Turkish court orders government to lift Twitter ban

BY Ruth Tam  March 26, 2014 at 12:31 PM EDT
People hold placards as they protest against Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after the government blocked access to Twitter in Ankara, on March 21, 2014. Photo by Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images)

People hold placards as they protest against Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after the government blocked access to Twitter in Ankara, on March 21, 2014. Photo by Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

A Turkish court ordered the government to end its six day ban on Twitter Wednesday by issuing a temporary injunction against the policy. According to AFP, the government has acknowledged the ruling and local media report that access to Twitter for the populace is expected to be restored late Wednesday.

The statewide block against the social media site began March 20, days before a national election, when tweets linked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to corruption. Turkish anti-government factions have long turned to social media sites to criticize Erdoğan and the ruling party. Though Erdoğan has tried blocking sites in the past, the first statewide ban on Twitter spurred further protests and received international criticism.

Of Turkey’s 10 million Twitter users, many bypassed the tweeting ban through text message or by accessing virtual private networks. Several prominent Turkish cabinet members defied the ban as well, including President Abdullah Gul who expressed hope that the ban would not last forever.

Because the court’s action is a temporary injunction, it is unclear if another ban could be implemented.