Social networking websites Facebook and Twitter are now banned in Turkey as grim images of the recent Ankara blasts were posted on these websites. More than 32 people have been reportedly killed and more than a hundred injured in the March 14 car bomb blasts, leaving the country reeling under massive destruction. Although the exact figure is unknown, some news websites are saying that at least 34 people are dead and more than 125 wounded. It’s a tragedy and the numbers hardly matter. So far the Islamic State has carried out at least 4 bomb attacks in Turkey since June 2015.
It’s an Ankara (Turkey’s capital) court that has ordered a ban on access to Facebook, Twitter and other sites in Turkey after images of the recent car bombing appeared on these websites. Initially it was not officially announced that Twitter and Facebook are banned in Turkey; it was when various local users reported difficulty in accessing the sites that it came to be known that these sites are banned. Some of the images appearing on Twitter and Facebook included photographs of a prosecutor being held at gunpoint by far-left militants. That was last year.
Previously also Turkey had blocked social networking websites in the wake of protests and blasts. When twin bombings in October 2015 killed 103 people in the violence between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants a gag order was issued not just on the websites, but even on the media.
Even when the websites are not being blocked they are constantly being approached by Turkish authorities to remove content from the websites. According to Twitter’s transparency report, more than 450 content-removal requests were made by the Turkish authorities between July and December last year. 6 months prior to this period they had made 408 requests to remove content.
According to Turkish NTV and CNN Turk, Turkey’s telecommunications authority, TIB, blocked access to Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites after the court order. Though people are able to circumvent the ban by using VPN services, as explained by this tweet.
Having to use a VPN again to access twitter and other social media. Sad, very sad. Information doesn't kill, never has. #Turkey
— Suraj Sharma (@SSmanutd) March 13, 2016