Increased pressure on Turkey to stop Internet blocking

By EDRi · June 30, 2010

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Deutsch: [Netzsperren: Zunehmender Druck auf die Türkei |]

As Turkey continues its ban on Google’s YouTube and other services, it
attracts more and more criticism. After Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul
himself has taken position against its own government in this matter, it is
now OSCE turn to react.

On 22 June 2010, Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the
Media, asked the Turkish authorities to restore access to Google’s YouTube
and other services and change the much-criticized Law No. 5651 (so-called
Internet Law) in order to be in line with international standards on free
expression. “I ask the Turkish authorities to revoke the blocking provisions
that prevent citizens from being part of today’s global information society.
I also ask them to carry out a very much needed reform of Law No. 5651,”
said Mijatovic.

OSCE representative has sent a letter to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu, showing concern about the new blocking decisions taken at the
beginning of June when the ban was extended to other Google services such as
Google Translate or Google Docs.

The Turkish Communication Minister Binali Yildirim has lately argued that
the reason of banning Google services is related to tax disputes and has
accused Google of infringing the Turkish law and of failing to cooperate
with the Turkish authorities. “This site is waging a battle against the
Turkish.” But not even the flawed Internet Law includes tax disputes among
the reasons for blocking websites, as was pointed out by Mijatovic who
added: “My office has been promoting the urgent reform of Law No. 5651,
because it considerably limits freedom of expression and severely restricts
citizens’ right to access information.”

Google, in its turn, is confident it complies with tax laws in every country
where it operates. “We are currently in discussion with the Turkish
authorities about this, and are confident we comply with Turkish law. We
report profits in Turkey which are appropriate for the activities of our
Turkish operations,” was Google’s statement.

A petition has been signed by hundreds of Internet users denouncing the ban
as an affront to “free speech and rights to access information” and calling
for Binali Yildirim’s resignation. Three information technology groups are
challenging the ban in courts.

Richard Howitt, a British member of the European Parliament and advocate of
Turkey’s European Union membership, has warned Turkey that the ban puts “the
country alongside Iran, North Korea and Vietnam as one of the world’s worst
offenders for cyber censorship” and the country cannot expect to be
considered as a serious candidate for the EU as long as it continues to
censor the Internet.

On 18 June 2010, as a protest against the decision taken by the Turkish
Government, a group of hackers co-ordinated a DoS attack that
lasted 10 hours against the websites of the Ministry of Transportation,
Information and Communication Technologies Authority and the
Telecommunications Communication Presidency, the authorities that have been
directly involved in the banning.

OSCE media freedom representative asks Turkey to withdraw recent Internet
blocking provisions, calls for urgent reform of law (22.06.2010)

Turkey tightens Internet control in YouTube feud (26.06.2010)

OSCE calls on Turkey to stop blocking YouTube (22.06.2010)

Access Denied to Turkish Censorship Authorities’ websites (18.06.2010)

Access Denied to Turkish Censorship Authorities’ websites

EDRi-gram: Turkey extends the censorship of YouTube (16.06.2010)