Turkey seeks to curb Internet freedom

January 9, 2014
A woman uses a mobile phone to read the news on social media at a midnight demonstration in Taksim Gezi Park on June 13, 2013

The Turkish government has moved to impose strict controls on the Internet by monitoring the activities of online users and blocking certain keywords, a parliamentary source said on Thursday.

The proposals are contained in a bill submitted to parliament by Turkey's family and social policy ministry and are the latest in a string of government moves testing freedom of expression in the aspiring EU member state.

The draft legislation will allow the authorities to block keywords deemed problematic and limit access to video-sharing websites that include them, the source said.

It will allow officials to keep a record of all activities of Internet users for two years and monitor which websites they have visited, which keywords they have searched for and their activities on .

"The draft bill is designed to 'protect the family, children and youth from items on the Internet that encourage drug addiction, sexual abuse and suicide," Hurriyet newspaper said.

In December, Google released data showing that Turkey topped the Internet giant's content removal request list.

But the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rejected comparisons with China, which is notorious for its Internet censorship.

"Turkey is not China and will never be like China in this manner," party spokesman Huseyin Celik told reporters on Tuesday.

People in an internet cafe in Istanbul on September 3, 2009

"Aren't we all in agreement on having some laws about social media and Internet media? There can be regulations based on world standards anywhere in the world," he said.

In 2010, Turkey lifted a ban on YouTube, two years after a court blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder.

During the mass anti-government protests in June, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Twitter "a menace", denouncing protesters who turned to for information on the unrest.

In December, the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists described Turkey as the world's number one jailer of journalists for the second straight year, ahead of Iran and China.

Explore further: Turkey tightens Internet control in YouTube feud

Related Stories

Turkey tightens Internet control in YouTube feud

June 25, 2010

(AP) -- Furious over Internet insults of the country's beloved founder, Turkey has gone on the offensive against Google, tightening a ban on YouTube and cutting public access to a host of Google-owned sites.

Turkey 'arrests 32' in raid on hacker group

June 14, 2011

Turkish police have arrested 32 people suspected of belonging to a cabal of hackers who sabatoged government websites to protest against Internet censorship, the Anatolia news agency reported on Tuesday.

Turkey probes social network 'insults'

June 27, 2013

(AP)—Turkish authorities are investigating people who allegedly insulted state officials or incited riots on social media, the deputy prime minister said Thursday, in a sign the government is intent on meting out punishment ...

China pays two million to monitor Internet

October 6, 2013

China is employing two million people to keep tabs on people's Internet use, according to state media, in a rare glimpse into the secret world of Beijing's vast online surveillance operation.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.