Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruled that block breached freedom of expression

Supporters of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) wave Turkish and party flags during an election rally at Kadikoy in Istanbul on March 29, 2014. Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter on Thursday,
Supporters of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) wave Turkish and party flags during an election rally at Kadikoy in Istanbul on March 29, 2014. Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter on Thursday, April 3, 2014, after the constitutional court ruled the block breached freedom of expression, an official in Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's office said. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkey's government lifted a controversial ban on Twitter on Thursday, a day after the country's top court said the ban breached the right to free speech.

Telecoms authority TIB removed court orders enforcing the Twitter ban from its website, and one of its officials confirmed to AFP that "there has been work to lift the ban on Twitter", without giving details.

The Hurriyet daily said TIB now has to inform Internet service providers of its decision, and that full access to the social media site is expected to be restored soon.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had ordered the block on March 20 in the lead-up to key local elections last Sunday, in which his party chalked up sweeping wins despite damaging leaks on Twitter and other social media claiming widespread graft.

On Wednesday, Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled the Twitter ban violated free speech, and ordered the communications ministry and telecoms authority to reverse it

"with immediate effect".

The US-based company reacted quickly to the ruling, tweeting: "We welcome this Constitutional Court ruling and hope to have Twitter access restored in Turkey soon."

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