Twitter Files For Lawsuits In Turkish Courts To Challenge The Country’s Access Ban

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Twitter has just announced that it has formally joined the cause of those defending use of its service in Turkey, by filing petitions for lawsuits in a number of Turkish courts after working with its Turkish attorney over the course of the past few days. The petitions ask that the ban be lifted formally, and join the existing chorus of Turkish legal community members, citizens and journalists who have already succeeded in winning a stay of the Turkish government’s application to block the service entirely.

Twitter says that the proposed ban is a series of three court orders that it wasn’t privy to before the ban was enacted, which include two that the company claims relate to content on their network that violate their own terms of service, and have accordingly been removed. The last one, which deals with a tweet accusing a former minister of corruption, isn’t in violation of Twitter’s ToS, so the social network is petitioning the courts to overturn that remaining order.

In the meantime, the content has been partially geoblocked using Twitter’s ‘Country Withheld Content’ feature, which limits where a specific tweet or series of tweets can be viewed, while leaving it visible to users in other locations around the world. Those involved have been notified that this has happened. This temporary measure is the only concession Twitter has made to Turkey, the company points out, as it has not handed over any user data including email or IP addresses, in accordance with its governing privacy policy.

Twitter says that with the above measures in place, there aren’t any longer any outstanding reasons to legally block use of the service in Turkey, and it expects the government to restore it entirely before things proceed. Workarounds, including the use of Google’s DNS, have been cropping up, but the government has moved to quash those as they emerge, and recently began a move to block it at the level of the IP address. Twitter officially joining the fight might not circumvent the government’s efforts if it’s really dead-set on blocking the service, but it is a clear move that the company isn’t happy about Turkey’s efforts to limit access and hamper citizen’s rights to free speech.