Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's reported attempts to ban access to the website Twitter in the country Thursday backfired when social media users found ways around the ban and used the site to criticize the move on a mass scale.
Erdogan, who is currently on the campaign trail ahead of March 30th local elections and a presidential race in August, has throughout the year faced ongoing allegations of political corruption and a brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters.
Twitter users have not been kind to Erdogan.
"Twitter, mwitter!" he said at a rally Thursday, before the site was blocked—what many are calling a "digital coup." The phrase roughly translates as "Twitter, schmitter!"
"We will wipe out all of these," Erdogan said. "The international community can say this, can say that. I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is."
Government officials, however, claim the ban is not politically motivated, and merely the result of a Turkish court order "that demanded the online service take down links that had allegedly insulted Turkish citizens," the Washington Post reports.
However, as it turns out, it is increasingly hard to keep citizens from their social media tools. Using an alternate DNS service, "the number of which is being posted everywhere," reports Business Insider, users found a way to keep tweeting, using the hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #TurkeyBlockedTwitter, which quickly grew into trending Twitter topics worldwide as international critisicm of Erdogan picked up pace and breadth.
And according to Hurriyet Daily News, the number of messages tweeted by users in Turkey has not dropped since access to Twitter was banned, with over half a million tweets posted in 10 hours.