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Turkey says Twitter to be sensitive on court orders, to set up live support: official

By Orhan Coskun

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Twitter will be more sensitive in responding to Turkish court orders calling for content to be removed from the site, and will open a live customer support service in Turkish to address complaints, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

Twitter and the Turkish government held talks in Dublin on Tuesday and Wednesday to iron out their differences, following a dispute in March that saw the authorities in Ankara block the site for two weeks, drawing a storm of international criticism.

"Twitter will set up a live customer support service soon. This is a very positive step for us, because it will evaluate complaints very quickly in cases like breaching privacy rights," a Turkish official told Reuters.

"In some cases even a court order will not be required," said the same official, adding that significant progress had been made during the Dublin negotiations. No one from Twitter was immediately available to comment.

The Turkish government blocked both Twitter and YouTube in the approach to local elections after audiotapes purportedly uncovering corruption in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's inner circle were leaked onto the social media sites.

The Twitter block was lifted at the beginning of April after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan strongly criticised. YouTube remains partially inaccessible to Turkish users.

Colin Crowell, Twitter's head of global policy, met officials from Erdogan's office last month and the San Francisco based firm has already blocked some accounts after Ankara said they breached national security or privacy regulations.

According to the Turkish official, no agreement has been reached regarding the government's request for Twitter to open an office in the country.

Erdogan has consistently dismissed the leaked recordings as a fabrication, and part of a plot to unseat him.

(Writing by Seda Sezer, Editing by Jonny Hogg and Mark Heinrich)

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