#BBCtrending: Turkish PM lampooned for 'helium' voice
- 27 March 2014
Turks on Twitter are making jokes about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a campaign speech he gave in which his voice was very high-pitched - with many on Twitter saying it was if he had sucked in helium.
Ever since the Turkish Prime Minister vowed to "wipe out Twitter" last week and promptly shut down the service, he has faced the wrath of defiant Turks who have found ways around the block.
Earlier on Thursday, Erdogan gave a campaign speech in Van in the east of Turkey, for this weekend's local elections. His voice was unusually - and distinctly - high-pitched and squeaky. Almost instantly, the jokes began on Twitter. "I think the Twitter bird is trapped inside him," was one of the tweets. "We have asked you to be a world leader, and all you have become is a Teletubby," was another.
Others praised the assembled crowd for their restraint. "People of Van deserve the greatest praise for holding themselves together and not bursting into laughter," wrote one. "He couldn't intimidate us by making us cry - he is now trying to eradicate us by making us laugh. Hold on to each other comrades," was another... And so it went on.
Soon the hashtag #helyumlobisi - which translates as "helium lobby" - began to trend. Critics say the prime minister tends to blame lobby groups for his woes. At the time of writing, there have been more than 21,000 tweets using that hashtag, and it's even prompted its own - albeit very small - Twitter handle.
This has trended on Twitter in Turkey, despite the service being blocked by authorities. People - including politicians - are widely getting around the ban by using proxy servers. On Wednesday, a court in Turkey ordered the suspension of the ban on Twitter but it hasn't been put into effect.
Reports are coming in from Turkey that YouTube has now been blocked too. The hashtag #YouTubeisBlockedinTurkey is just starting to trend - mirroring the hashtag widely used when the Twitter block came in place, #TwitterisblockedinTurkey.
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