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Twitter ban in Turkey lifted by court, could be temporary reprieve

updated 09:49 am EDT, Wed March 26, 2014

Access to Twitter set to be restored in Turkey later today

Twitter will be available to use once again in Turkey, after a court in the country reversed a decision on the block. The Ankara administrative court has ordered the country's telecommunications regulator (TIB) to lift the ban on the micro-blogging service, one which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to "wipe out" to prevent discussion of alleged government corruption.

The social network was initially blocked on March 20th, after Erdogan threatened to ban Twitter for ignoring court orders to remove "illegal" links. It had been used to spread audio recordings that claimed to show Erdogan and other officials to dictate media coverage, influence business deals, sway court cases, and to hide money. At the time, Erdogan claimed the recordings were "vile" and fake, created by the opposition to affect the vote in local elections.

Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Shortly after the ban was put in place, users found ways to skirt around the country's blockade, via text messages and using different DNS services. Following the spread of Google's DNS addresses, including its appearance in graffiti, the government added a second block on the two IP addresses, though this only forced enterprising users to find alternatives.

According to the AFP, access to Twitter is expected to be restored later today, and follows international condemnation from various sources. The Obama administration revealed it was "deeply concerned" by the ban, claiming it "undermines (the Turkish people's) ability to exercise freedoms of expression and association." Emrehan Halici, deputy head of the opposing Republican People's Party, claimed "It was impossible for a totalitarian regime to silence the technology," adding "it has done nothing other than humiliate our country. More people than before have taken to Twitter after the ban."

While the lifting of the ban is welcomed by Twitter users in Turkey, it could be short lived. The Hurriyet Daily News writes that it is only a temporary lift, as the TIB can still object to the ruling, but will be required to open up the lines of communication before a second decision will be made.

by MacNN Staff



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