Twitter users across the country reported that the site had been blocked on Thursday.
Like many others, President Abdullah Gul evaded the ban to tweet that the “shutdown was unacceptable.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is angry that people used Twitter to spread allegations of corruption in his inner circle.
“I don’t care what the international community says at all. Everyone will see the power of the Turkish Republic,” the prime minister said in a speech on Thursday.
President Abdullah Gul took to the site on Friday to say that websites should only be blocked if courts found they had violated personal privacy.
He said it was not “technically possible to totally block access to platforms used all over the world” and added that he hoped the decision would “not last long”.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is angry that people used Twitter to spread allegations of corruption in his inner circle
The EU said it was worried about the move, with Stefan Fuele, the EU commissioner for enlargement, saying he was “gravely concerned” by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policy on free speech.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes described the blocking of the site as “groundless, pointless, cowardly”.
Turkey’s lawyers’ association asked a court to overturn the ban, arguing it was unconstitutional and violated Turkish and European human rights laws. Turkey’s main opposition party also said it would try to have the decision reversed.
Those Twitter users who managed to circumvent the ban took to the service to voice anger at the move.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan took action against Twitter after some users had posted documents reportedly showing evidence of corruption relating to his office – a claim he denies.
His spokesman said the prime minister had been forced to act after the social media company had failed to respond to a court ruling in Turkey to remove some links.
Some users trying to open twitter.com were redirected to a statement by Turkey’s telecommunications regulator citing a court order to apply “protection measures” on the website.
Twitter has so far made no public comment on the court order but a spokesman said it was looking into the outage. Twitter also posted a message in both English and Turkish telling users how to send tweets via text messages.
There are about 10 million Twitter users across Turkey.
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Hundreds of Turkish demonstrators marching in Istanbul in protest at new laws tightening government control of the internet clashed with riot police.
Demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police cordoning off Taksim Square, the city’s main square.
President Abdullah Gul is under pressure not to ratify the legislation.
The new legislation includes powers allowing authorities to block websites for privacy violations without a court decision.
The opposition says it is part of a government attempt to stifle a corruption scandal.
Demonstrators threw fireworks and stones at police cordoning off Taksim Square
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denied accusations of censorship, saying the legislation would make the internet “more safe and free”.
The Turkish parliament approved the bill last week.
As well as allowing Turkey’s telecommunications authority to block websites without first seeking a court ruling, it will also force internet providers to store data on web users’ activities for two years and make it available to the authorities.
Internet access in Turkey is already restricted and thousands of websites blocked.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been openly critical of the internet, describing Twitter as a “scourge” and condemning social media as “the worst menace to society”.
Both Twitter and Facebook were widely used by anti-government protesters to spread information during demonstrations last year.
The corruption scandal broke in December with the arrest of businessmen close to the prime minister and three ministers’ sons.
Since then, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has sacked hundreds of police officers and executives from banking and telecoms regulators and state television.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the scandal is an attempt by a US-based cleric with influence in the police and judiciary to unseat him. The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, denies this.
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Turkey begins rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns deployment along its border with Syria after last week’s downing of a fighter jet.
Columns of military vehicles have been seen moving from military bases to the border, close to where the jet crashed.
The F-4 Phantom went down in the sea after entering Syrian airspace and being hit by a missile. The pilots are missing.
Meanwhile, explosions have been reported outside a court complex in central Damascus.
Syrian state TV said there had been a “terrorist explosion” in the car park of the palace of justice and witnesses spoke of a thick plume of smoke in the area.
There was no word of casualties but opposition activists said ambulances were heard heading to the scene.
There are also reports of clashes in the Damascus suburb of Douma, where activists say four people have been killed.
Turkey begins rocket launchers and anti-aircraft guns deployment along its border with Syria after last week’s downing of a fighter jet
Turkey’s decision to reinforce its border with Syria comes two days after PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a change in terms of its military engagement.
He told parliament that Syria was a “clear and present threat” and any game that is dangerous and “military element” that approached the Turkish border from Syria would be treated as a threat and a military target.
Extra troops have been sent to the area and Turkish TV has shown pictures of a small convoy of trucks carrying anti-aircraft guns into a military base near the border town of Yayladagi.
According to local reports, other military vehicles have travelled to the border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province.
More than 33,000 refugees have fled Syria and have crossed the border into the province.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul is due to discuss the heightened tensions with Syria at a National Security Council meeting on Thursday.
Russia and other major powers are considering a proposal from UN envoy Kofi Annan for a national unity government to lead political change in Syria.
Moscow has agreed to back the plan which, according to Western diplomats, proposes a cabinet including members of the opposition and government, but no-one who would undermine its credibility.
The idea will be discussed on Saturday by the UN Action Group on Syria.
Although Western diplomats say President Bashar al-Assad would not be part of any unity government, his future role in Syria is not spelled out in Kofi Annan’s proposal.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad’s future had to be decided through a “Syrian dialogue by the Syrian people themselves”, adding that Saturday’s Geneva conference could not dictate the terms of a unity government.
President Bashar al-Assad has described Syria as being in a “real state of war” and the UN’s deputy envoy to Syria said on Wednesday that the violence “had reached or even surpassed” the levels seen in April when Kofi Annan’s ceasefire plan was agreed.
The UN says at least 10,000 people have been killed since pro-democracy protests began in March 2011. In June, the Syrian government reported that 6,947 Syrians had died, including at least 3,211 civilians and 2,566 security forces personnel.