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September 22, 2017

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Erdogan condemns court ruling lifting Twitter ban

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that he had to comply with the Turkish high court ruling this week to unblock Twitter, but he doesn't respect it.

Turkey blocked access to the social media website two weeks ago after some users posted links suggesting government corruption. It later also blocked access to YouTube after a leaked recording of a top government security meeting was posted on the video-sharing website. Erdogan had vowed to "rip out the roots" of Twitter for allowing the postings.

The government lifted the Twitter ban on Thursday, a day after the high court ruled that it violated the right to free expression.

Erdogan said of the court's decision: "I don't have to respect it. I don't respect it."

He said the court was protecting a tool of foreign influence, saying that Twitter is "the product of an American company."

"All of our national moral values are being set aside," Erdogan added.

Also on Friday, a lower court ruled that a total blockage of access to YouTube was a "serious intervention against freedom of expression" and ruled that the blanket ban be lifted. It ruled however, that access to 15 videos deemed to be in violation of Turkish laws could remain blocked.

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