Twitter suspends account of closed-down pro-Kurdish newspaper

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Social media company Twitter has suspended the account of Özgür Gündem, a pro-Kurdish daily that was closed down by a Turkish court in 2016 on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

Amnesty International’s Milena Buyum announced the news from her personal Twitter account on Friday.

“Why has Twitter suspended ozgurrgundem account? Shouldn’t you provide an explanation at the very least? They and their 263,000 followers deserve to know,” she tweeted.

A Turkish court in August 2016 ordered the interim closure of Özgür Gündem for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), spreading “terrorist propaganda” on their behalf and waging a war against the state.

Özgür Gündem, along with 14 other media outlets, was shut down in line with a post-coup government decree on Oct. 29, 2016. Turkey experienced a failed coup attempt in July 2016 following which the government, among other things, closed down dozens of media outlets on the pretext of anti-coup fight.

Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into 37 journalists, academics and activists for acting as “editors-in-chief on duty” for the Özgür Gündem daily in 2016.

It is common for Twitter to suspend the accounts of critical media outlets or journalists at the request of the Turkish government, attracting widespread criticism of the company.

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