Twitter mounts legal challenge to ban in Turkey

WASHINGTON D.C. - Twitter has announced it has formally challenged its ban in Turkey as a Turkish court issued a temporary injunction to lift the block.

The micro blogging site announced on Wednesday via a blog post that it had filed lawsuits in Turkish courts to challenge the ban, and said none of the three court orders which had been used to block the site had been shown to the company before the ban was enacted. 

According to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel, two of the three court orders related to content that violated Twitter’s rules, and were taken down.

However, a third order had provoked concern within the company.

"The last order instructed us to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. This order causes us concern. 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," wrote Gadde.

As Twitter contests the third order, it will withhold content from the account in question in Turkey, which marks the first time that it has used its "Country Withheld Content" tool in the country, according to Gadde. The content will still be visible outside of Turkey.

Gadde added that Twitter has been engaged with Turkish authorities during the ban.

Access to Twitter was restricted last Thursday.

The 15th Administrative Court in Ankara issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday ordering Turkey’s Internet body to lift the block.

Gadde welcomed the decision saying, "With positive developments today concerning judicial review of this disproportionate and illegal administrative act of access banning the whole of Twitter, 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."

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency