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POLITICS > Turkish finance minister says Twitter cannot see itself 'above the law'

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

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Mehmet Şimşek nevertheless admitted that banning websites 'doesn’t reflect well' on his government. DHA photo

Mehmet Şimşek nevertheless admitted that banning websites 'doesn’t reflect well' on his government. DHA photo

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has defended the government’s ban on Twitter, accusing the social media website of failing to comply with court orders and saying that no company should see itself as “above the law.”

The government banned Twitter on March 20, after users shared information about allegations of corruption against high-level officials.

Şimşek, who accepted that banning websites “doesn’t reflect well” on his government, insisted that the ban was not a crackdown on free speech, speaking on BBC Newshour on March 23.

“The Turkish telecommunications watchdog has made a number of statements saying it has asked Twitter on a number of occasions to remove some content on the back of court orders, but Twitter has been refusing to comply,” he said.

“I don’t think any global company, whether it’s a media company, whether it’s an industrial company, it shouldn’t see itself [as being] above the law,” he added.

Şimşek also said it now seemed like Twitter was working with the Turkish authorities to get the ban lifted.

A senior Turkish government official told Reuters that talks with Twitter on ending the ban “were going positively.”

Twitter has so far made no public comment on the ban, on March 22 it posted a message in both English and Turkish telling users how to send tweets via text messages.

There are estimated to be over 10 million Twitter users in Turkey.

In 2010, the country lifted its ban on YouTube - two years after it blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

March/23/2014

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