Turkish court rules that Twitter ban should be lifted

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan last week announced a ban on Twitter, which has been used to distribute damaging leaks. The Turkish bar association appealed the 'arbitrary' decision.

Umit Bektas/Reuters
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the crowd during an election rally in Ankara March 22, 2014. Twitter was blocked Friday after Erdogan vowed on the campaign trail to get rid of the social media service.

A Turkish court upheld an appeal on Wednesday to end a blockage of Twitter which has provoked public outrage, local media said, though it was not immediately clear whether that meant the bar would be removed.

Turkey's telecoms authority (TIB) blocked access to Twitter on Friday as Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan battles a corruption scandal which has seen a stream of anonymous postings purportedly revealing government wrongdoing appear on the social media platform in recent weeks.

The blockage triggered local and international criticism days ahead of critical elections.

Turkey's bar association described the move as an "arbitrary decision" that was against the law and launched an appeal at the Ankara administrative court. Its earlier attempt to challenge the blockage failed when a court in Istanbul said there was no legal ruling for it to overturn.

Friday's blockage came hours after Erdogan vowed on the campaign trail to get rid of Twitter. He said late on Tuesday that the network "was threatening national security" and that it had refused to cooperate with the Turkish authorities.

Erdogan has cast the audio postings as part of a plot contrived by his political enemies to unseat him ahead of the nationwide local elections on Sunday, which are widely being seen as a referendum on his 11-year rule.

Reuters has not been able to verify the authenticity of the recordings.

Telecoms regulators have said their blockage was based on four court orders and was imposed after complaints from citizens that Twitter was violating privacy.

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