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Turkey Takes Censorship Several Steps Further

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Over two months ago, authorities in Turkey found a video on YouTube that implied Ataturk, the country’s founder, was gay.  Turkey banned YouTube, YouTube removed the clip, and the Turkish government got way too cocky – it’s now reserved the legal right to block any website with content it finds offensive to Ataturk’s memory.

Our previous coverage of this story led to one of the most “energetic” comment sections WebProNews has ever seen.  This time around, Reporters Without Borders seemed to get worked up as it responded to Turkey’s decision.

“It shows the authorities want to force website editors to censor themselves,” the group wrote.  “The possible consequences of this law are very disturbing.  Will subversive content also be banned from chat forums?  How far does the government want go to impose its control on online dissent?”

Indeed.  Some people might also be interested in Reporters Without Borders’s description of the Turkish regulation.

Article 8 of Law 5651 on the “Prevention of crimes in the computer domain” calls for content to be blocked if it violates a 1951 law on “crimes against Atatürk.” The article says: “When there is sufficient evidence of the improper aspect of content (…) access must be blocked.” As well as punishing “crimes against Atatürk,” Law 5651 also punishes “inciting suicide” (article 84), “sexual abuse of children” (article 103), “prostitution” (article 227) and “inciting drug use” (article 190).


Well, Turkey may have done it this time.  It beat Google, but can it beat the world?  In related news, the Post Chronicle reports, “New French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday he does not believe Turkey should be admitted to the European Union.”

Turkey Takes Censorship Several Steps Further
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  • SELCUK

    that’s no censorship. Ataturk is as holy in Turkey as the Prophet, if not more.

    • Kurunta

      There’s no reason for people to insult Kemal Atat

  • mindblitz

    If you ever think this is all about censorship of “free speech” in Turkey, you are definitely on the wrong path. Saying “Ataturk was not a good leader” may be regarded as free speech; but saying “Ataturk was a hardcore gay” is something else. Do you American always have to be this much shallow-thinkers?

  • Fenasi Kerim

    Sarkozy’s views about Turkey’s admission has nothing to do with Turkey’s penchant for web censorship. Sarkozy just does not believe Turkey is within Europe. For him, it does not matter if Turkey is the freest country in the world. In any case, this news is as bogus as the news couple of years ago that Turkey wants to ban the internet.

    PS. Where do you get all these idiots as reporters?

    • Tim

      So there’s more than one reason to think Turkey’s govt. is being ridiculous? Thanks for clearing that up. ;)