Turkish authorities have lifted a two-week ban on Twitter after the constitutional court ruled that the block breached citizens’ right to freedom of expression.
Twitter had expected the ban to be lifted a week earlier after an administrative court in Ankara ruled against the block, but telecoms authorities were slow to respond.
This time around, the ban had been lifted minutes after Turkey’s telecoms authority removed court orders blocking the site from its webpage, an official in the prime minister’s office told Reuters
The ban was imposed in the run-up to local elections on 30 March after a Twitter user posted damaging allegations of corruption implicating those close to prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who vowed to “wipe out Twitter”.
However, a similar ban on YouTube, imposed after an audio recording was uploaded anonymously of what sounds like Turkish officials discussing Syria, remains in force with legal challenges pending.
Commentators said the overturn of the Twitter ban is significant because the constitutional court ruling has overruled the government and asserted its own interpretation of the right to freedom of speech.
In practice, the ban and attempts by the Turkish telecoms authority to block access to Twitter were ineffective, with tech-savvy Twitter users finding several ways to carry on using the microblogging service.
Despite the ban, Twitter usage increased and the elections appear to have been largely unaffected, with Erdoğan’s ruling AK Party claiming a “resounding” victory, reports the BBC.
Erdogan has lashed out at social media, accusing “plotters” of leaking recordings to deliberately undermine him.
Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were used heavily by protesters during anti-government demonstrations last year.
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