It looks as though Turkish authorities are once again set to show Twitter "the power of the Republic of Turkey," as reports indicate access to social media in the country has been blocked. The move looks to be related to the widespread dissemination of pictures showing prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz after he was taken hostage in Istanbul by DHKP-C last week. Here's more:
Turkish authorities have blocked access to Twitter, Youtube and Facebook over the publication of photos published on the three social media platforms, showing a prosecutor who was taken hostage by militants in Istanbul last week.
A number of Turkey's leading Internet service providers practiced the ban in the afternoon April 6, an official confirmed after widespread reports of problems to have access to the social media websites.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Internet Service Providers Union (ESB) Secretary General Bülent Kent stressed that "the procedure continues" as all service providers are expected to practice the ban soon.
Two militants with alleged links to the outlawed far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) took Mehmet Selim Kiraz, the prosecutor in the controversial case of the killing of Gezi victim Berkin Elvan, hostage in Istanbul's Ça?layan Courthouse on March 31.
Kiraz succumbed to his injuries in hospital after the six-hour hostage drama, during which security forces killed the two captors.
On April 1, a total of 13 media organizations and journalists had their access banned for the press conference and the funeral ceremony of Kiraz at the Eyüp Sultan Mosque on April 1 for publishing photos showing Kiraz as a hostage.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu later announced that he gave the instruction to withhold accreditation.
Separately, an criminal investigation into seven Turkish newspapers for publishing the hostage photo was launched on April 2.
As we noted more than a year ago: "...with the government in full out despotic mode, however one which would work in the 1970s but certainly not in an age of instant information exchange, further escalations of locking out internet provides will certainly accelerate until finally the information and entertainment starved country says enough." And with gross incompetence apparently to blame for the massive blackout that left half of the country without power last week, one has to lament the plight of Turkey's populace who, thanks to their government, are sometimes left in the dark, both figuratively and literally.