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Twitter blocks accounts critical of Turkish government

- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2014

Twitter appears to have blocked two anonymous accounts that were used to release secretly recorded conversations implicating Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior government officials in a damning corruption scandal.

Twitter agreed last week to comply with the Turkish government and close some accounts that officials said had breached national security, Reuters reported.

Two accounts blocked on Sunday — @Haramzadeler333 and @Bascalan — each had more than 400,000 followers and leaked secretly recorded phone conversations and documents implicating the prime minister and his inner circle in a wide-ranging scandal.

The two accounts were listed as "withheld" from within the country over the weekend, the Agence France-Presse reported.

Twitter said in a tweet on its policy feed: "Reminder: Our Country Withheld Content Policy means we act after due process, e.g., a court order".

"We don't withhold content at the mere request of a gov't official and we may appeal a court order when it threatens freedom of expression," it said.

The move comes after months of efforts by Mr. Erdogan to crack down on social media after recordings leaked in December on the two Twitter accounts, and later on YouTube.

Twitter and YouTube were blocked in the country for two weeks leading up to the nationwide municipal elections. The ban on Twitter was lifted on April 3 but YouTube remains blocked in the country despite two separate court orders calling for it to be lifted.

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