Sunday 15 December 2019

Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling

Turkey's telecoms authority TIB lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter on Thursday after the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of expression.

Twitter access for Turkish users was blocked on March 21 in the run-up to local elections to prevent a stream of leaked wiretapped recordings of senior officials that had appeared on the site, prompting Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to declare 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.

An official in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office told Reuters the ban had been lifted minutes after TIB removed court orders blocking the site from its webpage.

YouTube remains offline in the country, against which legal challenges 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.

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