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Turkey threatens Twitter censorship over leaked Syria raid

The Turkish government has threatened to block access to Twitter if the micro-blogging site does not delete the account of a domestic newspaper.

According to the New York Times, Birgun has come under fire from the authorities for sharing official documents pertaining to a military police raid on Turkish Intelligence Agency trucks on their way to Syria.

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A local court had ruled that media outlets could not cover the raid as this would compromise national security. While a number of online platforms including Twitter and Facebook have co-operated with the ruling by deleting posts, the nature of social media means that this is often a continuous process.

Critics of the Turkish government have claimed that the intelligence agency trucks were carrying weapons to help extremist militants fight against the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. However, government officials assert that the trucks contained humanitarian aid.

“Out of the almost 60,000 tweets on the account, Twitter withheld access in Turkey to the small number of tweets that discussed the national security issue referenced in the order,” explained Nu Wexler, a Twitter spokesman. “We continue to work diligently to protect the rights of our users and preserve access for millions of Twitter users in Turkey.”

Despite a number of Birgun tweets being taken down, the left-wing newspaper continued to leak information regarding the Syria mission, causing the government to demand stronger action.

Turkey has been known to enforce online censorship programmes in the past, particularly over matters of national security. Back in March last year, both Twitter and YouTube were blocked after secret government plans for a military operation in Syria were leaked.

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In that instance, Twitter remained blocked for two weeks, while YouTube was reactivated in the country after two months.