The Turkish Government has blocked the access to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in the country over Istanbul prosecutor siege images.
Once again, I’m writing about online censorship, once again the protagonist is the Turkish Government that this time has blocked the access to popular social media sites, including Twitter and YouTube. The ban follows a court ruling today and is the response of the Turkish Government
The ban on accessing Twitter and YouTube comes just days after the tragic death of the Istanbul prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz. The man was kept hostage by members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and law enforcement failed his liberation. During the dramatic moments of the kidnapping, in the Internet was circulating a disturbing picture of the prosecutor menaced by the kidnapper that was keeping a gun against his head. The image became soon viral over the social media sites. I don’t want to show the image to respect the victim and his family.
Earlier today Facebook users from Turkey were unable to access the social network platform, same block is applied to YouTube and Twitter services.
The Government objected to social media users sharing pictures from dramatic event justifying the ban as a necessary operation against ‘terrorist propaganda’. This means that everyone that is sharing the image is considered a terrorist by the Turkish Government.
“Access to Twitter (TWTR.N) and video-sharing website YouTube (GOOGL.O) were blocked in Turkey on Monday following a court decision based on complaints from individuals, a source in Turkey’s telecoms industry 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.” reported the Reuters agency that cited a source in Turkey’s telecoms industry.
The Turkish Government has requested to both Twitter and YouTube for the removal of the images, but they haven’t accepted it.
“This has to do with the publishing of the prosecutor’s picture,” said a spokesman of the Turkish government, Mr Ibrahim Kalin during a news conference in Ankara: “The demand from the prosecutor’s office is that this image not be used anywhere in electronic platforms.”
The Turkish Government adopted a similar measure in March 2014 when Twitter and YouTube were temporarily blocked in the country before the local elections, after audio recordings purportedly showing corruption in then-Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle were shared among principal media.
Users that decide to avoid the censorship can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt the traffic and avoid monitoring. Another possibility is to use an anonymizing service like Tor.