Turkey doubles down on Twitter block

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Protesters hold placards reading 'do not touch my twitter ', 'communication right is a basic human right' and'cencorship to internet! A dream comes true' during a demonstration against the ban on Twitter during a demonstration against Turkish government in Ankara on March 22, 2014.

Turkey doubled down on its decision to block Twitter at the weekend, amid near-unanimous international criticism of the ban, which the US has compared to book burning.

Many users in the country reported that work-arounds that had previously given them access to the site, such as changing the domain name information on computers, could no longer overcome the ban.

However, other methods, such as using virtual private networks, a technology whose use has soared since Turkey introduced the block late on Thursday night, still proved effective. So far the ban has been the target of a storm of criticism internationally while failing to restrain Twitter use in Turkey itself, which jumped in the wake of the government's move.

Turkey's Telecommunication Authority imposed the ban in the midst of a corruption scandal in which Twitter has been used extensively to distribute seemingly incriminating voice recordings of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister, and many of his associates. Mr Erdogan has described some of the recordings as fabricated - such as one in which he appears to tell his son to hide large amounts of money from a corruption probe - while acknowledging others as authentic but illegally recorded.

(Read more: Turkey Twitter ban slammed by politicians, public)

In a note, Mr Erodgan's office said that Twitter had not complied with Turkish court rulings holding that certain Twitter accounts had violated people's privacy. "In order to prevent irremediable future grievances, access to Twitter has been blocked," it added. "The main ground for this measure is the continuous disregard of the court rulings...Twitter has been used as a means to carry out systematic character assassinations by illegally acquired recordings, fake and fabricated records of wiretapping [and] continuing violation of personal rights."

However many lawyers say it is illegal and disproportionate under Turkish law to block the entire Twitter site, even though Mr Erdogan's government recently passed legislation in response to the leaks that increases its control over internet access.

Internationally, Turkey appeared increasingly isolated because of its stance, with many of its traditional allies rounding on the ban.

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In an official blog, the US State Department described internet censorship as "21st century book burning" and "a threat to freedom of speech everywhere". It added: "A friend like Turkey has nothing to fear in the free-flow of ideas and even criticism represented by Twitter. Its attempt to block its citizens' access to social media tools should be reversed."

Hillary Clinton, the former US Secretary of State, tweeted: "The freedom to speak out and to connect is a fundamental right. The people of Turkey deserve that right restored," while Britain, Germany, Canada and other nations all made clear their objections.

Turkey doubled down on its decision to block Twitter at the weekend, which the US has compared to book burning. The FT reports.