Turkey has reportedly restricted access to Twitter hours after Prime Minister Erdogan threatened to "wipe out" the social network. Links to leaked government recordings and documents had been posted to the site.
Many users trying to access the popular micro-blogging site early Friday were reportedly confronted with a notice from Turkey's telecommunications authority (TIB) citing court orders justifying the closure.
The restrictions were reported just hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told supporters at an election rally, "We will wipe out Twitter. I don't care what the international community says."
The state-run Anatolia news agency said authorities "technically blocked access to Twitter" because the site had ignored several Turkish court orders to remove some links.
Turkish authorities have been angered by the recent leak of recordings and documents to the Internet which claim to show evidence of corruption among the premier's inner circle. Links to the recordings were posted on Twitter.
Erdogan, who denies corruption, says the documents are fake and designed to discredit the government ahead of local elections on March 30.
In a first reaction, the EU commissioner for digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, criticized the ban on her Twitter account as "groundless, pointless, cowardly."
"Turkish people and the (international) community will see this as censorship. It is," she added.
hc/ccp (AFP, AP)