Melon Farmers Original Version

Internet Censorship in Turkey

Website blocking insults the Turkish people


Turkey vs Twitter...

Twitter refuses to bow to Turkish internet censorship

Link Here24th July 2023
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's internet censors at the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) is fighting to force Twitter to bow to its censorship rules. It its banning Turkish citizens and corporations from placing ads on Twitter.

The move is a reaction to Twitter's failure to comply with a contentious digital law that requires the appointment of an official local representative to oversee censorship on the platform.

The BTK's resolution against X Corp. formerly known as Twitter Inc has prohibited any new ads from natural and legal persons. This decision was published in the Official Gazette, following the company's non-compliance with Turkey's new digital law adopted in 2022.nUnder the new law, social media companies are obliged to designate official representatives within Turkey. These individuals would be accountable for processing government demands and notifications, which would predominantly encompass requests for content removal.

For those who defy the new rule, the penalties include fines for any person or company placing advertisements on Twitter. Furthermore, the law contains a stringent clause whereby continued non-compliance from Twitter may result in the halving of the platform's bandwidth within the country.



Streaming repression...

Turkey warns Spotify about hosting podcasts that Turkey does not like

Link Here 9th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's internet censor has warned online audio streaming giant Spotify to censor its content in line with Turkish legislation or risk critical items being removed or cut.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said that it will consider removing or cutting all content found inappropriate.

Spotify has gained a wide audience recently as one of the last remaining outlets for free speech in Turkey, especially with its podcasts providing critical reporting and commentary on Turkish domestic politics.

Cathryn Grothe, research associate at Freedom House, commented that the move is part of a long decline in internet freedom, characterized by restrictive regulations such as the social media law, blocked websites, and heavy-handed crackdowns on independent media and journalists. She said:

Streaming services such as Spotify create a unique space where people can express themselves, relate to loved ones and friends over shared music or podcasts, and engage on a range of important issues, including human rights and politics.



Who'd take a job as the fall guy anyway?...

Turkey fines Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for failing to comply with new censorship laws

Link Here 7th November 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The Government of Turkey has fined Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram 10 million lira ($1.2 million) each for not complying with a new social media censorship law that took effect last month. The law places penalties on any refusal by social media companies to take down posts that the government deems offensive.

According to the law, social media sites with more than one million Turkish daily users must appoint a fall guy accountable to Turkish courts, abide by governmental orders to remove offensive content within 48 hours, and store user data inside Turkey.

Beginning with fines, the law gives the government the ability to increase penalties up to the cutting of sites' bandwidth by 90%, essentially blocking access to the social media platform altogether.

It will be interesting to see if Turkey is willing to block social media, surely local businesses would not be very impressed by such a move.



No Turkish friends...

Facebook takes on the Turkish government about new internet censorship requirements

Link Here 6th October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Facebook's human rights team said it would not comply with a controversial social media law passed in Ankara this summer.

The bill requires social media companies with more than 1 million daily users in Turkey to appoint representatives in the country, store user data locally and comply with state content removal requests, among other measures, by Oct. 1 or face steep fines and domestic access blocks on their platforms.

In Turkey, where 90 to 95% of traditional media outlets are run by the government or government-friendly entities, social media platforms remain one of the few mediums for free expression in the country. Since the passing of a new social media law in late July, the future of free speech on such platforms has been in limbo as social media giants consider their options to continue operating in the country.

Twitter and Google have yet to respond to the legislation, passing an Oct. 1 deadline to open an office in Turkey and appoint a representative that would be subject to local tax codes and content removal requests from the Turkish authorities.

The Turkish internet censor will now issue warnings to noncompliant companies before issuing a growing scale of punishments, ranging from fines of $1.3 million in November to $3.8 million in December, before local advertisement bans are imposed in January, followed by bandwidth throttling in April and May that would eventually render the platforms unusable in Turkey.



Updated: Ask 101...

