On February 5, the Turkish Parliament passed a law that further tightened the government’s control over the internet.
The government already blocks some 40,000 internet sites, but the newly enacted legislation goes well beyond previous restrictions. According to an analysis written by Semih Idiz before the law was passed, not only does the law require “the Union of Service Providers” (i.e., all Internet service providers in Turkey) keep records of all the sites their customers enter and make this information available to authorities for two years, the
Legislation will enable the Ministry for Transport and Communication, and/or the Directorate of Telecommunications (TIB), to close down any site on the Internet without a court order. Presently, there is the need for such an order to do this.
Under the proposed legislation the government will also have the authority to block individual web pages rather than the whole site. This will also give it control over individual tweets or YouTube uploads that are deemed by the government to be “inappropriate.”
During the Gezi Park demonstrations Prime Minister Erdogan declared “There is now a menace called twitter.” It is hard not to believe that this draconian new law is directed, at least in part, at stamping out this “menace” so it can no longer be used by groups that oppose government actions.
Bill Jones, Chair
Turkey Country Group, Amnesty International – USA