Twitter, Google and Facebook have responded to a legal demand from the Turkish government that asked them to remove a controversial image from their services.
The image of a prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, held hostage by far-Left militants was shared on the sites to the objections of the Turkish government.
Initially the government moved to block access to the social media services, as it has done before, but ultimately its demands were met following an intervention from the courts.
Local publication Hurriyet Daily News reported that Twitter, YouTube and Facebook were not alone in receiving demands and the threat of blackout, claiming that the court order was served on over 160 sites and sources.
The court order appeared to offer two options: pull the content or be banned.
A senior Turkish government official said in a statement to Reuters that the blanket ban was requested out of respect for Kiraz's family.
"The wife and children of prosecutor Kiraz have been deeply upset. The images are everywhere," said the official.
Twitter did not have a specific statement on its compliance, but admitted that it will appeal against the decision.
Facebook was more forthcoming, and again said that it will appeal. "We received valid court orders from the authorities in Turkey requiring us to restrict access to certain content. We have complied, but are appealing," said a spokesperson.
YouTube, via Google, is yet to respond with a comment. Reuters said that the web company is putting up a defence against the request, and was still working to restore service to YouTube late on Monday evening.
Nation states are discouraged from banning social media services. The EC told ‘oppressive' regimes last year that such action is futile and counterproductive, and the Turkish government has been pressed to restore services when it has blocked them in the past.
"A few months ago, the Turkish government blocked access to Twitter and YouTube, shutting down entire websites and silencing millions of voices. That decision was disproportionate, illiberal and incompatible with human rights," said EC vice president for the digital agenda Neelie Kroes in September.
"And for those outside Turkey, the whole episode drew international attention. Most of the world only became aware of the issue after Twitter was blocked."
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