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Turkey: Media did not act responsibly, says pres. spokesman

Court blocks access to social media sites which defied court order to remove photos of slain prosecutor held hostage last week.

Turkey: Media did not act responsibly, says pres. spokesman


The media did not behave responsibly when asked to remove of footage showing the slain prosecutor held hostage in Istanbul last week, Turkey's presidential spokesman said Monday.                              

Access in Turkey to social media sites, Twitter and YouTube has been blocked by court order as of  Friday.  

The Istanbul First Criminal Courts of Peace ruled to block access to social media sites that continued to publish content and footage about the public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz’s death.

"If our media had assumed its responsibilities and the photo had not been shared several times, this issue would not be on our agenda now," said Ibrahim Kalin during a press conference. 

Mehmet Selim Kiraz, 46, was taken hostage by an outlawed Marxist-Leninist group on March 31 midday at Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse -- Turkey’s biggest -- and was shot by his captors after hours of negotiations between Turkish police forces and the two hostage-takers. He died of his wounds at the hospital.

He had been overseeing the case of Berkin Elvan, 15, who was critically injured during 2013’s anti-government Gezi Park protests and who died after almost nine months in a coma.

"It is not acceptable for some media  -- which have the obligation to act with journalistic responsibility -- to publish these photos as if they are providing propaganda for a terrorist organization, and to continue their actions despite all the warnings and objections," said Kalin. "It is a necessity born of necessity."

He said, "There is no such press freedom anywhere in the world. These photos were not used by media abroad because there is a case before the courts, and because there is a humanitarian issue." 

"For a moment, put yourself in the place of the family and children of the prosecutor. What will you get from sharing that photo?" asked Kalin and added: 

He also said it is "inevitable" to take security precautions at Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse, where he said there was a security weakness. 


 Iran's nuclear program

The spokesman welcomed the framework accord on Iran's controversial nuclear program and said: "The proliferation and diversification of nuclear weapons is a threat to regional and world peace. Every step on the way to prevent this is positive progress for us."

On Thursday evening, Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- the U.S., China, France, Russia, the U.K. and Germany -- unveiled a preliminary framework for talks aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program.

They have set themselves a June 30 deadline for reaching a deal.  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make an official visit to Iran on Tuesday. Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani are expected to discuss bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues in their meeting.


 Saudi-led 'Operation Decisive Storm' in Yemen

Regarding the Saudi-backed operation to halt Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, Kalin said: "Our priority in Yemen is the resolution of the crisis by gathering all the parties around the negotiation table as soon as possible."

Kalin added Turkey intensively continues with its attempts to solve the crisis via political dialogue and negotiations.

Yemen has been in turmoil since September, when the Houthi militia overran the Yemeni capital of Sana'a, and they reportedly plan to extend their influence to other parts of the country.

Several Arab states have joined the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen, which began on March 25 with a string of airstrikes on Houthi militia positions.

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