Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor seeks to block so­cial me­dia af­ter deadly shootout

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY DES­MOND BUT­LER

A Turk­ish pros­e­cu­tor has or­dered In­ter­net providers to block so­cial net­work­ing sites, in­clud­ing Twit­ter and YouTube, a spokesman for Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan said Mon­day.

The re­quest stems from post­ings of pho­tos that show mil­i­tant Marx­ists point­ing a gun at a pros­e­cu­tor who died last week in a shootout be­tween po­lice and the Marx­ists who were hold­ing him hostage.

Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have blasted Turk­ish me­dia for post­ing the images, which they have called anti- gov­ern­ment pro­pa­ganda. The pros­e­cu­tor, Mehmet Se­lim Ki­raz, was shot in the head dur­ing the stand­off and died in a hos­pi­tal soon af­ter.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear how the so­cial me­dia or­der was be­ing car­ried out, but the gov­ern­ment-run Anadolu Agency quoted the Union of In­ter­net Providers as con­firm­ing that ac­cess to Twit­ter and YouTube has been blocked. Some users could still ac­cess the sites, while oth­ers re­ported be­ing blocked.

The agency said ac­cess was blocked be­cause Twit­ter and YouTube did not re­move images of the pros­e­cu­tor de­spite an of­fi­cial no­ti­fi­ca­tion. It says the In­ter­net Providers no­ti­fied Twit­ter and YouTube, but video, pho­to­graphs and au­dio con­tin­ued to be posted on th­ese sites. The Turk­ish telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions author­ity would not im­me­di­ately com­ment.

Last year, Turkey blocked ac­cess to YouTube and Twit­ter af­ter au­dio record­ings of a se­cret se­cu­rity meet­ing or tapes sug­gest­ing cor­rup­tion by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were leaked on the so­cial me­dia sites. Turkey’s high­est court, how­ever, over­turned the bans, deem­ing them to be un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Pre­vi­ous moves by Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties to block the so­cial me­dia net­works have pro­voked wide­spread crit­i­cism by West­ern gov­ern­ments and hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Many tech-savvy users, in­clud­ing Er­do­gan-ally Pres­i­dent Ab­dul­lah Gul, found ways to cir­cum­vent the bans both on Twit­ter and YouTube while they were in place.

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