By Heini Järvinen

On 8 September, the Turkish Government passed an amendment to the existing Internet law (#5651). On 2 October, however, Turkey’s Constitutional Court annulled the most crucial parts of the amendment.

The amendment that was passed “aims to protect the dignity and privacy of individuals who become victims of defamation on the Internet.” It provided a legal basis for blocking of web sites to protect “national security or public order.” The amendment allowed the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (TIB) to block any websites without court order, and to collect and store all user logs from the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The law #5651 was mainly used for as a legal basis for blocking of the web sites that contain material about alleged corruption in the highest echelons of politics and alleged relationships of the government with fundamentalist organisations in Syria and Iraq.
The law #5651 has been recently used as a legal basis for blocking sites which contained recordings that appeared to indicate the existence of such alleged corruption and alleged relationships.

On 2 October, the Constitutional Court overturned the parts of the amendment that granted the TIB the power to block websites without a court order and the collection of user logs. Under the new ruling, ISPs will no longer have to block websites or remove contents within four hours of a request by the TIB. The websites can only be blocked upon a court order, and the TIB will not be able to monitor users’ websites visits.

In a meeting with foreign journalists, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to the annulment of the amendment with the statement:

I am increasingly against the Internet every day.

Turkey’s top court annuls part of law tightening Internet controls -media (02.10.2014)
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/10/02/uk-turkey-internet-idUKKCN0HR20B20141002

Top court overturns law tightening Turkey’s Internet controls (03.10.2014)
http://www.rappler.com/world/regions/europe/70888-court-overturns-law-turkey-internet-control

Top court overturns law tightening Turkey’s Internet controls (03.10.2014)
https://sg.news.yahoo.com/top-court-overturns-law-tightening-turkeys-internet-controls-223437007.html

Turkey’s leaders defend press freedom record but agree to address delegation’s concerns
https://www.cpj.org/2014/10/turkeys-leaders-defend-press-freedom-record-but-ag.php

Turkish court halts telecoms mandate to block Internet (02.10.2014)
http://www.aa.com.tr/en/news/398908–turkish-court-halts-telecoms-mandate-to-block-internet

Turkish Constitutional Court strips Internet authority of right to close websites (02.10.2014)
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-constitutional-court-strips-internet-authority-of-right-to-close-websites.aspx?pageID=238&nID=72479&NewsCatID=339

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