Turkey

Turkey’s government seeks to gain authority to shut down websites freely

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The Turkish government has prepared a new bill that seeks to broaden state control over the Internet.

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported on Sunday that under the bill, which was presented to the parliament on Friday, the prime minister of the country and other cabinet ministers would be able to shut down websites for reasons including “national security” without a court order.
The last-minute amendments to the bill also stipulate that maintaining public order and ensuring security for life and property are also other possible reasons for shutting down a website.
According to the daily, Turkish officials in the first step should try to block the specific content on a website. However, if such a move was technically impossible, the prime minister and the ministers could order a blanket ban on the website, which would then be applied by the Telecommunications Directorate.
If passed, the bill would give authorities in Turkey an unprecedented power to control the Internet. It is scheduled to be debated in the parliament next week.
Tight Internet control in Turkey
Efforts by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to tighten its control over the Internet has been stepped up since the Gezi Park anti-government protests in June 2013 and the massive corruption investigations launched in December 2013.
Since then, a series of online leaks have inflicted serious damage on the government, which accused some prosecutors and police officials of taking orders from the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen to launch a smear campaign against the government.
Ankara claims that the protests and the corruption probes were part of a “coup plot.”

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