Twitter challenges Turkey over ban

Twitter is taking Turkey’s ban on its service to the courts.

In a blog post on Wednesday, the social network’s general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, said that the web firm had filed petitions to join lawsuits from journalists, Turkish citizens and others to revoke the “disproportionate and illegal” ban.

The announcement came on the same day that a court in the capital of Ankara reportedly upheld a ruling to end the ban. 

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“With all announced bases for the access ban addressed, there are no legal grounds for the blocking of our service in Turkey,” Gadde wrote.

He added that the company expected access to be restored “immediately” to allow people to “continue an open online dialogue ahead of the elections to be held at the end of this week.” According to reports, the Turkish government has 30 days to comply with the court order, which could leave the site down until after local elections on Sunday. 

Twitter has been shuttered in Turkey for nearly a week, after tweets emerged that seemed to show Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan engaging in corruption, which he has said are false. The action came days ahead of critical March 30 municipal elections, which is seen as a referendum on Erdogan’s time in office.

Twitter said that it never received a copy of the three court orders being used to authorize the ban in Turkey.

One of the orders, which called for it to take down an account charging a former transportation minister with corruption, “causes us concern,” Gadde wrote.

“Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption. That’s why today we have also petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of our users to reverse this order.”

In the meantime, Twitter is temporarily bowing to the government’s request by blocking access to the account “based on the public prosecutor’s request regarding the safety of an individual," Gadde said.