The Turkish government has finally lifted its ban on Twitter after a largely unsuccessful attempt at state-sponsored censorship in the run-up to key local elections held last Sunday.
Prime minister Tayyip Erdogan’s administration blocked the popular microblogging platform a fortnight ago after complaining of a smear campaign when alleged recordings of senior officials making shady deals appeared on the site.
The telecoms authority (TIB) confirmed to Reuters on Thursday that the ban had been lifted, a whole week after an Ankara court ruled in favour of a group of journos and lawyers who complained that the block contravened their "freedom of information and communication”.
The ban followed some fighting talk from the PM, who branded Twitter a “scourge” and said of social media “we will wipe out all of these”.
He followed the Twitter blockade last week with a ban on YouTube – on which site agitators had also posted audio files incriminating his administration.
In the end the Twitter ban didn’t appear to have much effect. Just a day after it came into force some social media agencies were measuring a spike in tweets of up to 130 per cent from Turkish users.
Many used TOR or VPNs to get around the ban, whilst Twitter also tweeted several numbers its followers could use to SMS their posts.
A lifting of the ban always seemed likely in light of this, and after president Abdullah Gul declared, on Twitter, that it was “unacceptable”.
For the record, Erdogan’s Justice and Development (AK) party took over 45 per cent of the vote at the elections. All El Reg can deduce from this is that either censorship works or there are a lot of Twitter haters in Turkey. ®