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Turkey Bans Twitter! How To Access The Social Network From Turkey

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Twitter went dark in Turkey only hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “wipe it out” from the country. The government of Turkey accuses the San Francisco based company of ignoring Turkish court ruling that ordered Twitter to remove certain links from its website. Opposition parties, on the other hand, consider the move as a political conspiracy and are labeling it as a digital coup ahead of the general elections.

Prime Minister Erdogan vowed to ban Facebook, YouTube and Twitter after certain audio recordings revealing the extent of corruption among the Prime Minister’s inner political circle were posted on these websites. The speed at which the government was able get a restraining order from the court and move ahead with the ban shows how far the Turkish politicians are ready to go to protect their reputation and to suppress the flow of information on the web. Turkey now joins China as the only other major country where Twitter is unavailable.

History of Internet Censorship in Turkey

While the Twitter ban caught the majority of 10 million Turkish Twitter users unawares, it is not the first website to be blocked by the Turkish government or courts. The Turkish authorities have a strict policy of screening content on the web and they are quick to ban sites for ideological, political and security reasons. Some of the major sites that have faced a ban in the country at one point or the other include YouTube, Blogger, Deezer, Tagged, Slide, ShoutCast, Metacafe, Google Docs, Google Translate, Google Books, Pastebin, Wikileaks and SoundCloud. However, the current Twitter ban is definitely the biggest censorship strike in the country since YouTube was blocked in 2007.

How The Turkish Government Is Preventing People From Accessing Twitter?

Since 20th March when Twitter was blocked in the country, the Turkish authorities have been plugging the loopholes that are available to bypass the ban. For instance, during the initial hours of the ban, the users trying to access Twitter were simply redirected to a webpage which informed them that the site was not available but now the ISPs have banned the actual IP addresses of Twitter making it much more difficult to access the website. Likewise when the authorities discovered that a lot of people were using Google’s public DNS service to bypass the ban, they were quick to block access to the service.

So How To Access Twitter From Turkey?

Hours after the site was banned in Turkey, Twitter posted a workaround that allowed people to post tweets just by sending a SMS. However, it is much more difficult to receive tweets by this method since users would need to subscribe to individual accounts through SMS and get updates. Moreover, since only Turkcell allows MMS in the country, only users of this carrier would be able to post pictures with their messages while users of other networks (Avea and Vodafone) will have to be content by just posting text messages.

One of the best ways to bypass the Twitter ban in Turkey is to access the social network through anonymity services like Tor, proxies or Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Tor and proxies, especially public and shared proxies, are not really suitable for the purpose since they are riddled with speed and security problems plus they may even leak your real IP address.

On the other hand, VPNs provide you with a bulletproof level of security allowing you to change your IP address and bypass the bans imposed by Turkish authorities with the click of a button. The only downside of using a VPN is that you need to spend some money to subscribe to a good VPN service but considering the speed, privacy and security benefits available through the service; the investment is definitely worth it.

While trying to access Twitter through a VPN service, just make NOT TO use a Turkish VPN server as your VPN server (if your provider offers it) since such a move would assign you a Turkish IP address and again block websites that are not available in the country.

Here are some of the VPN Services that we recommend:

March 25, 2014

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