A senior Turkish official proclaimed Monday night that the service will ban a number of accounts at the government’s request, Reuters reported.
The two parties have had an extremely strained relationship for the past few year. Twitter was seen as a key tool in a massive Turkish protest of Geizi park in 2013; 29 protesters were arrested for their tweets alone. In March, as opposition to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdo?an reached a fever pitch, the country blocked the service outright for several weeks, though with only moderate technical success. The ban was lifted in early April, after a Turkish court ruled that blocking Twitter violated laws protecting free speech.
Throughout, Erdo?an has preached an anti-Twitter message. The situation seemed most outlandish when a spokesman for the ruling AKP Party, of which Erdo?an is a member, announced that Twitter would have to set up shop in Turkey to avoid future bans. Twitter, which prides itself on being a bastion of free speech, balked at first. In a statement to the Daily Dot, a Twitter representative glibly stated that “Twitter already has local representation in Turkey, which handled our successful legal challenge to the access ban.”
Twitter has been silent, however, on the matter of actually flying Vice President of Global Public Policy Colin Crowell to Turkey to work out a compromise, ignoring the Daily Dot’s and other news outlets’ requests for comment. Multiple reports, however, place Crowell there.
Part of Turkey’s concern, one government official said, is that Twitter makes an estimated $35 million a year by advertising to Turkish users, but does not pay local taxes.
There’s no word on how many Twitter accounts would be closed. YouTube, which was banned in Turkey after an alleged recording of Erdo?an officials talking about going to war with Syria was published to the site, remains banned in the country.
Photo by Free Grunge Textures/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III