Twitter complies with Turkey’s request, ban lifted

Twitter removes picture of slain prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz as hostage, sees Turkey’s temporary ban lifted.

ANKARA, TURKEY (APRIL 6, 2015) (REUTERS) – Turkey temporarily blocked access to Twitter and YouTube on Monday (April 6) after they initially refused a request to remove photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants, taken hours before the prosecutor was killed in a shootout last week, officials said.

Facebook said it had complied with a Turkish court order requiring it to restrict access to some content or face a block on its service. A company spokesman said it would appeal the order.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said a prosecutor had demanded the block on access to the social media sites because some media organisations had acted “as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda” in sharing the images of the hostage-taking.

“Media groups that published these photos are almost doing propaganda of a terrorist organization and it is unacceptable and continuing to do so despite all warnings is unacceptable. There is no such freedom in any country in the world. Many international media outlets have not published those photos. Because this is a criminal case and there is a human side to it. As we have said many times before, put yourself in the shoes of family and children of our martyred prosecutor. What would you gain by sharing that photo?” Kalin told a news conference in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz died from his wounds last Tuesday (April 2) 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.

Residents of Ankara were critical of the ban.

“Social media means freedom. It is a news platform. Neither media outlets nor government officials provide reliable information anymore. They lost our trust. Social media is a platform that we can obtain reliable news but they put a ban on social media websites because they don’t want people to get information, they don’t want people to learn the truth,” Cinar Ozer said.

“Banning Twitter, YouTube is a move to curb our freedoms. They should not sabotage our freedoms to take precautions. We share our thoughts and news on Twitter and YouTube. These moves are not acceptable. I condemn it,” said Sevin Korkmaz.

The ban on micro-blogging site was lifted several hours after it was imposed after Twitter complied with Turkey’s request to remove photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants, an official said.

An Istanbul prosecutor died from his wounds after security forces stormed the office where members of a far-left Turkish group took him hostage on Tuesday (March31), killing his two captors.