Turkey may be blocking access to Twitter, two days after a pair of catastrophic earthquakes struck the area. Thousands of people are still trapped in buildings in Turkey and Syria, where the death toll is approaching 12,000.
According to Bloomberg, people in Turkey started having trouble accessing Twitter on Wednesday afternoon. Some have resorted to VPNs to use the service. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, has accused the government of blocking Twitter.
It's not clear why the Turkish government might want to prevent access to Twitter amid such devastation. The social media service is still a valuable disaster response tool and users have also been sharing images of the destruction caused by the earthquakes.
Twitter does not have a communications team that can be reached for comment, but on Wenesday afternoon Elon Musk did note through a tweet that Twitter access in Turkey should be "reenabled shortly."
Twitter has been informed by the Turkish government that access will be reenabled shortly
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 8, 2023
This would not be the first time that Turkey has stopped residents from accessing social media services. It has also done so during cross-border military operations and terror attacks. In 2014, Turkey temporarily banned Twitter. Users were sharing voice recordings and documents that purportedly showed corruption within then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's sphere of influence. Erdoğan became Turkey's president later that year and he remains in power. His government has faced criticism for its response to this week's disaster.