Twitter, YouTube Blocked in Turkey

Turkish authorities have blocked access to Twitter and YouTube after photos were published showing a prosecutor who was taken hostage by militants in Istanbul last week.

The court order took effect April 6 and several internet providers implemented the ban.

Facebook was initially banned as part of the order, though the head of the Information and Communications Technologies Authority (BTK), told daily Turkish daily Hurriyet that the ban was lifted after it complied with the court ruling.

It was reported that Twitter later complied with the court order and was expected to be unblocked later on Monday.

Hurriyet reported that authorities were ordered to block 166 websites that published the photos.

The prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, was taken hostage by two gunmen of the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) group on March 31.

Turkish authorities stormed the courthouse and killed the two gunmen during a shootout.  Kiraz later died of the injuries that he sustained during the hostage ordeal.

Kiraz had been investigating the case of a 15-year old teenager, Berkin Elvan, who died nine months after being hit on the head by a police tear gas canister during the Gezi Park anti-government protests two years ago.

DHKP-C stated the hostage-taking was an act of revenge for Elvan’s death.

A Turkish official told Reuters that the family of the slain-prosecutor was “deeply upset” after photos of a gunman holding a gun to Kiraz’s head appeared on social media during the hostage ordeal.

“A request has been made to both Twitter and YouTube for the removal of the images and posts but they have not accepted it and no response has been given. That’s why this decision has been taken through a court in Istanbul,” the official said.

This is the not first case of the social media platforms being blocked in Turkey.  Twitter and YouTube were blocked for a short time before local elections in March 2014.


Garret Pustay
World News-Politics Contributor
World News-Politics Contributor at The Atlas Times.

Avid follower of international news, with a particular interest on the Middle East. A frequent commuter between New York and the Middle East.

Twitter: @garretpustay

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