ISTANBUL, April 3 (Reuters) – Turkey’s telecoms authority
lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter on Thursday after
the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of
expression, an official in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s
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 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
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.
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.
Source Article from http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/03/turkey-twitter-idUSL5N0MV4NM20140403