Turkey bans access to 136 websites, URLs

A Turkish court has banned access to 136 websites and URLs, including a Twitter account, news websites and blogs, at the request of the Turkish Gendarmerie General Command.

According to the decision by the Ankara 3rd Penal Court of Peace on June 16, access to Bianet, Etha, Halkın Sesi TV, Özgür Gelecek, osp.org, geziyisavunuyoruz.org, Gazete Fersude, Yeni Demokratik Gençlik, Umut Gazetesi, Kızıl Bayrak, Marksist Teori, Direnişteyiz, Mücadele Birliği and Antakya Sokak and the Twitter account of pro-Kurdish deputy Oya Ersoy were blocked. 

The court said the decision to ban access to the web pages was taken in line with a law that guarantees “people’s right to life, the safety of life and property, national security and public order and the prevention of crime.”

Meriç Eyüboğlu, an attorney for Bianet who filed an objection to the verdict, said: “… [I]n previous decisions, access to the news report that was the subject of the complaint was blocked. But now, the judge has issued a verdict blocking access not to the report but to the entire website without specifying which article sparked the ban.” 

On Wednesday, Turkish authorities have lifted the ban of access to web site after an outcry against a move the company’s lawyer said Wednesday had been made “by mistake,” Turkish media reported.

The OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Désir, expressed his deep concern regarding the court ruling. 

“Blocking Internet sources is an extreme measure, which can only be applied in cases of gross violations of human rights, or if there is an actual threat to public order,” Désir said in a written statement.

According to a new regulation published in Turkey’s Official Gazette last week, radio and TV broadcasts on the Internet will be under the authority of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) and the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK)

The Turkish government closed down hundreds of media outlets and news websites in the wake of a failed coup on June 15, 2016.

 

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