Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is not backing down in its ongoing battle with Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan and his government. The social media company announced today that it would not be opening offices in Turkey, as demanded by Erdogan. According to tax experts, establishing a physical presence in Turkey would likely lead to Twitter paying taxes in Turkey.
Today’s news is just the latest in the battle between Turkish government and social media companies. The situation developed almost four weeks ago on March 20th, when Erdogan blocked Twitter and promised to “eradicate” the scourge on his country, following several leaks and documents that exposed corruption within Erdogan’s government via Twitter.
Ongoing meetings in Turkey
Colin Crowell, Twitter’s vice president and head of global public policy, and his team are in Turkey this week to meet with Turkish authorities regarding the current situation. Crowell told the Wall Street Journal in an interview yesterday that the meetings were to explain how Twitter typically responds to content removal requests and judicial orders and to re-establish “ties and open relations” with the Turkish government.
“We didn’t agree to open an office; our decisions to open offices around the world are based upon whether the underlying economic climate justify it,” Crowell stated in the Wall Street Journal interview. The tax issue didn’t even come up in the meetings,” Crowell said.
Implement local content bans
Turkish media sources reported earlier today that Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) had agreed to act “more quickly and in a more sensitive manner” to Turkish court decrees. It was also reported that the company had complied with five earlier court decisions just before the meetings as a sign of good will.
Furthermore, in his WSJ interview, Crowell said Twitter is ready to implement local content bans. A Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) spokesman also confirmed to Mashable that the company has blocked a few accounts within Turkey. Information regarding the removed content can be found on Chilling Effects, a website focused on global transparency.