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Turkey blocks access to Twitter following deadly bombing

Turkey blocks access to Twitter following deadly bombing


Court orders social media sites to remove images and video of terrorist attack that killed 32 this week

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Turkey briefly blocked access to Twitter on Wednesday, in an effort to curtail the spread of images of a bombing that killed 32 people earlier this week. As the state-run Anadolu Agency reports, today's move comes after a court ruling called for graphic footage of the incident to be banned across social media and broadcast networks. The court added that websites that do not comply must be blocked. Authorities lifted the ban later Wednesday, after Twitter complied.

The Associated Press reports that the government is also looking to quell online calls for protests over its failure to prevent the bombing. Protestors in Istanbul and predominantly Kurdish regions clashed with police this week following the attack. Turkey's Kurds and opposition members accuse President Tayyip Erdogan of tacitly supporting the Islamic State, though the government has denied the allegations.

On Monday, a suicide bomber killed 32 people and injured more than 100 others in an attack at a youth activist news conference in Suruc, near the Syrian border. Turkey's prime minister said there is a "high probability" that Islamic State militants were behind the attack, though the group has not claimed responsibility. Authorities have identified a suspect in the bombing, which is the deadliest terrorist attack to hit the country in more than two years.

The Turkish newspaper Daily Hürriyet reports that the Turkish government asked Twitter to remove 107 pieces of content. The site removed 50 images, but failed to take down the remaining content within the government's four-hour deadline. Reuters reports that the ban is expected to be lifted "shortly," citing a senior Turkish official who said the company had removed the remaining images from its site.

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkey has blocked access to Twitter and other social media sites on several occasions in the past, and has tightened its control over domestic media outlets, as well. In 2014, Turkey submitted 477 takedown requests to Twitter, according to the company's latest transparency report, a 156 percent increase over the previous year, and far more than any other country. It was followed by Russia (91 requests) and Germany (43).

This article has been updated to reflect that Turkish authorities have lifted the ban.