As we noted last week, on Thursday 20 March 2014 the Turkish Telecommunications Authority issued orders blocking access to Twitter. Those orders have now been overturned by the Administrative Court in Ankara.
The Court Order was made as result of an application by the Turkish Bar Association and the journalist’s union which argued that the blocking of Twitter contravened the Turkish Constitution and European Convention on Human Rights. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the Deputy Prime Minister has said that
“We will implement the court’s decision. We might not like the court decision, but we will carry it out”
However, the newspaper goes on to note that the Telecommunications Authority has up to 30 days to implement the ruling. It appears that Twitter remains blocked in Turkey despite the Court’s ruling.
In a separate application, the Constitutional Court has considered an application by two academics, Yaman Akdeniz of Bilgi University in Istanbul and Kerem Altiparmak of Ankara University, who contend that the ban infringers the constitutional right to information.
In statement yesterday Twitter said that it has filed its own claim to challenge the ban. It said
“The purported legal basis for the ban is three court orders (none of which were provided to us prior to the ban) and a public prosecutor’s request.
Two of the three court orders relate to content that violated our own Rules and is already suspended. The last order instructed us to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. This order causes us concern. Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption. That’s why today we have also petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of our users to reverse this order”.
However, it went on to say that it was using its “Country Withheld Content” tool on the account in question and posting information about the withheld accounts on Chilling Effects. Finally, Twitter noted the “positive developments today concerning judicial review of this disproportionate and illegal administrative act of access banning the whole of Twitter” and said that it expected the government to restore access to Twitter immediately so that its citizens can continue an open online dialogue ahead of the elections to be held at the end of this week.