Twitter sues Turkey over ‘terror propaganda’ fine

Social media giant argues $50,000 fine slapped on it for not removing content goes against Turkish law.

File illustration of a person holding a Samsung Galaxy S4 displaying a Twitter error message in front of a Turkish flag
Ankara has temporarily banned access to Twitter site several times in the past [Twitter]

Twitter has challenged Turkey in an Ankara court seeking to cancel a $50,000 fine for not removing content from its website, the social media site’s lawyer told Al Jazeera on Thursday.

Turkey has banned access to Twitter several times in the past for failing to comply with requests to remove content. But the 150,000 lira ($50,000) fine imposed by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) was the first of its kind imposed by Turkish authorities on Twitter.

A Turkish official told Reuters news agency on Thursday that much of the material in question was related to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara called “terrorist propaganda”.

Twitter, in its lawsuit, is arguing that the fine goes against Turkish law and should be annulled, the official told Reuters.

READ MORE: Tackling Twitter in Turkey

The content Turkish authorities have asked to be removed includes tweets about the PKK, which is also considered a “terrorist” organisation by the European Union and the United States.

“We have shown 15-20 tweets from several accounts to Twitter as examples. We have imposed the fine because Twitter failed to comply with the court order,” the official said.

Binali Yildirim, the transport minister, said on Wednesday that Turkey would not give up on its demand for Twitter to pay the fine.

Turkey is among the leading countries with the highest number of content-removal requests to Twitter, data from the US-based company shows.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies