Twitter has restricted some of its content in Turkey ahead of the country’s high-stakes presidential elections. However, the content would still be accessible to users outside of Turkey and the account holders had been informed about the restrictions. The development to ban certain tweets ahead of Turkey’s presidential elections was confirmed by Twitter’s official Global Government Affairs account, whose statement reads; “In order to comply with legal procedures and ensure that Twitter remains accessible to the people of Turkey, we have taken steps to limit access to certain content within Turkey today.”
We are today sharing an update on our approach in Turkey.
We were in negotiation with the Turkish Government throughout last week, who made clear to us Twitter was the only social media service not complying in full with existing court orders.
We received what we believed to be…
— Twitter Global Government Affairs (@GlobalAffairs) May 15, 2023
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Twitter said that it had been in negotiations with the Turkish government, which last week threatened to shut the social media platform down unless it complied in full with existing court orders. “We received what we believed to be a final threat to throttle the service — after several such warnings — and so in order to keep Twitter available over the election weekend, took action on four accounts and 409 Tweets identified by court order,” the tweet read.
California Representative Adam Schiff said; “The day before a critical election in Turkey, Twitter appears to be acquiescing to the demands of the country’s autocratic ruler, Erdogan, and is censoring speech on the platform,” “Given Twitter’s total lack of transparency, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Musk’s promises of free speech have again fallen away.” He further added. Erdoğan is running against Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkey’s main opposition candidate and the head of the center-left Republican People’s Party, who failed to secure a majority of the vote but said he believes he can still win the race in a runoff election.
Twitter accounts belonging to Muhammed Yakut, a Kurdish businessman who has criticized Erdoğan’s regime, and Cevheri Güven, an investigative journalist, were restricted one day before the election, Another account belonging to an anonymous, self-described activist, social media influencer and freedom fighter was also blocked in Turkey. Güven, who investigated corruption allegations against Erdogan, said; “It’s a disgrace to democracy and freedom of expression that Twitter has caved to Tayyip Erdoğan.”
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