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In an interesting revelation, Turkey has filed over five times more content removal requests to Twitter than any other country in the second half of 2014, according to data published by the micro-blogging site has shown.
The transparency rate of Twitter showed Turkey filed 477 content removal requests between July and December indicating an increase of more than 150% compared to the first six months of 2014.
The figures are likely to reinforce fears of a crackdown on internet freedom in the predominantly Muslim NATO state where president Tayyip Erdogan has said he is determined to stamp out what he sees as illegal online activities.
The countries to follow are Russia and Germany followed with 91 and 43 removal requests respectively. Overall, government requests for removal of material were up by 40%.
Turkish requests generally focused around accusations of violation of personal rights and defamation of private citizens and government officials.
Turkey temporarily blocked Twitter and Youtube in the run-up to local elections last March, after audio recordings purportedly showing corruption in Erdogan’s inner circle were leaked on their sites. The decision caused a public uproar and drew heavy international criticism.
Erdogan alleged the corruption scandal was engineered by political opponents to topple him and vowed to eradicate Twitter which he accused of threatening national security.
The ruling AK Party had proposed last January a new law which would allow ministers to temporarily ban websites deemed to threaten lives, public order or people’s rights and freedoms by committing a crime.
Germany’s requests, mainly dealing with alleged hate-crimes, were complied with in about a third of the cases.