Middle East

US slams Turkey's move to shut down Twitter

Demonstrators, members of the Turkish Youth Union, shout anti-government slogans during a protest against a Twitter ban, in Ankara March 21, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)

WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday slammed an attempt by Turkey to ban the online social network Twitter, which government opponents have used to publish corruption allegations.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the order to prevent Turks from accessing the US firm's micro-blogging site was "contrary to Turkey's own expressed desire to be a model of democracy."

"The United States supports freedom of expression in Turkey and opposes any action to encroach on the right to free speech," she told reporters.

"We urge the Turkish government to unblock its citizens' access to Twitter and ensure free access to all social media platforms."

She added that she was not aware of any moves by the US administration to play a role in reported negotiations between Twitter and the Turkish government.

But US officials, including the US ambassador to Turkey, have been working on the issue and "we've expressed our concerns through those channels."

Psaki stressed that "democratic governments must accept the challenge, to ... listen to the voices who disagree with us."

"An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of democratic, open societies and crucial to ensuring official transparency and accountability," Psaki added.





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