Report: 721 critical Twitter accounts currently banned by Turkish government

At least 721 critical Twitter accounts are currently banned in Turkey, according to a report by US-based BuzzFeed online news outlet. Obtaining data from Twitter and its own sources, BuzzFeed reported that the country with the most withheld accounts in the data set is Germany with 758, followed by with Turkey with 721, and France with 261.

Turkey has in total made at least 11,887 requests to withhold accounts or specific tweets since the creation of miniblog, BuzzFeed said. However, Twitter turned down majority of the requests while banning 721 of the accounts.

BuzzFeed said 719 of the accounts banned in Turkey were reviewed by local a pair of journalists who determined 386 of such accounts to be pro-Kurdish or supporter of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

While 242 of those accounts are belong to people who are allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement, another 58 were identified as being aligned with leftist or left-leaning organisations.

Pro-Gülen movement accounts have nearly 10 million in total while the next-most-followed group, the pro-Kurdish accounts, had 2,5 million total followers.

The three most popular accounts withheld in Turkey are Periscope’s corporate account and the accounts belonging to exiled journalist Ekrem Dumanlı and NBA player Enes Kanter. Both Dumanlı and Kanter were blacklisted by the government for their links to the Gülen movement.

“Other withheld Gülenist accounts include journalists, writers, and academics linked to the movement, as well news-focused accounts created to disseminate articles about the movement to followers. The withheld Kurdish accounts include journalists, activists promoting Kurdish causes, and news accounts,” BuzzFeed analysis showed.

BuzzFeed also reported that not a single pro-government account has been withheld in Turkey. “Long list of ‘withheld’ accounts in #Turkey including mine. Shameful censorship by @Twitter,” Turkish journalist Ali H. Aslan tweeted sharing the BuzzFeed’s raw data regarding the withheld accounts. (turkeypurge.com)

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