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Turkey Will Lift Its Twitter Ban

Less than a week after the Turkish government banned Twitter over failing to remove allegations of government corruption from the social network, a Turkish court on Wednesday suspended the ban, calling it “illegal.”

Users in Turkey are expected to have their access to Twitter restored—as soon as the court’s stay of execution reaches Turkey’s telecommunication authority (TIB).

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan banned Twitter and promised to “eradicate” it from the country after anonymous audio recordings on Twitter alleged corruption inside the Turkish government. 

Twitter, for its part, responded by posting instructions for how to access Twitter via SMS, and joined Turkish journalists and citizens, legal experts, and the international community in asking for the Twitter ban to be lifted. With Wednesday’s ruling, the international and legal pushback the country received in the wake of the Twitter ban may have worked. 

Even when the Twitter ban was in place, it wasn’t able to silence Turkish citizens. Users circumvented the ban by accessing Twitter through virtual private networks (VPNs) and programs like Tor that use cryptography to mask a computer’s location. 

According to Twitter, last week’s ban was based on three court orders that instructed Twitter to remove content from the site, which the company says were not provided prior to the blackout. Twitter said it complied with two of the three requests from the Turkish government. 

The third order, the company said in the blog post, was concerning because it stifled political speech, which is why Twitter petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of users to reverse it. Twitter also used a “Country Withheld Content” tool that blocked Twitter accounts in Turkey while leaving them visible to the rest of the world. 

Image courtesy of Ceyhun Isik on Flickr

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