Turkey blocks 120 critical Twitter accounts with a single court decision

An Ankara court has ruled to block access to 120 critical Twitter accounts including  @TurkeyPurge , which is closed for the fourth time in 7 months without issuing a prior notification and @abdbozkurt , the official Twitter account of the President of Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), Abdullah Bozkurt, by citing trumped charges like “legal consideration” of a law regarding crimes committed through social media.

In an a notification sent by Twitter to users’ official e-mail addresses on April 26, it was said that after technical analysis and legal consideration based on Law No. 5651, the Ankara 4th Criminal Court blocked access to @TurkeyPurge with the decision No. 34403158-421.99-E5674 on April 21. Turkey Purge composed of small group of young journalists who are trying to be the voice for Turkish people who suffer under an oppressive regime. The website have previously been banned three times by different court in Ankara on Aug. 6, 2016 and On Jan 13, 2017 and March 22, 2017.

The same court banned access to 120 twitter accounts, most of which report on government oppression, purges, torture in prisons and detention centers following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The Ankara court has also ruled to block access to turkeypurge.com. A Turkish court has also decided to block access to stockholmcf.org in recent weeks.

Turkey was single-handedly accounted 844 out of 894 all court requests worldwide for removal of content on Twitter between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2016. Turkey shut down about 200 media outlets and now trying to gag critical journalists and social media accounts.

As of the end of 2016, at least 10,000 people were under investigation on committing alleged crime of making terrorist propaganda and insulting senior state officials on social media. According to figures released by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in December, 3,710 social media users had been investigated in the last six months of 2016, of whom 1,656 were arrested. A total of 1,203 of those investigations resulted in releases on probation.

Turkey is the worst jailer of journalists and media workers in the world. Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has announced the number of journalists behind bars as of April 20, 2017 reached to a new record with 235 languishing in Turkish jails, most without a trial and convictions. Of these journalists, 214 are arrested pending trial and without a conviction.

Most of the journalists do not even know what the charges are or what evidence, if any, the government has because the indictments were not filed yet. Also 100 journalists are wanted and 839 have been charged in Turkey. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) April 27, 2017


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