Turkey lifts ban on Twitter after court verdict


The Turkish government has lifted a ban on Twitter a day after the highest court in the country ordered Ankara to unblock the social media website.

“In line with the decision made by the Constitutional Court … the measure blocking access to the Twitter.com Internet site has been removed,” Turkish Transport and Communications Ministry said on Thursday, adding, “After the necessary technical arrangements, the site will be opened to use.”

On April 1, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that the government’s ban on Twitter “violated Article 26 of the Constitution safeguarding freedom of expression,” and thus must be lifted.

Ankara blocked access to Twitter on March 20, after it was used to spread corruption allegations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his inner circle.

Last month, an administrative court in Ankara also found the ban on Twitter against freedom of expression, but the government appealed that verdict and the ban remained in place.

Ankara’s decision to lift the ban on Twitter comes as the access to YouTube remains blocked in Turkey over a week after the publication of an audio recording on the video sharing website, revealing a discussion among top Turkish security officials about a possible false flag operation to justify a military offensive in neighboring Syria.

The Turkish government condemned the leak on YouTube as an act of espionage and said it had created “a national security issue.” However, legal actions against the YouTube block are pending in court.

Erdogan had ordered the Internet curbs in the run-up to key local elections last Sunday, in which his ruling Justice and Development party (AK) won a majority of the local government seats despite recent graft allegations and a harsh police crackdown on anti-government protesters last June.