Activists in Turkey have told Tech Times that they will not back down on their criticism of the government and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan even though the micro-blogging site Twitter is running again after a two-week ban by the government.
A court on Thursday said that Erdogan's ban on Twitter was a form of censorship that was a breach of the country's constitution. The move to ban the site had left Turkey at odds with the European Union, which lashed out at the country, saying it was infringing on popular rights of the people to voice their opposition to government policies.
"I think this is a positive step for the country and it shows that we have a functional democratic system with checks and balances," said Hussein Kuran, an American-educated activist and marketing manager in Istanbul.
He argued that "the government cannot hold people back from speaking out on the injustices we have been facing and Twitter was a key way in telling the world what was happening here."
The ban was implemented after a series of protests were violently put down by police, killing dozens of people over the past year. Erdogan said that the ban was placed to "safeguard" Turkish identity and maintain order in the country. Activists called it a blatant attempt to silence critics.
Turkey is not the only country in recent years to shut down social media websites. In Egypt, in January 2011 during the 18-day uprising that ousted longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, the entire Internet in the country was shut down for three days. Then, in 2012, after violent protests over an anti-Islam video that was published on YouTube, the military-led government banned the video-sharing website for weeks until a court overturned that censorship move.
In Turkey, Twitter was shut down on March 21 as local election campaigns began. Those elections ended on March 30, and the Constitutional Court ended the ban on the site, which Erdogan had promised he would "root out."
Online, Turkish users began hitting the airwaves, many simply stating, "the ban is over."