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Erdogan slams Twitter ruling

April 4, 2014

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit out at a court ruling overturning his government's ban on Twitter. Meanwhile, a separate court has issued a similar verdict against a block of YouTube.

Erdogan auf Wahlkampftour
Image: Reuters

Erdogan said Friday that while he did not respect the Constitutional Court's ruling to overturn his March 20 ban on Twitter, he would accept it.

"We are of course bound by the Constitutional Court verdict, but I don't have to respect it," he told reporters before departing on a trip to Azerbaijan. "I don't respect this ruling."

On Wednesday, the court said the Twitter ban violated freedom of expression and individual rights. A day later, Turkey's TIB telecommunications authority removed the block.

Erdogan said "the Constitutional Court should have rejected" the application to lift the ban on the website, which was brought by an opposition lawmaker and two academics.

Court rules against YouTube ban

The government sought the ban last month after Erdogan spoke critically of the micro-blogging website at an election campaign rally. Twitter had become a popular vehicle for sharing a stream of leaked wiretapped recordings of senior officials. One of the recordings appeared to implicate Erdogan and his son in a corruption scandal, but Erdogan said the recordings were fabricated.

"All our national, moral values have been put aside," he said about the string of anonymous recordings leaked on social media. "Insults to a country's prime minister and ministers are all around."

A week after blocking Twitter, the government also blocked video-sharing website YouTube. Both restrictions came ahead of key local elections on March 31, in which Erdogan's AKP (Justice and Development Party) strengthened its grip on power.

But later on Friday, a court in Ankara ruled that the blanket ban on YouTube violated human rights and ordered the restrictions be lifted. In its decision, the court cited the similar Twitter ban ruling from Wednesday.

dr/tj (AFP, Reuters)

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