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X Restricts Access to Accounts Criticizing Turkey’s President Erdoğan After Government Orders

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The social media platform X publicized on Wednesday that it is strategically restricting access to certain accounts that critique Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This decision echoes earlier restrictions implemented before the general elections in May, in accordance with controversial censorship laws.

Under current scrutiny are 12 accounts overseen by Kurdish businessman Muhammed Yakut or connected fan accounts disseminating his videos. Yakut, originating from Diyarbakır province in southeastern Turkey, previously utilized YouTube to expose alleged ties between key figures in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and questionable business practices as well as a murky historical coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Yakut’s YouTube channel was incapacitated following a court order just before Turkey’s elections in May.

The actions taken by X, previously known as Twitter, per their press release, aim to maintain compliance with a recent court order issued by the Ankara 9th Criminal Court of Peace to hinder access to 210 posts and profile accounts. Platforms including Instagram and YouTube, in addition to X, are affected by this. Noncompliance could lead to X getting blocked in Turkey.

Amidst the crackdown, X, despite its contentious decision, says it strives to uphold freedom of speech with its platform.

X posted: “Ahead of Turkish local elections on March 31, the Turkish Government has made clear to us that X is the only social media service not complying in full with a recent court order.

“In order to prevent the X service being blocked we have taken action on twelve accounts and 15 Tweets identified by court order.”

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