Turkey Lifts Ban On Social Networking Sites

In a fresh development, Twitter has agreed to Turkey’s request to remove photographs of a prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants. This ended a ban on the social networking site.

YouTube, which authorities also banned after an Istanbul court ordered social media to remove any content showing the kidnapped prosecutor, remained blocked as the talks were still on till the last reports came in.

Why the ban?
Mehmet Selim Kiraz, the Istanbul prosecutor seen in the pictures, was later killed in a shoot-out between his hostage takers and police last week.

The ban ended after Twitter agreed to shut down accounts and remove images relating to last week’s hostage-taking. The website will reopen to access very shortly.
The micro-blogging site intends to appeal the Turkish court order.
Other social media sites were hit as well. Facebook said it had complied with a court order to restrict access to some content or face a block on its service.
An Istanbul court ordered Google to remove controversial content on the prosecutor killed in hostage-taking incident, otherwise access to it would be blocked also.

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for president Tayyip Erdogan, said a prosecutor had demanded the bans because some media organisations had acted as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda” in sharing the images of the hostage-taking.

Prosecutor Kiraz had succumbed to his wounds after security forces stormed the office where members of the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) had taken him hostage. His two captors were also killed.

The DHKP-C had published a picture of Kiraz with a gun to his head and said it would kill him unless its demands were met.
Google said it was working to restore service to the YouTube video-sharing site, which it owns. Turkey’s telecoms regulator could not immediately be reached and there was no statement on its website.

It may be noted, that Turkey temporarily blocked Twitter and YouTube before local elections in March 2014, after audio recordings purportedly showing corruption in then-prime minister Erdogan’s inner circle were leaked on their sites. That decision caused a public uproar and drew heavy international criticism.

Turkey filed over five times more content-removal requests to Twitter than any other country in the second half of 2014, data published in February by the micro-blogging site showed. Turkey tightened laws allowing sites to be blocked by the authorities more easily, last year.

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