Turkey asks Netflix to censor gay character from teem drama

Link Here20th July 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTÜK, recently confirmed that they had requested Netflix remove a gay character from the Turkish teen drama Ask 101 (Love 101) -- and that Netflix had complied.

Main character Osman, played by Selahattin Pasali, had been originally conceived of as gay, but it appears that any scenes which actually say so have now been cut.

An anonymous RTÜK official said the problem about that character has been removed.

Update: Gay culture cancelled

20th July 2020. See article from

On July 18, reports from Turkish media indicated that Netflix was canceling the popular drama Ask 101 (Love 101). RTUK, the country's broadcasting regulator, demanded that the streaming platform should censor the character in the series.

The director of the series, Ece Yörenç, told Fasikül, a Turkish entertainment website, that it was "very scary" that the production of series can be halted because of a gay character. The director argued that RTUK was unreasonable because no gay intimacy even takes place in the show.

Netflix is yet to release an official statement regarding Love 101 or whether they will continue their service in Turkey despite the increasingly strict censorship laws.



Designated Dictator...

Turkey bans an episode of Designated Survivor on Netflix

Link Here 1st May 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Designated Survivor Episode 2.7: Family Ties is a USA action mystery thriller by Milan Cheylov.
Starring Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone and Paulo Costanzo. IMDb

Leading into a NATO summit in DC, the team learns that Turkish president Fatih Turan, who Tom does not much like, wants to raise significantly the leases on strategic air fields in Turkey, they believing to build up a war chest for an upcoming election. If Tom doesn't agree, Turan may hand the leases over to the Russians which would give them the upper hand in the Middle East.

Netflix has removed an episode of political thriller series Designated Survivor in Turkey following a demand from the country's censor board. Netflix said in a statement:

Following a demand from the Turkish regulator, we have removed one episode of Designated Survivor from Netflix in Turkey only, to comply with local law.

The episode remains on the service in all other territories.

Season 2 episode 7 is title Family Ties and depicts a fictitious Turkish president, played by Troy Caylak, as its antagonist. Kiefer Sutherland leads the show as U.S. president Tom Kirkman.



Identified as repressive...

Turkish government proposes new internet censorship law requiring social media companies to identify their users on request

Link Here 11th April 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has proposed a draft law which seeks to attach a series of online censorship measures to an economic aid package aimed at stabilising an economy hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The new law defines social media platforms very widely, as the people or legal entities who allow users to create, view or share data like text, images, voice, location online with the purpose of social interaction, and states that they will be held responsible for any inappropriate content that their users post on their platforms. The law will apply to any platform with more than 1 million users in Turkey. The draft law states:

A foreign based social network provider that has access to more than 1 million people in Turkey is responsible for assigning at least one authorised person as a representative in Turkey to register the notifications, declarations or requests sent by institutions, associations, legal and administrative offices and also to be responsible for sharing the identity and communication information of this person [who has posted inappropriate content] with the institution.

The Turkish government is aiming to effectively end anonymity on social media platforms. This is very similar to what Western governments have attempted and failed to do already, because anonymity has always been a core part of the internet, and it is unrealistic to expect all social media sites to implement systems to confirm the ID of their users.

This part of the law seems intended to make it easier for the Turkish government to access data about social media users based in Turkey. Presumably, this would make it easier for them to obtain data on anonymous users of social media who are heavily critical of the Turkish government. Turkey's Interior Ministry reported that 2,000 social media users had been identified and arrested for provocative social media posts related to the coronavirus outbreak at the end of March.

The law also seeks to impose fines on social media providers who do not respond to takedown requests. Such fines can be from as little as 100 Turkish lira ($15) to as much as 5 million lira ($746,500).

One of the problems with this law will be how the Turkish government is going to force foreign social media companies to set up legally responsible offices in Turkey which they are already threatening with substantial fines. In 2016, the Turkish government asked PayPal to move their server operations to Turkey, but instead of complying, PayPal simply abandoned the market.



Unacceptable facts...

