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Despite court order, Turkey still unable to access Twitter

ANKARA -- Turkey's government faced growing pressure Thursday to quickly implement a top court order to unblock Twitter, which it had banned after corruption claims went viral on the social media site.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the block on March 20 in the lead-up to last Sunday's key local elections, in which his party won sweeping wins despite the damaging online leaks.

On Wednesday Turkey's Constitutional Court ruled that the Twitter ban breached free speech, and ordered the communications ministry and telecoms authority to reverse it “with immediate effect.”

The U.S.-based micro-blogging service reacted quickly to the ruling, tweeting: “We welcome this Constitutional Court ruling and hope to have Twitter access restored in Turkey soon.”

But although the ruling by the country's highest court was published Thursday morning in Turkey's Official Gazette, by mid-morning the service still remained unavailable in Turkey.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawmaker for the secular main opposition Republican People's Party, said he would lodge a complaint unless the government abides by the court ruling, warning that defying it “would mean an abuse of power.”

Tanrikulu — who was among the group that had lodged the initial challenge with the Constitutional Court — warned that the ruling is “binding for everyone, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who does not recognize the law.”

President Abdullah Gul, a regular Twitter user, also said the bans on the micro-blogging service as well as on video-sharing service YouTube should be reversed.

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