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Twitter takes Turkish government to court over ‘terrorist propaganda’ fine

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Updated 01/11/2016 3.00 p.m. (PT) by Saqib Shah: In the ongoing dispute between Turkey and Twitter, the latter has taken the matter to court.

report claims that Twitter’s aim is to get the penalty, regarding its delayed removal of what the government deemed “terrorist propaganda,” annulled. The case was filed in a court in the Turkish capital of Ankara last week. 

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Twitter currently faces a temporary ban in Turkey after it failed to pay a fine of 150,000 Turkish lira ($51,000) set by the Turkish government.

Turkish minister Binali Yildirim has said that the government will “take measures” against the social platform.

The fine was the first of its kind and it is now likely that the Turkish government will resort to temporarily banning the service, as it has done so in the past.

Twitter did not reply to Digital Trends requests for comment.

Original text: Turkey has issued Twitter a fine relating to the social network’s failure to take down what the government refers to as “terrorist propaganda.” The action is a first for the country, which has had controversial brushes with the site on numerous occasions in the past.

Twitter will be forced to pay a fine of 150,000 Turkish lira ($51,000) following a notice by the country’s communications watchdog, reports Reuters.

Although the Turkish government has not released an official statement, it is thought that the content in question dates back to March.

The controversy originally stemmed from images that were uploaded to Twitter during a hostage crisis that saw a prosecutor and two hostages killed, according to CNBC. A Marxist revolutionary group thought to be behind the attack posted images and statements online, threatening to kill the prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who later died of his injuries following a police shootout intended to free him. At the time, Turkey had banned live TV coverage of the incident, citing security concerns.

The Turkish government had warned both Facebook and Twitter to take down images posted by the group (including photos of the prosecutor held at gunpoint). Facebook managed to swiftly do so, but Twitter’s failure to act quickly enough led to the fine. Although Turkey has blocked social networks in the past, this is the first time a platform has been fined.

Turkey’s turbulent relationship with Twitter has seen the platform repeatedly stray into the government’s firing line. It was first blocked (along with Facebook) following the incident in question, and then taken down prior to local elections for publishing corruption allegations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party.

Unlike other nations, which are putting pressure on social networks to combat terrorism, Turkey has been standoffish in its approach to social media. Earlier this year, it issued a court order to 171 websites to remove “visual material” related to a deadly bombing in the Turkish city of Suruç. Turkish law dictates that companies which receive a gag order against certain content have four hours to remove it, after which they are subject to being blocked.

Twitter has not issued a statement on the current fine.

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