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RIGHTS > Twitter takes action and hires lawyer against Turkish ban

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A man tries to connect to Twitter's web page on his smart phone on March 21, 2014 in Istanbul. AFP photo

A man tries to connect to Twitter's web page on his smart phone on March 21, 2014 in Istanbul. AFP photo

Twitter has taken action against the Turkish government’s blocking of access to it and hired a lawyer expert in litigations related to cyberlaw.

Lawyer Gönenç Gürkaynak has confirmed that he was meeting with officials from Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority (TİB) in Ankara on behalf of Tweeter, adding that discussions for finding a legal solution were ongoing. In the past, Gürkaynak had worked on the legal case against the ban on YouTube.

But a government minister stressed that Twitter get a permanent legal representative and enhance its cooperation with the Turkish authorities.

Industry Minister Fikri Işık said that the microblogging website should agree to block individual accounts if it is to resolve a row that has led the government to block access to the service.

Meanwhile, The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) filed a petition March 21 to an Istanbul court for the 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 TTB and millions of citizens cannot access Twitter for reasons we still do not know,” the 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 TTB 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,” Feyzioğlu said in the statement.

Complaint by former minister

One of the court decisions on which the Twitter ban was based reportedly followed a complaint filed by former Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım and Erkam Yıldırım on March 18, daily Hürriyet corresponded Dinçer Gökçe has reported.

A decision by the 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled for the closure of the Twitter account, http://twitter.com/oyyokhırsıza, following the complaint.

They also asked for a block on another website, http://hirsizaoyyok.wordpress.com.

March/21/2014

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