Turkey's Constitutional Court orders the government to unblock Wikipedia

Link Here 27th December 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017 after the online encyclopedia refused to remove terrorism related content that the government didn't like.

The censorship has just been reversed by Constitutional Court, the nation's highest court, which called the ruling a violation of freedom of expression, and ordered the site to be unblocked

Update: Back online

17th January 2020. See article from

Wikipedia is back online in Turkey after two-year ban is overturned

The site has been banned in the country since April 2017.



Travel Warning...

German Foreign Office warns travellers to Turkey that the use of VPNs there is illegal

Link Here21st November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The German Foreign Office has warned travellers to Turkey that they could face legal repercussions if they are caught using a VPN in the country.

It is the first time that a formal warning has been made about using VPNs in the country, but it comes from the highest level and is one that travellers from all countries should be aware of.

Under the dictatorial leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's slide towards authoritarianism has been remarkably swift. In the government's drive to control the internet and restrict its political opponents, Turkey has sought to block VPNs , banned the use of encrypted messaging services , and routinely blocked social media sites and instigated total internet shutdowns at politically sensitive times. Hundreds of thousands of websites are now inaccessible in Turkey, which has ironically driven more and more Turkish citizens and ex-pats onto VPNs in order to enjoy free access to the internet.



Licensed to censor...

Turkey expands the remit of its TV censor to cover internet TV

Link Here 27th September 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
A by-law which will allow for Turkey's state-run TV censor to extend its remit to all internet broadcasting platforms has been approved.

The Turkish state agency for monitoring, regulating, and sanctioning radio and television broadcasts (RTÜK) met on Tuesday to discuss the bylaw regarding radio and TV programs aired online. The bylaw, which will also require that TV stations obtain a licence from RTÜK to begin broadcasting online.

Under the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), RTÜK took a strict approach with TV stations, slapping channels with large fines for what they say is ''offending societal values.'' Consequently, many Turkish television producers have opted to share their work online, but now face the same repressive censorship rules that they previously managed to avoid.



Following Britain's lead...

Turkish parliament extends the TV censor's control to internet TV

Link Here 23rd March 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's parliament on Thursday passed legislation widening government control of the internet, one of the last remaining platforms for critical and independent reporting.

The TV, and now internet censor RTUK is controlled by representatives of the ruling AKP party.

Under the new legislation, internet broadcasters will have to apply for a license from the censor. And of course risk being turned down because the government doesn't like them. Websites that do not obtain the required licence will be blocked.

Turkish authorities have already banned more than 170,000 websites, but observers point out that Turks have become increasingly savvy on the internet, using various means to circumvent restrictions, such as by using virtual private networks (VPN).

But authorities are quickly becoming adept, too. Fifteen VPN providers are currently blocked by Turkey, cyber rights expert Akdeniz said. It's becoming really, really difficult for standard internet users to access banned content. It's not a simple but a complex government machinery now seeking to control the internet.



Immoral censorship...

Turkey is set to extend internet TV censorship to the likes of Netflix and YouTube, and also to personal social media accounts

Link Here 23rd February 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The Committee to Protect Journalists rather optimistically calls on Turkish authorities to scrap the article of a draft bill that would expand internet censorship in Turkey.

The Parliamentary Planning and Budget Commission has now passed article 73 of the bill, which would require online broadcasters, including YouTube and Netflix Turkey, to be licensed and regulated by the federal TV and radio censor RTÜK, according to news reports. Article 73 would also extend RTÜK's authority to personal social media accounts.

Parliament still needs to approve the bill's remaining articles before it schedules a vote on the bill but it has more than enough votes to pass and become law,

Government Minister Ahmet Arslan, who oversees internet censorship, has claimed that:

Censorship does not exist in Turkey ...[BUT]... Only broadcast material that goes "against national security [and the] moral order of the country" would be blocked if the bill becomes law.



Update: Peeling away options for circumvention of internet censorship...

Turkey blocks Tor

Link Here19th December 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's President Erdogan has stepped up his repression of dissent by blocking the Tor network in the country.

