Twitter accessible in Turkey after blockage: official

Twitter accessible in Turkey after blockage: official

Court had ordered photos of deadly suicide bombing suppressed, including online

The scene after an explosion in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa, on July 20, 2015, not far from the Syrian border. (AFP/Dicle news agency)
The scene after an explosion in the town of Suruc in Sanliurfa, on July 20, 2015, not far from the Syrian border. (AFP/Dicle news agency)

ANKARA — Twitter users in Turkey could again access their accounts on Wednesday following an hours-long blockage after a court decision banning the publication of images of a deadly suicide bombing in all print, visual and online media, a Turkish official said.

“We notified Twitter about 107 URL addresses that must be removed in compliance with the court order,” the official told AFP, saying that Twitter blocked those addresses after talks with the government.

Turkish users had earlier reported problems in overall access to Twitter after the court order. By 4:00 pm (1300), access had been restored.

The suicide bomb attack in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc on the border with Syria on Monday killed 32 people — mostly young activists.

Turkish authorities said no formal ban had been placed on the use of Twitter — where many of the images had been posted.

The official said the blockage was a “technical matter,” adding that the legal obstacle had been overcome.

Turkish television and newspapers had in recent days published on occasion highly graphic images of the bombing. Footage of the moment of the explosion had also been broadcast.

Under the court order, such images cannot now be broadcast or published.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic-rooted ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been repeatedly criticized over curbs on social media.

Turkey’s parliament in April approved legislation to tighten control over the Internet by allowing the government to block websites without prior judicial authorization.

The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to spread a torrent of audio recordings implicating Erdogan — then premier — and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal.

The AKP lost its overall majority for the first time in 13 years in a parliamentary election on June 7, and is now seeking a coalition partner to form a government.

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