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Mehmet Selim Kiraz’s death: Turkey blocks access to social media sites to stop photo sharing


Turkish net companies have been ordered to block access to social media sites to stop the sharing of photos of Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who was taken hostage during last week’s armed siege in Istanbul.

A Turkish court has told Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more than 150 other sites to remove images taken during the siege.

The block on Facebook and Twitter was lifted after the two social networks complied with the court order.

Currently, YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.

Before imposing the blocks on the websites, Turkish authorities had moved to stop newspapers printing the images.

The newspapers were accused by the government of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” for the DHKP-C group that was reportedly behind the attack on the courthouse. The DHKP-C is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and US.

The siege ended with the gunmen and their hostage being killed when police stormed the building in a rescue bid.

Mehmet Selim Kiraz was apparently taken hostage because he headed an investigation into the death of a boy during anti-government protests that took place in 2013.Mehmet Selim Kiraz

The pictures showing attackers holding a gun to Mehmet Selim Kiraz’s head were being widely shared on social media, leading authorities to act, reported Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

“The wife and children of prosecutor Kiraz have been deeply upset. The images are everywhere,” a senior Turkish official told the Reuters news agency.

In total, 166 websites which shared the images were blocked by the court order.

YouTube published the text of the court ruling on its website saying an “administration measure” had been enacted by Turkey’s telecoms authority. It said it was seeking ways to restore access.

Facebook was also subject to the same block but it is believed the restrictions on it were lifted because it removed the images before the expiration of a deadline imposed by the court. Twitter reacted more slowly and access to the messaging system was blocked for several hours on April 6.

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