Turkish authorities ‘block Twitter to prevent broadcast of blast images’


Turkey has blocked access to Twitter to prevent the broadcast of images of a bomb blast which killed 32 people earlier this week, according to reports.

State-run Anadolu Agency said the government is also trying to block Twitter users from calling for protests against the government for not doing more to prevent the bombing.

The suicide bomb blast in Suruc, on the border with Syria, on Monday also left about 100 people injured.

Officials have raised concerns that the bombing is part of a campaign of retaliation by the so-called Islamic State group for a recent crackdown on its operations in the country.

In an intensified crackdown, Turkish officials say they have detained more than 500 people suspected of working with ‘IS’ in the last six months.

Officials say an operation this month netted 21 terrorism suspects in an investigation of recruitment networks in multiple parts of the country.

Elsewhere today, two police officers were found shot dead in their home near the border with Syria.

Governor for Sanliurfa province, Izzettin Kucuk, said is it not yet clear if the attack against the policemen, who were sharing a house in the border town of Ceylanpinar, was terrorism-linked.

Earlier, a court in Suruc issued a ban on the publication of images related to the bombing in the media, including the internet and social media platforms, and ruled that access be barred to internet sites that do not comply with the ban, the Anadolu Agency said.

A government official said Turkey has asked Twitter to remove 107 URLs with images of the aftermath of the bombing.

The official said he expects the URLs to be removed soon and for access to be restored.

Turkey has periodically blocked social media in the past. Earlier this year the government ordered a temporary block on Twitter and YouTube during a hostage crisis in an Istanbul courthouse.

Those sites were also blocked last year after audio recordings of a secret security meeting or tapes suggesting corruption by government officials were leaked on the social media sites.

Turkey’s highest court, however, overturned those bans, deeming them to be unconstitutional.

Previous moves by Turkish authorities to block the social media networks have provoked widespread criticism by Western governments and human rights organisations.

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