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Twitter removes hostage images to end Turkey’s ban on its site, but YouTube is still blocked

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Earlier today, Turkey imposed a ban on both Twitter and YouTube when photographs of an Istanbul prosecutor, who had been taken hostage and killed, were shown on both services. However, Twitter complied with Turkey’s request to take down the images, thus removing the ban, reports Reuters.

“Twitter has agreed to shut down accounts and remove images relating to last week’s hostage-taking.”

An Istanbul judge imposed the ban on social media sites after it was discovered they contained images of prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kraz held at gunpoint by far-left militants. After being held hostage, Kraz was killed in a shoot-out last week. Twitter agreed to take down accounts and images that had any association with the news that Kraz had been taken.

According to presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, the prosecutor’s office demanded the block because by sharing the images of Kraz held hostage, some media groups acted “as if they were spreading terrorist propaganda,” especially with Kraz’s slaying last week.

Related: Arrested for tweeting in Turkey: the social media machine of the #occupygezi movement

The hostage takers, members of the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), threatened to kill Kraz unless their demands were met. Security forces discovered and stormed the offices where Kraz was being held, but Kraz and his captors died from their wounds.

“Twitter has agreed to shut down accounts and remove images relating to last week’s hostage-taking,” said a senior official. “The website will reopen to access very shortly.”

Through a court order, Facebook is required to restrict access to some of its content, too. If the social network doesn’t comply with the court order, Turkey would block access to the site, though a Facebook spokesperson said it will appeal the decision. Meanwhile, talks between Turkey and YouTube, Google’s online video portal, are said to still be underway.

Turkey doesn’t have a very friendly relationship with social media, though it’s even less friendly with Twitter than most of the other networks. The relationship between the country and social media soured after Twitter, Facebook, and others showed the Turkish government’s true colors during the political unrest in 2013.

“Now we have a menace called Twitter,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Ergodan at the time. “The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society.”

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