Watchdog group Turkey Blocks has confirmed that Turkey is blocking the Tor anonymity network's direct access mode for most users. You can still use a bridge mode for now, but there are hints that internet providers might be hurting performance even then. Bridges are unlisted relays and may require a bit of searching out.

The restrictions come alongside a recent government ban on virtual private network services.



Update: Shared Prosecutions...

More internet censorship is Turkey where people sharing censored material will be prosecuted

Link Here 25th March 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Social media users who share content that has been subject to a legal complaint in Turkey will be punished, according an omnibus bill currently being debated in parliament.

Internet censors at the Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) will be able to decide for the removal or blocking of Internet content based on vague claims about "protection of national security and public order" in the omnibus bill, and users who then share such content will also be punished.

On March 20, parliament approved a key article of the contentious omnibus bill that gives power to the prime minister and other ministers to shut down websites within four hours. The approval came just six months after a similar bill was overturned by the Constitutional Court.

The TİB could enforce the ministry's request as a blanket ban of the website if deemed necessary, within a maximum four hours. The TİB would then submit the decision to the judge of a criminal court of peace within 24 hours for approval. The judge would have to issue a ruling within 48 hours. If no verdict is issued, the ban would automatically be revoked.

According to the law, the TİB could also file criminal complaints by applying to prosecutors regarding the content of the website. ISPs or web hosts would be required to submit the necessary information to help locate those being censored through a court order. Providers that do not identify censored account holders could be given hefty fines Authorities would also be able to revoke their provider licenses in Turkey.



Update: The Turkish right for the religious to spout bollox without criticism...

Cartoonist jailed for blasphemy

Link Here14th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The Turkish cartoonist Mehmet Duzenli began serving a three-month prison sentence on a charge of insulting Adnan Oktar, an extremist Muslim preacher who is well known for his creationist, anti-Zionist and holocaust-denial views.

Duzenli refused to appeal on the grounds that a decision to suspend the sentence would still prevent him from expressing himself freely in his cartoons. He Explained:

If Mr. Oktar has the right to claim that he is the Mahdi [the redeemer who is supposed to appear at the 'end times'], I have the right to say that he is lying.

Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk said:

Jailing D?zenli over a cartoon is totally unacceptable. Such a disproportionate sentence is a reminder that Turkey's penal code often violates the country's own constitution as well as international conventions on freedom of information. The Turkish authorities must urgently carry out the necessary reforms , including decriminalizing defamation and insult.



Update: Religious Censorship...

Turkish court hands down suspended jail sentence for supposed blasphemy on an internet forum

Link Here 17th May 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
A Turkish court has given Sedat Kapanoglu, the founder of one of Turkey's most popular online forums, Eksi Sözlük (Sour Dictionary), a 10 month suspended sentence for blasphemy.

A police complaint was filed regarding writers of a discussion thread opened on the website in 2011, alleging insults to the religious character Muhammad. Some 40 of the website's members were detained by the police and charged with insulting religion on the thread.

The court ruled that Kapanoglu had committed the crime of "insulting the religious values shared by a group of society" and sentenced him to the 10 months in jail. The court suspended the sentence based on the time passed since the crime was committed.

The court also sentenced suspect Özgür Kuru to seven months and 15 days in jail on the same charges, while also suspending the execution of this sentence. The court acquitted a third suspect and also decided to suspend the cases against other 37 suspects. However, suspects would be retried if they commit the same crime within three years.



Updated: Retweeted...

Turkey's Constitutional Court orders government to restore Twitter ruling that the illegally breached Turkey's freedom of expression

Link Here5th April 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's telecoms authority lifted a two-week-old ban on Twitter, after the constitutional court ruled the previous day that the block breached freedom of expression.

Turkey's Official Gazette published the court's ruling on Thursday morning, further piling pressure on the telecoms authority, TIB, to lift the ban. TIB removed court orders blocking the site from its webpage on Thursday afternoon, after which Erdogan's office confirmed the ban was no more.

