Turkey: Twitter allows 'character assassinations'

Under fire for its crackdown on Twitter, the Turkish government pushed back hard on Saturday, saying the popular social media site enables "systematic character assassinations," the Associated Press reported. 

In a statement from its Public Diplomacy office, Turkish officials said wiretapped audio recordings which hint at government corruption and took off on Twitter this week, were either "illegally acquired" or "fake and fabricated," according to the AP.

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"Whether it's Twitter, Yahoo or Google, all social media companies have to obey the laws of the Turkish Republic and they will," Lutfi Elvan, Turkey's communications minister said, according to the AP.

The government, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, tried to suppress the dissemination of those recordings on Thursday by blocking the use of Twitter nationwide.

The effort has largely backfired, however, as Twitter users have found technical ways around the ban and international figures have condemned the move as Big Brother-style censorship.

"The freedom to speak out & to connect is a fundamental right," Hillary Clinton tweeted Saturday. "The people of Turkey deserve that right restored."

The White House has also entered the debate, with spokesman Jay Carney revealing Friday that the administration has voiced its concerns with the crackdown directly with Turkish leaders.

“We have conveyed our serious concern to the Turkish government, urge Turkish authorities to respect the freedom of the press by permitting the independent and unfettered operation of media of all kinds, and support the people of Turkey in their calls to restore full access to the blocked technologies,” Carney said in a statement.