Turkish courts powerless to punish insulting tweets
Popo singer Murat Boz had filed a complaint against a Twitter user for insulting him.A recent appeal by a celebrity to sue a Twitter user for insulting him on the microblogging site
failed as Turkish courts were unable to obtain an IP address from the U.S.-based company.
Pop singer Murat Boz wanted to sue a Twitter user after the person allegedly posted insulting messages about him.
But the Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office declared that it had no authority to follow up on the complaint as they could not obtain the IP address of the user due to the lack of a relevant agreement between Turkey and the United States, where Twitter user data is kept.
"Popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are subject to U.S. law. They would only disclose information upon request from an American court of law,” said Gökhan Ahi, the Istanbul Bar's chairman of Informatics Law Center.
Ahi said Turkey had no mutual cyber-crime agreement with the U.S. "Even if there were such an agreement, the paperwork between authorities alone could take months."
Officials from Turkey's Information and Communication Authority (BTK) explained the process regarding Twitter complaints. "Turkish prosecutors have to request information from the U.S. through Turkey's Justice Ministry as Twitter has no legal representation here. The U.S. Department of Justice, in turn, requests information from Twitter but the company does not respond to such requests most of the time, which leaves the prosecutors unable to do anything."
Those who wanted to file a complaint would be better off contacting Twitter headquarters in person, the officials said.
An IP address can only be obtained if the company is based in Turkey or has representation in Turkey, such as Google, they said.