ISTANBUL – The head of Turkey’s Constitutional Court stepped down on Tuesday, expressing concern about the future of the independence of the judiciary.
Hasan Kilic in 2014 was involved in a dispute with President Recep Erdogan, who was then PM after the court reversed a government decision to ban social media site Twitter.
Erdogan was highly critical of the court’s decision and Kilic struck back, saying the
judiciary could not function under orders from the political level.
Kilic, 64, denied he was planning a political career with parliamentary elections slated for June.
However he would be replaced by Zuhtu Arslan, a fellow justice in the top court.
Reports say Turkey topped the list of countries asking the social networking service to remove content from its website, making 477 requests in the period between July and December 2014.
According to Twitter’s Transparency Report, 328 requests came from courts and 149 directly from government agencies.
In 50 per cent of the cases some content was eventually withheld.
Notably, an account belonging to Fuat Avni, a pseudonym of a self-described government whistleblower who has hundreds of thousands of followers, was blocked in January.
Twitter said it filed legal objections with local courts in response to over 70 per cent of the takedown orders received but only succeeded in about 5 per cent of these cases.
Requests for user information from Turkey increased by over 150 per cent compared with the previous six months.
“We did not provide information in response to any of those requests,’’ Twitter said.
Overall, Twitter’s data showed a 40 per cent increase in governments making user information requests.
Demands for content removal rose by 84 per cent since the first half of 2014.
Russia, with 91 content removal requests, came second on the list, followed by Germany, at 43.
The U.S. also saw an increase in information and content requests.
In 2014 the Turkish government banned both Twitter and YouTube until courts ruled against the move.
Social media has been used to spread allegations of corruption against senior government officials and businessmen associated with politicians.
However, thousands of websites were already banned in Turkey. (dpa/NAN)