YouTube however remains offline in Turkey. The TIB blocked it one week after blocking Twitter. Legal challenges are pending.

Update: YouTube Unblocked

5th April 2013. See  article from

YouTube has been unblocked in Turkey after a court ruled that blocking the video service violates freedom of expression.

The country's national telecoms authority censored the platform after an audio recording of Turkish officials discussing possible military action against Syria leaked onto the website.

However, the court declared that 15 YouTube videos must remain blocked in the territory.

Update: YouTube Not Unblocked

7th April 2013. See  article from

YouTube remains blocked even after the court that initially ordered the ban reversed its ruling.

However, the Golbasi Prosecutor's Office challenged the liberal ruling on the grounds that the video that was the subject of the YouTube ban had not yet been removed.

The Golbasi Criminal Court of First Instance, a higher court, ruled to keep the block in place until the criminal content is removed form the site.

Update: YouTube Finally Unblocked

8th June 2014. See  article from

Turkey's telecoms regulator removed an official order blocking access to YouTube from its website on Tuesday after the country's top court ruled last week that the ban was a breach of human rights.

The video-sharing website will be accessible in Turkey later on Tuesday, an official at the office of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Reuters: As the constitutional court verdict was received today, YouTube will be open to access later today.



Updated: Silencing the Twittering...

Twitter blocked in Turkey over leaked evidence of alleged government corruption

Link Here 28th March 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey has blocked Twitter after its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to "root out" the social media network where wiretapped recordings have been leaked. These records were reported to reveal government corruption, hardly what the government needs ahead of local elections.

Twitter as blocked by Turkey's telecommunications censor (TIB) with a statement citing court orders relating to the recordings. But the Internet Technologies Board, BTK claimed nonsense about it being to avoid the possible future victimisation of citizens.

Erdogan had made repeated threats to shut down social media sites after audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption were leaked. Two weeks ago he suggested that a total ban on sites like Facebook and YouTube were in his thoughts. The point was dismissed days later by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, but Erdogan then repeated his claims. We will wipe out all of these, Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a political rally.

Offsite Article: Turkey's Twitter Ban Collapse Fueled By VPNs and DNS Tricks

23rd March 2013. See article from

Friday's news that the Turkish government had banned its citizens from accessing Twitter was depressing but an opportunity to be embraced. Forewarned is forearmed, and the fact that Turks are learning how to beat censorship with VPNs and DNS tricks better prepares them for the future.

...Read the full article

Update: Deeper blocking

24th March 2013. See  article from

Turkey has stepped up its efforts to block access to Twitter after many users found ways to flout its ban. Internet service providers in the country are now blocking the addresses used by the site, making it significantly more difficult to get around the restrictions, analysts have said.

Initially, Turkish internet service providers (ISPs) were simply redirecting traffic to a government webpage by forcing the DNS servers, which send to the correct IP addresses for the site they are trying to access, to redirect away from Twitter's homepage.

Now, however, ISPs have begun blocking the IP addresses used by Twitter themselves, according to an analysis carried out by internet monitoring firm Renesys. And a Turkish government webpage confirmed the block, citing court orders.

Update: Court overturns government censorship

27th March 2013. See  article from

Turkish Twitter users are expected to regain access to the website after a local court issued a stay of execution on last week's decision by a local telecommunications authority to ban the website.

According to some local media reports, the ban will be lifted as soon as the administrative court in Ankara informs Turkey s Telecommunications Authority of the ruling.

In a first official remark, deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc, said the Turkish government would implement the court ruling:

We will implement the court's decision. We might not like the court decision, but we will carry it out.

Update: YouTube blocked

28th March 2013. See  article from

The Turkish government reinforced its heavily criticised censorship of social media by blocking YouTube a week after it restricted access to the micro-blogging platform Twitter. The latest curbs came hours after an audio recording of a high-level security meeting was leaked on the video-sharing website.

