Cyberspace is becoming a key battleground in a political struggle in Turkey connected to allegations of high-level government corruption. The latest casualty is the popular US-based audio-sharing website SoundCloud.
Music lovers in Turkey recently trying to access the site found it blocked under a January 16 court order. A shroud of secrecy surrounds the reason for the ban. But the ruling follows numerous tweets by an unknown tweeter, Haramzadeler (sons of thieves), with links to recordings on SoundCloud of allegedly incriminating telephone conversations involving Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In response to a EurasiaNet.org query, SoundCloud spokesperson Emma Young emailed that the company is “looking into why this happened and what can be done to resolve the situation. “
The SoundCloud ban is not a one-off development. Although official figures do not exist, multiple sites have been blocked since corruption allegations implicating some members of the prime minister’s inner circle first surfaced in December 2013.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.