Twitter account of government whistleblower blocked

A Twitter account which has posted allegations about abuse of power in the Turkish government was not accessible on Wednesday in the country.

The move against the account, which is claimed to be run by a high ranking official in the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came following a court order issued in Ankara the previous day, according to local media.

The most recent leaks by the Fuat Avni account took place in December, when the whistleblower predicted there would be a wave of arrests targeting publishing houses.

Within days, 28 people were arrested, including the editor-in-chief of the Zaman newspaper, which has ties to the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish-born Islamic cleric who lives in the United States. Most have been released, but some remain in custody.

Gulen was once an Erdogan ally but the two have turned into bitter enemies. The government accuses the cleric of running a “parallel state” and seeking to stage a coup.

Not all of Fuat Avni’s predictions have come true and there is speculation the account is run by a group rather than one person.

The account has more than 700,000 followers. It was established after a court order in August had blocked the original account.

In the past few days, Fuat Avni has set up several concurrent accounts, in an apparent bid to circumvent the block. One of the duplicate handles already has about 180,000 followers, highlighting the game of cat and mouse taking place.

The account came to prominence in early 2014, when it leaked information about Erdogan’s campaign ahead of local elections.

At the time, other similar Twitter accounts also posted damaging information, including audio recording purporting to shine a light on corruption at the top echelons of government.

Turkish authorities banned access to YouTube and Twitter last year for months, until the country’s top court overturned the decision, angering Erdogan.

The government this week said it was seeking ways to block websites and work around the judicial orders.

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Twitter account of government whistleblower blocked