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RIGHTS > Turkish judiciary did not block Twitter, court rules

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Turkey had banned Twitter after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to wipe out the website March 21. REUTERS photo

Turkey had banned Twitter after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to wipe out the website March 21. REUTERS photo

A Turkish court ruled March 21 that it could not “repeal the ban on Twitter” as the Turkish government’s blocking of access to the social media platform did not originate from a court ruling.

The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) has filed a petition to the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court for a lifting of the ban.

In a written statement, TBB head Metin Feyzioğlu said the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office had lost all its authority with the recent legal changes removing specially authorized prosecutors, and therefore could not rule to implement such a ban.

“With the ban, the TBB and millions of citizens cannot access Twitter for reasons that we still do not know,” Feyzioğlu’s statement read.

“A total ban on Twitter access is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Turkish Constitution and Law 5651 that includes Internet regulations. The TBB has applied to the courts for the immediate lifting of the ban. In addition, criminal complaints have been filed for those responsible for the ban ruling and the officials who applied the ban,” the statement added.

However, the court rejected the TBB’s file, pointing out that Twitter was blocked in Turkey as a result of “an executive decision, not a judicial verdict.”

Feyzioğlu has now vowed to apply to Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB), which is enforcing the block on Twitter.

March/21/2014

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