Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that the nation’s ban on social media is going to be lifted. Not all social media is going to be allowed however. The announcement, that Twitter will be unblocked in Turkey, was made shortly after a high court ruling which stated that the ban breached individual freedom of expression.
Twitter was banned in Turkey late in March, in an effort to control the sharing of leaked recordings which reportedly exposed corruption being engaged in by high government officials. A Turkish high court however struck down the ban, and Prime Minister Erdogan has reportedly announced that turkey will officially lift the ban in compliance to the court’s ruling. So it is that Twitter is being unblocked in Turkey, but it did take a high court calling the ban unlawful to do so.
The Erdogan government has seen harsh criticism since the ban, and may potentially be doing itself a public relations favor by complying with the high courts ruling. Time will tell whether or not the compliance will lead to further relaxing of bans like those on Youtube, and whether the compliance will indeed purchase some much needed goodwill for the Prime Minister and his leadership.
While it may appear that Turkey is attempting to make itself slightly more open and compliant in lifting the ban on Twitter, not all social media will be allowed to operate freely. Youtube, the video sharing phenomenon, will remain blocked even as Twitter is set to be re-allowed inside the country.
The Erdogan leadership has been highly-criticized by those who view the Prime Ministers rule as one of increased authoritarianism. The banning of Twitter was perceived as a flexing of the decried authoritarianism and spurred harsher criticism of the Erdogan government. Groups critical of the Prime Minister’s leadership, viewed the ban as a way to control the spread of the leaked wiretaps which reportedly highlighted widespread corruption within the Erdogan government. The Prime Minister has continued to call the tapes fake, and label them as an attempt to undermine his leadership by opposition groups.
As Turkey continues to sort out its internal political problems, a bit of good social media news is being highlighted today. That is that the Twitter ban, imposed in late march, is being lifted by Turkey after a high court struck down the ban as unlawful. Usually Turkey’s gobble, but Erdogan’s Turkey is sure to be tweeting in high volume for some time to come.
By Daniel Worku