Turkish court backs Twitter but site still blocked

Mar 29, 2014 by Suzan Fraser
In this March 17, 2014 file photo, a huge poster of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seen in the city center in Istanbu, Turkey. Erdogan has been ensnared in a corruption scandal that has toppled four Cabinet ministers. He has provoked outrage at home and abroad with an attempt to block Twitter and YouTube. His incessant us-against-them rhetoric and conspiracy theories have alienated allies. Meanwhile, the Turkish Lira has fallen, interest rates are up and the Turkish economy has fallen off a cliff. It all might be enough to oust any leader. But as Turks prepare to vote in local elections Sunday, it's all about Erdogan.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel, File)

In a second ruling against Turkey's ban on Twitter, a Turkish court has overturned an order for the social media network to remove an account that accuses a former minister of corruption, reports said Saturday.

Turkey last week suspended access to Twitter, which has been a conduit for links to recordings suggesting corruption by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, which faces local elections on Sunday.

The government then blocked access to YouTube following the leak of an audio recording of a top security meeting where officials allegedly discussed a military intervention in neighboring Syria.

Twitter, which is challenging the in Turkish courts, announced late Friday that a court in Istanbul had ruled in its favor over the account that accuses former Transport Minister Binali Yildirim of corruption. It called the decision a "win for freedom of expression."

Yildirim's lawyer confirmed the ruling on Saturday, adding that it would be appealed.

Last week, another court ordered that access to Twitter be restored, but Turkish authorities said they have 30 days to implement the order and could appeal.

Many tech-savvy users, including President Abdullah Gul, have found ways of circumventing the ban on both Twitter and YouTube.

Gul last week flouted the ban by using his Twitter account to post a series of tweets critical of the blockage. On Friday, his office posted a video on YouTube, in which he is heard speaking against the leak of the secret security meeting and calling for those responsible to be caught and punished.

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