Turkey threatens to block social media over released documents

The New York Times reports: Turkish officials threatened to shut down Twitter in the country unless the social-media company blocked the account of a left-wing newspaper that had circulated documents about a military police raid on Turkish Intelligence Agency trucks that were traveling to Syria last January.

The demand came on Thursday, a day after a local court in Adana, a southern Turkish province, issued an order barring coverage of the investigation, hinting at the possibility of an overall ban on social media networks where documents on legal proceedings of the raid have been circulated.

The court argued that publication of the information violated national security and interfered with a continuing inquiry. Turkish government officials strongly denied opposition claims that the intelligence agency’s trucks had carried weapons for extremists fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Instead, the trucks were trying to deliver humanitarian aid for the Turkmen minority in Syria, who had been stranded in the conflict since 2011, officials said.

Networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus complied with the court order on Wednesday, removing content from accounts to avert a shutdown, Turkish news outlets reported.

But the BirGun newspaper, as well as other Twitter users, continued to challenge the ban by posting new messages. Twitter refused to block the newspaper’s account but did block specific messages that BirGun had posted showing images of leaked documents in which the military police were said to have confirmed that the trucks contained weapons and explosives. The documents also said the weapons were destined for Al Qaeda. [Continue reading…]

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