Several similarly incriminating recordings, allegedly showing massive government corruption and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's direct influence on the media, have been leaked on social media in recent weeks. Erdogan has dismissed the allegations as lies and blackmail, accusing the opposition of trying to undermine the success of his Justice and Development party (AKP) ahead of critical local elections on Sunday.

Update: Tor website blocked

28th March 2013. See  article from

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an continues to double down on Internet censorship. A week after Turkish ISPs blocked Twitter Turkey's telecommunications authority has blocked YouTube . The block began to be rolled out hours after a leaked recording published anonymously on YouTube purported to show a conversation in which Turkey's foreign minister, spy chief, and a top general appear to discuss scenarios that could lead to a Turkish attack against militants in Syria.

The fallout from the Erdogan government's censorship spree has not been limited to platforms that host embarrassing political content. When Turkish Internet users handily circumvented the original Twitter block by using Google's DNS servers, Google's DNS was itself blocked. Now it appears that just as Turkey's ISPs are rolling out a block on YouTube, they are also blocking access to the Tor Project's website , where users can download the Tor Browser Bundle. The Tor browser is a powerful tool in the censorship circumvention toolbox because it is exceptionally difficult to filter Tor traffic . Mirror Mirror

For users in Turkey who have already downloaded the Tor Browser Bundle, censorship circumvention should continue without a hitch. And for the users who have not yet done so, it's not too late. The Tor project's website has many mirrors:

Update: TV station closed down

29th March 2013. See  article from

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTU K) has suspended the national broadcast license of Kanaltu rk TV, citing an administrative decision from years ago, a legal controversy that adds to concerns that state agencies are stepping up a clampdown on any voice critical of the government.

The decision came as the government dragged its feet on lifting the Twitter ban, which was deemed illegal and unconstitutional by both an Ankara court and the Constitutional Court. The government's tightening grip on any form of media is of serious concern ahead of local elections.

RTUK cited a 2010 decision of an administrative court which states the TV station cannot broadcast nationally but is allowed to broadcast regionally.

Update: ...But Erdogan still gets the country's support in elections

1st April 2013.  See  article from

Erdogan's increasingly Islamist and imperialist AKP won a solid majority in voting across Turkey on Sunday, in what is seen as a referendum on his rule

In Sunday's vote across Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an's increasingly Islamist and imperialistic Justice and Development AK party appeared to receive an overwhelming majority of the votes cast.



Updated: Hat Tip to Hitler...

Turkish parliament passes law allowing government to block any website without court oversight

Link Here27th February 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The Turkish government has pushed draconian internet censorship legislation through parliament. The new law was met with outrage in Turkey, with opposition parties accusing the government of wanting to introduce ever tighter control by bypassing the courts.

The regulations were adopted after a heated parliamentary debate during which one MP of the main opposition People's Republican party (CHP) compared the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Hitler. Hasan Oren said:

When you came into power you talked of increasing democracy in Turkey, but now you are trying to implement fascism. Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power.

The law now needs to be signed by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, to come into effect.

The new measures will allow Turkey's telecommunications authority (TIB) to block any website within 24 hours without first seeking a court ruling. The law also obliges internet providers to store all data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request.

Update: Signed into law

19th February 2013.  From

Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul has signed into force a repressive law voted in by the government that would introduce further censorship of web use.

Gul said on his Twitter feed he promulgated the law - which the opposition and rights groups say infringes on citizens' freedoms - after the government assured him it would soften parts of it through later amendments. He claimed:

I am aware of the problems mainly on two points.... These concerns will be taken into account in the new law

The government is now proposing that the internet censors of TIB will have to inform a judge about any decision to block a web page, according to the Hurriyet newspaper. The judge would then have to issue a ruling within 48 hours or the TIB move would be deemed invalid.

Update: Protests

23rd February 2013. From

Police used water canon and tear gas on Saturday against hundreds of people protesting against a new Internet law introducing even more censorship for Turkish surfers.

