Report

Turkey Temporarily Blocks Access to Social Media

The Turkish government blocked access to Twitter and YouTube throughout the country for several hours yesterday after a court ordered websites to take down images, videos, and voice recordings related to the hostage crisis last week that left two gunmen and a prosecutor dead. The content has been listed by Turkish authorities as “anti-government propaganda.” ...

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The Turkish government blocked access to Twitter and YouTube throughout the country for several hours yesterday after a court ordered websites to take down images, videos, and voice recordings related to the hostage crisis last week that left two gunmen and a prosecutor dead. The content has been listed by Turkish authorities as “anti-government propaganda.” The government has censored the use of images of the hostage being held at gunpoint in Turkish newspapers as well, but the order on Monday took that a step further by applying to foreign websites. The court ordered Facebook and various news sites to remove content as well and threatened to block Google. By Monday evening, Turkish authorities had restored access to Twitter and YouTube, saying that they had complied with their request.

Despite the ban, many Turks used proxy servers and other tools to circumvent government imposed blocks and reach social media sites, trending the hashtag #TwitterisblockedinTurkey. The Turkish government has a fraught relationship with social media, especially Twitter. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the site a menace to society, and last year Turkey filed more requests to remove content from Twitter than any other country.

Syrian Diplomats Meet in Moscow

Syrian diplomats began meeting in Moscow yesterday for talks that will continue through Thursday. The Assad regime delegation is being led by Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, who will meet with representatives from the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change. Other credible opposition organizations, including the National Coalition, refused to participate in the talks. Diplomats have low expectations and discussions this week will focus on setting an agenda for future talks.

Headlines

  • As fighting has intensified around the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, Syria, U.N. officials have called for a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians, stating that the conditions are “completely catastrophic” and “beyond inhumane.”

 

  • A Saudi police officer was killed and five other people wounded when a police raid escalated to a gunfight in the city of al-Awamiya; the raid was part of the Saudi campaign to round up “terrorist elements” in largely Shia regions of the country.

 

  • Pakistani President Nawaz Sharif suggested that Iran play a role in resolving the current conflict in Yemen ahead of a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif; Pakistan is a member of the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen.

 

  • Jabhat al-Nusra released 300 Kurdish fighters captured on Sunday; the Kurdish forces were intercepted while traveling from near Kobani to Aleppo and Damascus.

 

  • Arab-American organizations are working on a website, StuckInYemen.com, to try to organize travel for U.S. citizens stranded in Yemen; the U.S. government has said there is no plan to evacuate Americans from the conflict.

-J. Dana Stuster

OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

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