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Twitter expects Turkey to lift ban after court ruling

Warwick Ashford

Twitter expects the ban on its service to be lifted in Turkey after a local court issued a stay of execution on last week’s banning order issued by the country’s telecommunications authority.

Turkish authorities have a long history of monitoring and filtering web content, even intermittently blocking access to online services.

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The official reason for the latest ban was that Twitter had failed to remove some content after complaints by citizens that the social media platform was breaching privacy.

However, the ban immediately followed threats by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to "wipe out Twitter" following damaging allegations of corruption in his inner circle, which he denies.

Earlier this week, Turkey increased its efforts to block access to Twitter after many users, including the country’s president, found ways around a government-imposed ban.

But now local media reports say the ban will be lifted as soon as the administrative court in Ankara informs Turkey's Telecommunications Authority of the ruling, according to the Guardian.

Deputy prime minister Bülent Arinç said the Turkish government would implement the court ruling. "We might not like the court decision, but we will carry it out," he told reporters.

The ban in the run up to local elections has been met with national and international outrage, with EU officials, human rights organisations, the US government and the UN expressing concern.

Several complaints were filed against the ban, and Turkish legal associations criticised the block as unlawful and unconstitutional.

Twitter confirmed that it had for the first time in Turkey used a tool to block access to an account accusing a former minister of corruption while it contested a court order to take it down.

But Twitter emphasised it had not disclosed any user data to Turkish authorities and called for ban to be lifted immediately, saying there were no legal grounds for blocking the service.

“Furthermore, with positive developments today concerning judicial review of this disproportionate and illegal administrative act of access banning the whole of Twitter, we expect the government to restore access to Twitter immediately so its citizens can continue an open online dialogue ahead of the elections to be held at the end of this week,” the company said in a statement.


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