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Turkey Blocks Russian News Site

  • VOA News

FILE - People use computers at an internet cafe in Ankara, April 6, 2015. The website of Russia's news agency Sputnik has been blocked in Turkey, in another indication of strained relations between the two countries.

FILE - People use computers at an internet cafe in Ankara, April 6, 2015. The website of Russia's news agency Sputnik has been blocked in Turkey, in another indication of strained relations between the two countries.

The website of Russia's news agency Sputnik has been blocked in Turkey, in another indication of strained relations between the two countries.

The site's Turkish editor-in-chief told the Reuters news agency Friday that "there is no access to Sputniknews.com and sub-domains from Turkey. We've sent a letter to the regulatory agency asking for the reasons."

Turkish officials have not been available for comment, but the Internet regulator's website said an "administrative measure" had been taken against Sputniknews.com.

The website was blocked shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday criticized Turkish leaders in a televised national call-in show, stating, "We have problems with some political leaders (in Turkey) whose behavior, actions we consider inappropriate."

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he answers a question during his annual call-in show in Moscow, April 14, 2016.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he answers a question during his annual call-in show in Moscow, April 14, 2016.


Freedom of the press

Blocking websites and similar measures are not uncommon in Turkey. In the past year alone, Turkey has shuttered and confiscated newspapers and occasionally blocked access to social media sites including Twitter and Facebook.

FILE - People rally in support of press freedom in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 9, 2015.

FILE - People rally in support of press freedom in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 9, 2015.



The action against Sputnik has drawn the ire of its top editor in Moscow, Margarita Simonyan, who described the latest move as "a further act of harsh censorship" in Turkey.

Relations between the two Cold War rivals have been particularly strained since November, when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane that Turkey said had violated its airspace near its border with Syria.

FILE - This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows smoke from a Russian warplane after crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015.

FILE - This frame grab from video by Haberturk TV, shows smoke from a Russian warplane after crashing on a hill as seen from Hatay province, Turkey, Nov. 24, 2015.



In that incident, Russia also denied its aircraft had entered Turkish airspace. After the plane was shot down, Putin authorized sanctions against Turkey and since then, trade between the two countries has plummeted.

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