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Turkey to Twitter: Open an office here and we'll lift the ban

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A spokesperson for Turkey's ruling party said the country would be happy to immediately stop its ban on Twitter and YouTube—if they're willing to set up shop there.

Hüseyin Çelik, spokesperson for Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) claimed that his government had established "positive dialogue" with Twitter, the Hurriyet Daily News reported Monday.

The government has a funny way of showing it. After bombast from the AKP Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, the country formally blocked citizens' access to Twitter.com on March 24, with limited success. A court overruled the ban, but its still in effect, mired in the legal system. Turkey shortly blocked YouTube for good measure.

So Çelik laid down an ultimatum:

"If Twitter and YouTube set up an office in Turkey or send their lawyers and representatives here, forming an interlocutor mechanism through which the [government telecommunications companies] can contact them when needed, then this ban can be revoked immediately. Otherwise, it will continue."

In an emailed statement to the Daily Dot, a Twitter spokesperson said that "Twitter already has local representation in Turkey, which handled our successful legal challenge to the access ban."

Again, the ban on Twitter can only go so far. Despite the Turkish government's attempts to make it harder for people to use the Tor browser—which makes it easy to circumvent basic censorship tactics—Turkish use of the service is still skyrocketing.

Photo by William John Gauthier/Flickr