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Twitter sues Turkey to get ‘terrorist propaganda’ fine canceled

Turkey has vowed to take 'necessary' measures to get Twitter to pay up.


Eric Geller


Posted on Jan 7, 2016   Updated on May 27, 2021, 9:49 am CDT

Twitter has sued the Turkish government after it fined the social-media company for not removing what it called extremist content.

The lawsuit follows the Turkish government’s decision to fine Twitter 150,000 lira ($50,000) for failing to delete “terrorist propaganda.”

The government asked Twitter to delete approximately two dozen tweets about multiple political movements in the country, including the Kurdistan Workers Party—which is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, and government of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan—and a leftist party.

Turkey has pursued some of the most aggressive Internet censorship in the Arab world, banning sites like Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook. But it is Twitter that has earned the lion’s share of the Erdogan government’s ire.

Twitter received 442 censorship requests in the first half of 2015, and all but 34 of them came from Turkey. Turkey also asked Twitter to provide information on 670 users in that time period, more than all but two other countries (the United States and Japan). But Turkey has never before fined Twitter for failing to comply with its censorship requests.

The Turkish Information and Communications Technologies Authority (known by its Turkish acronym BTK) levied the fine on Dec. 11 under a 2007 law regulating Internet communication. The government said it would take “necessary” measures after Twitter missed the Jan. 6 payment deadline.

Illustration by Max Fleishman 

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*First Published: Jan 7, 2016, 1:13 pm CST