Turkish gov’t blocks access to websites of 4 pro-Kurdish news outlets

Turkish government has blocked access to the websites of the pro-Kurdish news outlets Mezopotamya news agency, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi, Demokrat Haber and 1HaberVar news sites. The websites of these critical news outlets could no longer be accessed from Turkey.

It was reported that Ankara 6th Criminal Court’s decision to block the websites was taken on September 20, 2017. Since Tuesday night readers see the notice on these websites such as “Access to this website ( http://mezopotamyaajansi.com ) denied by the Association of Internet Access providers in accordance with Law No. 5651″ warning when they try to access the website from Turkey.

With this censorship decision, Özgürlükçü Demokrasi has been blocked for 44th time.

Information Technologies and Communication Institute (BTK) has stated on the importance of “warn-remove” system in its meeting held with content providers on August 26, 2017 and asked the content providers to keep contact info and copyright page of their websites up to date. BTK officials added that they call the content providers before removing a content, and they were against the website blockings. However, Mezopotamya news agency said that BTK didn’t contact them.

Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors have opened an investigation into a journalist who shared a quote from 19th century Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin to decide whether to bring charges against him for “insulting Turkishness.”

Murat Güneş shared the quote on social media to show his support for “March for Justice” which was organised by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) from the capital Ankara to İstanbul last year. Güneş gave a statement to police and reportedly saying the words used were not his own and if anyone were to be judged, it would be Bakunin who died in 1876.

The quote from Bakunin that Güneş shared said, “the law is the whore of power”, which implies that the division of powers is interrupted in every period of governance.

Güneş was asked to make a statement relating to allegations of “openly humiliating the Turkish nation, the state of the Republic of Turkey, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the government of the Republic of Turkey and the judicial bodies of the government.”

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 242 journalists and media workers are in jails as of December 30, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 215 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 138 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

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