Protesters threw glass bottles, stones and other objects in the direction of heavily armed police officers, who made several arrests. Later Saturday evening the demonstrators erected barricades and lit fires in garbage cans. The protests are taking place in Istanbul's main shopping area in Istiklal street, near Taksim Square, the site of clashes between protesters and police in August.

Update: Amended

27th February 2013. From

The Turkish Parliament has amended the Internet censorship bill that has caused outrage in Turkey.

The bill was approved by President Abdullah Gul last week, but he asked lawmakers to revise several articles he considered to be anti-democratic. One of the points he highlighted was the need to seek a court order for blocking websites in the hope of avoiding arbitrary decisions.

Two articles of the controversial Internet censorship law which were considered problematic by the president have been changed three weeks after the bill was approved in Parliament.

According to the changes, the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) will be able to obtain Internet traffic data only with a court order, except when there is the threat of cyber attack or viruses. The TIB will now need the decision to block content to be approved by a criminal court of peace within 24 hours and the court will have 48 hours in which to reach a decision.



Update: Blocking Protest...

Turkish police violently disperse crowds protesting at internet censorship

Link Here10th February 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Police in Turkey have fired water cannon and teargas to disperse hundreds of people protesting in  Istanbul, against new repressive controls on the internet approved by parliament this week.

Demonstrators hurled firecrackers and stones on Saturday at police officers who cordoned off Taksim Square in the centre of the city.

The new powers, once approved by the president, will let authorities block web pages within hours on their own authority.

The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ludicrously claimed that censorship rules would not impose censorship:

These regulations do not impose any censorship at all on the Internet ... On the contrary, they make it safer and freer.



Update: Internet Dictators...

Turkish internet users protest against repressive censorship bill

Link Here 19th January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkish police used water cannon and fired teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters that gathered in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Saturday for a rally calling against a bill that would extend government censorship of the Internet.

Smaller rallies have been held around Turkey including the capital Ankara and coastal city of Izmir. In Ankara about 300 protesters gathered chanting slogans opposing the government and the internet bill, calling the Turkish prime minister a dictator.

Activists have called for protests against the law further limiting the use of the Internet and social media. The campaign is circulating the internet with the hashtag #sansu redurde.

The bill that includes the controversial law was backed by a Turkish parliamentary committee on Thursday. It will be discussed by the National Assembly next week.

The new legislation allows government ministers to block websites deemed to infringe privacy, as well as force internet providers to retain information on their users, for up to two years. The bill also mandates ISPs to restrict access to proxy sites, making circumventing the censorship nearly impossible.

The new legislation also raises fines for not removing the content requested by the authorities. If the content is not removed within 24 hours after the request, it will be blocked by the Telecommunications Directorate (TI.B). In addition, web hosting services will be required to become part of a state-controlled association.



Update: Turkish Internet to get Constipated...

Turkey steps up its internet censorship via increased surveillance, website licensing and quicker website blocking which is required to be more robust against circumvention techniques

Link Here 15th January 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey's top business group has warned that a government-led bill to increase control over the Internet is worrying and the planned regulations might lead to wide censorship of the Internet.

In a written statement, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSI.AD) noted the issues of freedom of speech, intellectual property and personal secrecy on the Internet should be delicately handled.

The TUSI.AD noted access to thousands of websites has been blocked since Law No. 5651, widely known as the Internet Law of Turkey, came into effect in July, 2007:

The law, which results in limiting the individual's fundamental rights and freedoms, has also been subject to a 'rights violation' ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, the statement read. In such a situation, the planned amendments to the law are concerning and will increase censorship on the Internet. The draft should be cleared of articles that could harm the fundamental rights and freedoms and the Internet economy that is growing every day.

Some articles added to an omnibus bill submitted to Parliament last week will permit authorities to limit access to the Internet and monitor all actions by individuals online and keep such records for two years. The draft law will permit officials to limit keywords searches more easily, meaning access to videos on video-sharing websites such as YouTube that include keywords deemed problematic by Turkish authorities will be blocked.

