By EDRi

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Türkei setzt beliebte Blogger-Plattform auf die Sperrliste | http://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_9.5_Netzsperren_in_der_Tuerkei]

Although they lifted the ban against Google’s YouTube at the end of
2010 and despite the strong criticism and pending cases at the European
Court of Human Rights, Turkish authorities continue to block access to
websites.

Recently, following the complaint of the satellite television provider
Digiturk which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games, a
court in the south-eastern province of Diyarbakir banned Goggle’s blogging
platform Blogger.

“This is a disproportionate response by the court and undoubtedly has a huge
impact on all law-abiding citizens,” said Yaman Akdeniz, cyber-rights
activist and a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, who believes that
the Turkish court’s decision will affect millions of Turkish bloggers and
blog readers. “(I understand) there is a legitimate concern (regarding
Digiturk’s commercial rights) but banning all these websites will not solve
the issue. The decision opens the way to collateral damage,” added Akdeniz.

Blogger was entirely banned on the basis of Turkish copyright law,
which allows for the entire service to be banned and not only the content
considered to have infringed copyright. It is believed that about 600 000
Turkish bloggers are using the Google service to publish their personal
journals, out of which the large majority do nothing to infringe the law and
therefore do not to be banned.

Akdeniz also made the differentiation between regular websites and platforms
for user-generated content such as Blogger, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube,
considering the courts should make this difference and not ban entire
platforms. Technical solutions can be found to solve issues related to
intellectual and property rights.

The court’s decision brought forth a vivid reaction from bloggers and their
readers. About 9 000 Facebook users joined a group called “Do not touch my
blog” and similar campaigns have also been created on other websites, such
as Twitter.

It also seems that the Turkish authorities want to continue their fight with
Google as Blogger was not the only site where “matches (whose broadcasting
rights) belong to Digiturk and Lig TV are broadcasted by certain websites,
disregarding all relevant laws,” according to Digiturk’s own statement. Yet,
Blogger.com was the only one banned by the court.

“The process for making a copyright claim for content uploaded to Blogger is
straightforward and efficient, and we encourage all content owners to use it
rather than seek a broad ban on access to the service,” said a Google
spokesperson.

While Turkey is facing two more applications about blocked access to Google
websites and Last.fm which are pending at the Strasbourg ECtHR, the Turkish
courts continue to issue blocking orders.

Several Turkish and well-known international websites have no access in
Turkey including playboy.com, vimeo.com, ffffound.com, Sanalika.com, a
Turkish virtual world and playground, Azadiyawelat.com, the website of a
Kurdish newspaper, Fizy.com, a popular music and video sharing Turkish
website which won an award for best music search engine at the 2010 Mashable
Awards or 5Posta.org, a popular blog which contains articles about
sexuality, sexual politics and internet censorship.

With the number of blocked websites continuing to grow, legal challenges to
blocking orders have started to occur. Timur Manisali, the owner of
bugunkilicdaroglu.com website, who wrote on Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader
of the main Turkish opposition party, found his website banned,
following the request for injunction made by Kiliçdaroglu’s lawyers.

The blocking order, issued by the Ankara 3rd Criminal Court of Peace, was
not communicated directly to Timur Manisali, who was not given the
possibility to defend himself. However, Cyber-Rights.Org.tr, a non-profit
organisation offering pro-bono legal assistance to victims of internet
censorship in Turkey, started Manisali’s defence and filed an appeal on
December 2010.

The defence argued, among other things, that according to a new law from
2007, the courts are no longer empowered to rule for blocking websites in
relation to private law matters, including for claims of defamation and
other personal rights. Thus, on 6 January 2011, the Ankara 11th Criminal
Court of First Instance overturned the initial decision by lifting the
injunction over bugunkilicdaroglu.com.

Fighting political internet censorship in Turkey: one site won back, 10,000
to go (4.03.2011)
http://cyberlaw.org.uk/2011/03/05/index-on-censorship-fighting-political-internet-censorship-in-turkey-one-site-won-back-10000-to-go/

Blogspot banned in football row (4.03.2011)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12639279

EDRi-gram: Is YouTube back online in Turkey? (3.11.2010)
http://www.edri.org/edrigram/number8.21/youtube-blocking-turkey