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Turkey Clamps Down on Twitter, YouTube Over Hostage Images

Turkey blocked access to Twitter and YouTube for several hours on Monday over photos showing a militant pointing a gun at a prosecutor who died last week in a failed hostage rescue operation. Turkey also threatened to ban Google over the images. A spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a Turkish prosecutor had ordered Internet providers to block the sites. The request stemmed from postings of photos that showed militant Marxists pointing a gun at the prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who died in a shootout between police and the Marxists who were holding him hostage. Government officials have blasted Turkish media for posting the images, which they have called anti-government propaganda. Kiraz, was shot in the head during the standoff and died in a hospital soon after.

A government official said Turkey decided to lift the ban on Twitter in the late afternoon after the company agreed to remove all images of the prosecutor and telecoms authorities verified that it had done so. The state-run Anadolu Agency said access to YouTube was restored in the evening after it agreed to abide by the Turkish court order. Turkey however, then threatened to ban Google unless it removed search results showing the slain prosecutor's images.

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-- The Associated Press