Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan applied to Turkey’s constitutional court on Friday to challenge the alleged violation of his and his family’s rights by social media, a senior official in his office told Reuters. Erdogan’s government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March, drawing international condemnation, after audio recordings, purportedly showing corruption in his inner circle, were leaked on their sites.
The Twitter block was lifted earlier this month after the constitutional court ruled that it breached freedom of expression, a decision Erdogan has since said was wrong and should be overturned. YouTube remains blocked in Turkey.
The senior official said Erdogan had made the application to the constitutional court via his lawyer in a complaint over the failure to implement court rulings requesting the removal of content violating his rights. The prime minister was seeking 50,000 lira ($23,500) compensation.
Turkish officials held talks with a delegation from Twitter in Ankara this week to try to resolve the dispute. But there was no immediate deal to open a Twitter office in Turkey or for it to pay Turkish tax, two of Ankara’s key requests.
Access to Twitter was blocked on March 21 in the run-up to local elections to stem a stream of leaked wiretapped recordings. Erdogan said he would “root out” the network.
($1 = 2.1266 Turkish Liras)
A Turkish court Friday ruled against a government ban on YouTube that came after the video-sharing website was used to spread damaging leaked audio files from a state security meeting.
An Ankara court ruled against the March 27 block, Hurriyet daily reported online, a day after the government complied with a Constitutional Court ruling and unblocked Twitter in Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday criticised a Constitutional Court ruling that lifted his government’s March 20 ban on Twitter. “We are of course bound by the Constitutional Court verdict, but I don’t have to respect it,” said the premier, a day after the social media site went live again in Turkey. “I don’t respect this ruling.”
“I don’t respect this ruling.”
Erdogan’s government has been rattled by the twin crises of street protests since last June and, since December, a torrent of online leaks on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube which appeared to implicate the premier’s inner circle in corruption.
YouTube remains banned since it was also used to leak an audio recording that was purportedly of a conversation of top government, military and spy officials weighing possible military action inside neighbouring war-torn Syria.
Erdogan said on the Twitter case, that “the Constitutional Court should have rejected” the application to lift the block on the site which had been brought by an opposition lawmaker and two academics.
“All our national, moral values have been put aside,” he said about the spate of anonymously posted recordings. “Insults to a country’s prime minister and ministers are all around.”
The Internet crackdown has sparked protests from Turkey’s NATO allies and human rights groups, who have deplored it as curbing the right to free speech – a notion Erdogan dismissed.
“This is a commercial company which has a product,” he said of the San Francisco-based micro-blogging service.
“It is not only Twitter. YouTube and Facebook are also commercial companies. It is everyone’s free will whether or not to buy their product. This has nothing to do with freedoms.”
Twitter ban imposed by Turkey’s government violates freedom of expression and individual rights and should be lifted, the country’s Constitutional Court said after voting unanimously on Wednesday. The ban has caused mass protests and public uproar. The Court has unanimously ruled the ban is a violation of free speech guaranteed by Article 26 of the Constitution.
According to Hurriyet Daily, an order to lift the ban has been issued.
“If they don’t abide by the ruling, we will file a criminal complaint against the TİB by attaching the ruling of the Constitutional Court,” said Metin Feyzioğlu, the president of Turkey’s Bar Associations (TBB), as cited by Hurriyet.
The decision is to be delivered to TİB and Turkey’s Transport, Maritime and Communication Ministry with the demand that they follow the order.
The country’s telecom authority (TIB) blocked Twitter in Turkey on March 21 following Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s threat that he would “root out” the social media network.
His condemnation came after audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption were leaked to circulate into social media, including YouTube and Twitter, on the eve of local elections, RT reports.