Turkish Court Overturns Government’s Ban on Twitter
(WASHINGTON) — Turkey’s ban on Twitter lasted all of six days. Earlier Wednesday, a Turkish court overturned the government’s decision to ban the social media network. According to the television station NTV, Twitter is expected to be restored later in the day.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of the Justice and Development Party, called for the ban on March 20, claiming that users of the social network were leaking out wiretapped conversations of government officials. One of those recordings includes the prime minister instructing his son to get rid of a large amount of cash before a police inspection. Erdogan has said that this recording is fake.
Vijaya Gadde, general counsel for Twitter, wrote on the company’s blog explaining the government’s court orders that justify the ban. According to Gadde, one of the court orders called for the suspension of a Twitter account that accused Erdogan of government corruption.
“This order causes us concern,” she wrote. “Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption. That’s why today we have also petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of our users to reverse this order.”
Turkey’s ban on Twitter may have backfired on the government, however.
The organization Reporters Without Borders posted a how-to guide to get around the ban, including providing Turkish citizens with their own virtual private network. A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department observed that there were more tweets coming from Turkey following the ban than there were before.
The overturning of the Twitter ban comes days before elections in Turkey. Emrehan Halici, deputy head of the rival Republican People’s Party, spoke with the AFP news agency following the ban.
“It was impossible for a totalitarian regime to silence the technology,” he said.
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