ANKARA, Turkey—Regulations scheduled to go into effect this summer in Turkey that will impose a strict regime of internet censorship on the country’s citizens have resulted in widespread protests, according to eurasianet.org. The government is defending the measures, which will (attempt to) restrict access to websites that contain pornography, violence and content related to terrorism.
In a comment that one hopes lost something in translation, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Tuesday that the government also is interested in keeping out sites that teach people how to kill their wives. (One wonders whether the suggested methods differ from those recommended to kill one’s husband.)
More seriously, however, the new legislation will reportedly also require internet users to pick a type of filtering when they sign up for service.
“Internet service providers will give their subscribers in Turkey the choice between four different sorts of filter options: standard, children, family and domestic,” reported Bianet.org in April. “The subscribers are compelled to choose one of the filter options. The list of sites filtered under each option will be defined by the [Council of Information Technologies and Telecommunication, BTK] but will not be announced to the public.”
Censorship is not unknown in Turkey. In Oct. 2010, the government lifted a ban on YouTube that had been in place for two years because of videos posted to the site that were critical of the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The ban was lifted after the videos were removed.
In 2007, Turkey’s parliament passed a law that allowed a court to block any website about which there was “sufficient suspicion” that a crime had taken place, including child pornography, gambling, prostitution, and "crimes against Ataturk."
Despite this history of government-imposed censorship, Turkish citizens are not happy with the proposed new regulation, which previously applied only to internet cafes, and on May 15 staged demonstration againt the plan in 30 cities around the country that attracted thousands of people.
Photo: A sea of Turkish citizens protesting new regulations to filter the internet.