By Heini Järvinen

On 2 April 2014 Turkey’s constitutional court ruled that the ban on Twitter breached laws on the freedom of expression.

The decision follows Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s pledge to “wipe out Twitter” after users leaked information detailing alleged corrupt and illegal activities of several officials. The ban was enacted on 20 March and was in place during local elections on 30 March. Despite this, users experienced little difficulty in circumventing the ban and traffic to the site increased while it was in place.

The ban was since widened by the blocking of YouTube, after material containing what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing possible military operations in Syria was published on the platform.

The court’s decision of to suspend the ban on Twitter on 2 April was welcomed by Turkish president Abdullah Gül and the telecoms industry. Prime Minister Erdogan has publicly expressed his discomfort at the ruling, and stated that it “has to be implemented but not respected”.

The court also ordered  the ban on YouTube to be lifted on 4 April. It is too early to say if the decision will be implemented soon, or if the Turkish government will try to prolong the ban by appealing the verdict. Currently YouTube seems to remain blocked as a “protection measure”.

Youtube: End of the ban ordered (04.04.2014, only in French)
http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/2014/04/04/97002-20140404FILWWW00071-ankarayoutube-fin-de-l-interdiction-ordonnee.php

Blocking of YouTube ordered to be finished by the Turkish justice (04.04.2014, only in French)
http://www.numerama.com/magazine/28980-le-deblocage-de-youtube-ordonne-par-la-justice-turque.html

Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling (03.04.2014)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/03/turkey-lifts-twitter-ban-court-ruling

Officials in Turkey ‘lift Twitter ban’ (03.04.2014)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26873603

‘We have to implement it, but we don’t have to respect it,’ Turkish PM says on Twitter ruling (03.04.2014)
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/we-have-to-implement-it-but-we-dont-have-to-respect-it-turkish-pm-says-on– twitter-ruling-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64540&NewsCatID=338

Turkey moves to block YouTube access after ‘audio leak’ (27.03.2014)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26773702

(Contribution by Andrew Walsh – EDRi intern)