Twitter limits access to some tweets in Turkey ahead of tightly contested election

The contest could see President Erdogan unseated after two decades in power.

Dilara Senkaya / reuters

On the eve of potentially one of the most consequential elections in the country’s history, Twitter began blocking posts in Turkey. “In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today,” the company tweeted on Friday, in English and Turkish. “We have informed the account holders of this action in line with our policy. This content will remain available in the rest of the world.”

Twitter didn’t say which tweets it was blocking, and the company no longer operates a communications department Engadget could contact for more information. Predictably, the decision to comply with a censorship request from the Turkish government has put a spotlight on Elon Musk’s free speech beliefs. On Friday, Musk, who named Linda Yaccarino as the next CEO of Twitter that same day, lashed out at Bloomberg columnist Matthew Yglesias when he suggested the decision “should generate some interesting Twitter Files reporting.”

“Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?” Musk tweeted at Yglesias.

As The Washington Post notes, Sunday’s election could have significant ramifications for Turkey. After two decades in power, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces the most credible threat to his presidency in recent memory. Ahead of Sunday’s contest, most polls showed opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu had a slight lead on his opponent. If elected, Kilicdaroglu has promised to reshape the country’s domestic policy. Erdogan’s defeat could also have a profound impact on Turkey’s relationship with other powers in the region, including Russia and NATO. Per CNN, If one candidate can’t win more than 50 percent of the vote, the country will hold a run-off election on May 28th. As of the writing of this article, Erdogan holds an 11 percentage point lead on Kilicdaroglu, though that could change as more ballots are counted.