Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling

ISTANBUL Thu Apr 3, 2014 10:11pm IST

A board shows the alternative ways to access Twitter, is placed at an election campaign office of the main opposition Republican's People's Party (CHP) in Istanbul March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

A board shows the alternative ways to access Twitter, is placed at an election campaign office of the main opposition Republican's People's Party (CHP) in Istanbul March 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Murad Sezer

Related Topics

Stocks

   

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter (TWTR.N) on Thursday after the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of expression, an official in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office said.

Access to Twitter was blocked on March 21 in the run-up to local elections last Sunday to stem a stream of leaked wiretapped recordings of senior officials that had appeared on the site, prompting Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to say he would "root out" the network.

Turkey's Official Gazette on Thursday morning published the Constitutional Court's ruling from Wednesday, further piling pressure on the telecoms authorities to lift the ban, which had faced widespread international condemnation.

"The ban has been lifted" the official from Erdogan's office told Reuters by telephone minutes after TIB removed court orders blocking the site from its webpage.

Google's (GOOG.O) video-sharing website YouTube remains offline in Turkey, the TIB having blocked it one week after blocking Twitter. Legal challenges against the YouTube ban are pending.

Following the court's decision, President Abdullah Gul, who has opposed the bans, was quoted as saying both websites should be made available in Turkey once more. San Francisco-based Twitter said in a tweet that it welcomed the ruling.

Within minutes of the ban being lifted, the micro-blogging site was flooded with messages, with one user saying "Welcome back to Twitter, Turkey."

Other users inside the country complained that they were still unable to access the site.

WORK-AROUNDS

The lifing of the ban means that the TIB will instruct Turkey's internet providers to unblock access to the site, a process likely to take several hours.

Erdogan's critics saw the ban as the latest in a series of authoritarian measures to crush a corruption scandal that had grown into one of the biggest challenges of his 11-year rule.

Tech-savvy Turks quickly found workarounds, with Internet analysts reporting a surge in tweets since the ban was imposed, but the issue has become a tug-of-war between Erdogan's administration and the microblogging site.

The U.S. State Department had responded to the court ruling by urging Ankara to respect the decision and end the blockage.

Erdogan has repeatedly dismissed the leaked tapes - which point to wrongdoing by officials and members of his inner circle - as fabrication, and part of a political plot against him.

His Islamist-rooted AK Party emerged far ahead of rival parties in municipal elections on Sunday that had become a referendum on his rule.

(Writing by Daren Butler and Ayla Jean Yackley,; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Angus MacSwan)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

E-COMMERCE

Reuters Showcase

Qualcomm Probe

Qualcomm Probe

Chipmaker Qualcomm may face EU antitrust probe - sources.  Full Article 

Google Acquisition

Google Acquisition

Google buys video-processing service provider Zync Render.  Full Article 

Tech Investment

Tech Investment

Kleiner to invest in messaging startup Snapchat at near-$10 bln valuation - report.  Full Article 

Bigger iPad

Bigger iPad

Apple planning 12.9-inch iPad for 2015 - Bloomberg.  Full Article 

Antitrust Probe

Antitrust Probe

Chinese antitrust regulator targets Microsoft's web browser, media player.  Full Article 

IBM in China

IBM in China

ICBC deal shows U.S. tech giant IBM still engaged in China.  Full Article 

Hanks' Typewriter App

Hanks' Typewriter App

Tom Hanks' new app an homage to manual typewriters  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage