Two days after two catastrophic earthquakes hit the region, Turkey may be restricting access to Twitter. In Turkey and Syria, where the death toll is getting close to 12,000, thousands of people are still trapped in buildings.
According to Bloomberg, Turkish users began experiencing access issues with Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. To use the service, some people have turned to VPNs. The major opposition party in Turkey’s Kemal Kilicdaroglu has stated that Twitter has been blocked by the authorities.
It’s unclear why, in the midst of such destruction, the Turkish government would seek to block access to Twitter. Users have been sharing pictures of the damage caused by the earthquakes, and social media is still a useful tool for disaster response. There isn’t a communications team at Twitter that can be contacted for comment.
It wouldn’t be the first time Turkey had restricted access to social networking sites for its citizens. Additionally, it has done so during terrorist attacks and cross-border military operations. Turkey temporarily restricted Twitter in 2014.
Users were disseminating voice recordings and papers that allegedly exposed corruption in Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle. Later that year, Erdogan was elected president of Turkey; he is still in that position today. His administration has come under fire for handling this week’s crisis.