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Turkey accuses Twitter of tax evasion, demands local office

Published time: April 14, 2014 17:54
Reuters / Dado Ruvic

Reuters / Dado Ruvic

Turkish officials have called for Twitter to open an office and pay tax in the country. This came in face-to-face talks after Turkey banned the micro-blogging site in the country for two weeks following a corruption scandal.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters on Monday that Twitter's head of global public policy, Colin Crowell, had two rounds of talks in Ankara in the hope of ensuring stronger channels of communication. Crowell told the agency that the first meeting was “positive.”

“The aim is for the company to pay tax and to resolve the problem of meeting Turkey's just demands by opening a representative office here,” he said.

On Saturday, the Turkish PM threatened to ‘go after’ Twitter on tax evasion grounds.

“Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are international companies established for profit,” Erdogan said in televised remarks. “Twitter is at the same time a tax evader. We will go after it,” he stated.

The Turkish government puts Twitters annual advertising revenue in Turkey at around $35 million a year, none of which is taxed.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government ordered a Twitter ban in March, sparking international outrage. International human rights groups condemned the move as a setback for democracy.

Sound recordings apparently documenting evidence of corruption in Erdogan’s inner circle had been leaked to both Twitter and Youtube, which prompted the bans.

Last week the Turkish government also confirmed that it would be keeping to its YouTube bans despite constitutional court orders for it to be lifted on the grounds that it breached freedom of expression.

Erdogan has accused the court of showing an ‘increasing appetite for interference in political spheres.’

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