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Turkey ordered to lift Twitter ban as company challenges in courts

Turkey ordered to lift Twitter ban as company challenges in courts

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A Turkish court has ordered its government to lift the statewide block on Twitter that it imposed last week after tweets began spreading linking the prime minister to a corruption scandal, the AFP reports. A Turkish TV channel reportedly said that access to Twitter could be restored later today, though Reuters reports that Turkey may have 30 days to implement or appeal the ban, potentially barring access to Twitter for much longer. The Associated Press reports that the court has only issued a temporary injunction against the ban too, so access may not remain restored, should the ban ever be lifted.

"There are no legal grounds for the blocking of our service."

Twitter has been blocked in Turkey since March 20th, though many found ways around the ban even thereafter. Turkey initially placed the ban as protests rose and a corruption scandal began to embroil the government ahead of an election. Blocking Twitter has only brought it more negative attention though: the block was the subject of further acts of protest and was condemned by the United States and United Nations Human Rights office, among others. Given Turkey's 30 day period to unblock Twitter, it's possible that service won't be restored before Sunday's elections, helping to protect the government from allegations of corruption.

Twitter itself is also taking to Turkey's courts in hopes of having the ban is lifted. It says that it's filed petitions in multiple courts throughout Turkey to challenge the ban. It also argues that there is "no legal grounds for the blocking of our service in Turkey," writing that it has already dealt with the content that Turkey used as justification for its blockage in the first place — some of the content was suspended under Twitter's own rules, while another tweet is now being censored within the country. As the court order that lifts the ban is temporary, Twitter has good reason to continue to press the courts.

Update: this article has been updated to include information on Twitter's own challenges of the ban and to reflect the reported 30-day timeline that Turkey has to respond to the court order.