Turkish authorities use ‘Country Withheld Content’ tool to target Twitter accounts

On 4 August, the Ankara Criminal Court of Peace ordered the blocking of four Twitter accounts in Turkey. This was allegedly done to protect national security and public order in reference to Law No. 5651 on the Regulation of Publications on the Internet. The four accounts belong to Oya Ersoy (a member of the Halkların Demokratik Partisi (HDP) – the People’s Democratic Party), the Turkish music bandGrup Yorum’ – known for their political songwriting, and two accounts related to the Gezi Park protest (Taksim Gezi Parki and Gezi Savunmasi). Twitter has yet to comply with the court order. The four accounts are among hundreds of other accounts which were targeted by Turkish authorities using Twitter’s ‘Country Withheld Content’ tool which allows the censoring of content on a country by country basis. The tool has previously been abused by authoritarian regimes to clampdown on online freedoms.