Twitter Inc Blocked In Turkey Over Hostage Photos

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Turkey recently blocked Twitter to prevent the country’s users from accessing the popular micro-blogging website. This move was made after the latter refused to take down photos of a prosecutor taken hostage by militant in Istanbul. YouTube is also on the ban list. Facebook is no longer on the ban list as the website complied with the Turkish government’s court ruling.

Turkey bans Twitter

A sizable number of internet service providers in Turkey implemented the ban on April 6. An official statement on the matter confirmed the report right after widespread complaints from users who could not access the social media website.

Bulent Kent (Internet Service Providers Union secretary) told Hurriyet the procedure continues even after the country’s service providers are expected to ban the website immediately. A recent court ruling orders authorities to block a total of 166 websites that published the controversial image. The list of websites includes links from stories published in newspapers and other media outlets.

Tayfun Acarer of the Information and Communications Technologies Authority confirmed that the Facebook ban was lifted as of today.

Prosecutor taken hostage by militants

Two militants (with purported links to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front) took prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage on March 31. They took him hostage inside Instanbul’s Caglayan Courthouse. Kiraz was the prosecutor involved in the murder case of Berkin Elvan. Kiraz passed away in the hospital after the eight-hour hostage situation. Authorities killed the two captors.

One senior Turkish official told Reuters that Kiraz’s family was upset about the images on the internet.  YouTube and Twitter received removal requests, but neither website complied with those requests, resulting in the court-mandated blocking. Last week, 13 media organizations were banned from a press conference and Kiraz’s funeral ceremony. Ahmet Davutoglu admitted that he gave instructions to withhold accreditation.

On April 2, a criminal investigation of seven Turkish newspapers over publishing the hostage photo was launched.

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