Turkey blocks Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over hostage photo

April 7, 2015
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Turkey on Monday blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over the publication of an image of a Turkish prosecutor being held by leftist militants during a hostage standoff which resulted in his death.

The sites were inaccessible for many users in Turkey, with the Hurriyet newspaper saying that service providers got an order from prosecutors to block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

YouTube.com ran the text of a court ruling on its site saying an “administration measure” had been implemented by the country’s telecommunications authority (TIB).

A presidential spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that a prosecutor had sought a ban on social media sites after the publication last week of images of fellow prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who died shortly after sustaining gunshot wounds during an operation to free him.

“This has to do with the publishing of the prosecutor’s picture. What happened in the aftermath (of the prosecutor’s killing) is as grim as the incident itself,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said.

Turkey temporarily blocked Twitter and YouTube in the run-up to local elections in March 2014, after audio recordings purportedly showing corruption in then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle were leaked on their sites. That decision caused a public uproar and drew heavy international criticism.

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