Twitter files for lawsuits in Turkish courts to get ongoing ban of its service lifted

Twitter files for lawsuits in Turkish courts to get ongoing ban of its service lifted

Twitter is fighting to have the ban on its social network lifted in Turkey. Today, the company filed petitions for lawsuits in multiple Turkish courts, demanding that the current ban be lifted.

“We’ve been engaged in discussion with Turkish authorities to hear their concerns, inform them about how our platform and policies work, and try and bring this situation to a resolution,” Vijaya Gadde, General Counsel for Twitter said. “But still, the millions of people in Turkey who turn to Twitter to make their voices heard are being kept from doing just that.”

Twitter said the Turkish government is leaning on three court orders to justify the ban of its service, in addition to a request from a public prosecutor. It argues that the basis of these orders have now been addressed and demands the current restrictions be lifted as soon as possible.

“We expect the government to restore access to Twitter immediately so that its citizens can continue an open online dialogue ahead of the elections to be held at the end of this week,” Gadde added.

One of the court orders could pose problems, however. Twitter says it relates to a user that accused a former minister of corruption. The company said political speech “is among the most important speech” and is therefore petitioning the courts to have this overturned.

The tweets haven’t been removed though – at least not completely. Twitter has reactively pulled access to them in Turkey using its ‘Country Withheld Content‘ tool and notified the affected users. It remains to be seen whether this is enough to convince the relevant authorities that the damage has been mitigated.

The pressure is certainly mounting. Earlier today, the AFP reported that a Turkish court had ordered the government to unblock Twitter, although it’s understood that such a decree, if approved, could be temporary.

Twitter was first blocked in Turkey exactly six days ago. Users were able to circumvent the restrictions using VPN software and Google DNS, although the country has since cut off access to the latter.

Image via Shutterstock

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