Turkey’s ‘Free Press’ Government Briefly Blocks Twitter Access over Images of Terrorist Bombing

The Turkish government briefly blocked Twitter on Wednesday to prevent users from accessing images of Monday’s grizzly suicide terrorist bombing, which left 32 dead and wounded at least 100 other innocent civilians.

Turkey is reportedly blaming the Islamic State for the attack, which, officials suggested to the Associated Press, is part of a retaliation campaign by the radical Islamic group for the government’s crackdown on its operations in Turkey.

The AP notes that Turkey asked Twitter to remove 107 URLs with bloody images of the bombing’s aftermath, but when Twitter had not moved quickly enough — removing close to 50 of the pictures — Turkey blocked access to the social media network. Access was reportedly restored several hours later.

The suicide bomber was identified as 20-year-old Turkish national Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz. The AP notes that he and his brother were wanted by Turkish authorities as “missing persons with possible terrorism traits” after being linked to a now-closed tea house where it is believed they were among several people to be recruited by ISIS.

Turkey has reportedly arrested over 500 people suspected of working with ISIS in the last six months. The AP notes that protesters are blaming Erdogan’s government for the terrorist attacks.

Turkey had also temporarily blocked access to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in April of this year to prevent images of a terrorist situation where a Marxist gang in Turkey (the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party–Front) took prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz hostage in an Istanbul courthouse and shot him dead.

Following the deadly massacre by Islamic State terrorists at Charlie Hebdo this January in Paris, Turkish courts ordered the blocking of Facebook pages that permit images or messages that insult Muhammad.

Meanwhile, this past December, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Turkey has the “freest press in the world,” despite being the top jailer of journalists for two consecutive years (2012 and 2013). His December address on “free speech” coincided with the release of a teenage boy who was arrested at his high school and jailed for calling Erdogan the “chief of corruption.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.


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