Turkey ends Twitter ban

The government of Turkey has ended its two-week-long ban on Twitter.

According to multiple reports, the government telecommunications regulator made moves to end its blackout of the social media site on Thursday, following a ruling from the country’s highest court. The process to fully end the countrywide restrictions is likely to take hours. 

The fate of YouTube, which has been blocked under similar circumstances but has yet to come before a court, remains in question. Legal challenges for that ban are still pending.

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Twitter was blocked two weeks ago ahead of critical municipal elections on Sunday, which were seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The prime minister pledged to “wipe out” the site for linking to recordings that seemed to show top officials engaged in corruption, which Erdogan has claimed are false.

In a tweet, Twitter’s global policy team said the company was “encouraged by the news from Turkey today and welcome our Turkish users back to Twitter.”

The ban had been broadly denounced in Washington, where multiple pieces of legislation in Congress were introduced to formally condemn the move.

The White House also implored the Turkish government to bring the site back online, and the U.S. ambassador in the country had relayed the message as well.

Despite the official blackout, many Turks were able to use a variety of tools to work around the ban and access the site. 

Erdogan’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party, overwhelmingly prevailed in Sunday’s elections.