[JURIST] Turkish officials briefly blocked access [press release] to Twitter [corporate website] in an attempt to prevent sharing of images from Monday’s deadly Suruc bombing, and to stop Twitter users from calling for protests against the government. The ban on Twitter was both installed and lifted the same day. Turkey has since vowed to increase security at the Syrian border [press release], as it is thought that the Islamic State group was responsible for the suicide bombing which resulted in the death of 32 individuals. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that Turkey “is determined to fight against this terrorist organization like it fights against all kinds of terror.”
The Turkish government in recent years has been accused of censoring free speech in both print media and social media. in April a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced [JURIST report] that a state prosecutor had ordered Internet providers to block social networking sites including Twitter and YouTube. In January a Turkish court ordered [JURIST report] a ban on Facebook pages that contain materials insulting the Prophet Muhammad. In September Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish], is taking steps to weaken the rule of law, control Internet and media, and suppress critics and protesters. Last April the Turkish government lifted a ban [JURIST report] on Twitter following a Constitutional Court ruling, which stated that the ban violated both individual rights as well as the freedom of expression.