Will Turkey’s government follow high-court ruling to lift social media bans?

Two months ago, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan issued a ban on the YouTube website.

Will Turkey’s government follow high-court ruling to lift social media bans?

Two months ago, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan issued a ban on the YouTube website. It was just ruled by the Turkey Constitutional Court that the ban was a violation of freedom of expression, and the court ordered that access to the website be restored. This ruling must now go to the Ministry of Communication and Telecommunications Authority before the block can be lifted. To date, there has been no communication from the Authority.

Previously, the Turkey Communications Technologies Institution shunned a ruling made by a lower court on April 9 demanding that the YouTube ban be declared null and void. The Institution stated at that time that as long as what they deemed was criminal content stayed on YouTube, the website would continue to be banned.

The Prime Minister called for the website block on March 27, when recorded wire tappings were published on YouTube of himself, his family, and others eluding to corruption dealings. Among these recordings was a plan by Turkey’s intelligence agency to stage a fake flag attack on a Turkish monument in Syria, with the voice of the Foreign Minister of Turkey stating in the recording that Prime Minister Erdogan sees any attack as an opportunity to increase Turkey’s presence in Syria.

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Another recording between Turkey’s Prime Minister and members of his family reveals a conversation about millions of dollars in cash holed away in the PM’s home. The Prime Minister claims the recordings, which started to appear on the famous website at the end of 2013, are fraudulent. Subsequent to this in early 2014, the Turkish government passed a law to tighten control over the Internet, which enabled government authorities to block access to web pages without a court order.

A week prior to ordering the ban of YouTube, the Prime Minister ordered a block to the Twitter website. These bans have caused mass protests across the country.

Prime Minister Erdogan challenged the highest court’s decision saying the secret recordings were a violation of his family’s rights and said his right to freedom of communication had been violated. The PM is seeking compensation in the amount of US$23,500.

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