All individuals' Internet records, including details about what sites they have visited, which words they have searched for on the web and what activity they have engaged in on social networking websites, will be kept for one or two years, according to the draft law.

Websites will be forced to join some sort of registration body controlled by the government. In addition the government has specified that ISPs must censor nominated websites more quickly, and for the implemented blocking to be more robust against simple circumvention techniques currently used by Turkish people to work around government censorship.



Update: Grinding Them Down...

Turkey blocks gay dating app, Grindr

Link Here 12th September 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Gay dating app Grindr has been censored and blocked in Turkey, reported KAOS G L, the main Turkish LGBT association.

According to an online message displayed when attempting to access Grinder from Turkey, the block has been ordered by the 14th Criminal Court of Istanbul as a as a supposed protection measure.

KAOS GL's lawyer, Hayriye Kara, commented: The court decision is not published online and so we have no access to the  reason for the censorship:

It is most likely related to 'general morality', an ambiguous term used often against trans sex workers.



Update: Twitter is a Scourge to Turkey...

Turkey asks Twitter to open an office in the country

Link Here 28th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

The Turkish government has asked Twitter to set up an office inside the country so that it can be better pressurised into identifying users that the government doesn't like.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously described Twitter as a scourge . Now, Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildrim said:

When information is requested, we want to see someone in Turkey who can provide this. There needs to be an interlocutor we can put our grievance to and who can correct an error if there is one.

Twitter declined to respond to the government request on Wednesday, but a person familiar with the company said it had no current plans to open an office in that country.



Offsite Article: Twitter and Facebook Blocked in Turkey...

Link Here 5th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
So internet users take to VPNs in response to the government censorship

See article from



Update: Blocked and Abused...

Turkey found to be abusing human rights in blocking many Google Sites so as to block just one that was the subject of a complaint

Link Here 5th February 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

In the case of  Yildrim v Turkey  the European Court of Human Rights decided that a Court order blocking access to "Google Sites" in Turkey was a violation of Article 10.

Yildrim owned and ran a website hosted by the Google Sites service, on which he published his academic work and his opinions on various matters.  On 23 June 2009 the Denizli Criminal Court of First Instance ordered the blocking of an Internet site whose owner had been accused of insulting the memory of Atatürk . The order was issued as a preventive measure in the context of criminal proceedings against the site's owner.

The blocking order was submitted for execution to the Telecommunications Directorate (TiB). Shortly afterwards, the TiB asked the court to extend the scope of the order by blocking access to Google Sites, which hosted not only the site in question but also the applicant's site. The TiB stated that this was the only technical means of blocking the offending site, as its owner was located abroad.

The TiB blocked all access to Google Sites and Yildrim was thus unable to access his own site. All his subsequent attempts to remedy the situation were unsuccessful because of the blocking order issued by the court.

The court decided that \the effects of the measure in question had been arbitrary and the judicial review of the blocking of access had been insufficient to prevent abuses. There had therefore been a violation of Article 10 of the Convention.  The court held that Turkey was to pay the applicant 7,500 euros (EUR) in respect of non pecuniary damage.


15th December

Update: Regressing...

Turkey quick to include the religious censorship of evolution in its new web blocking programme
Evolution, apparently, ranks alongside pornography and terrorism as topics that the Turkish government's controversial new Internet filtering scheme keeps out of the hands of children.

Internet users in Turkey were surprised yesterday to find that several educational Web sites about evolution were inaccessible. After Hurriyet Daily News reported the censorship, the government reversed the block. But science advocates and Internet freedom activists say it's a worrying sign of the government's attitude toward evolution.

Turkey's filtering program, which was launched at the end of November, has drawn broad criticism because it filters sites about political opposition to the government and blocks sites that go against conveniently undefined Turkish values .

Internet users have the option to select either a family, or child, or standard level of censorship. The Turkish Information Technologies and Communication Authority sets the content of each of these options.

Aykut Kence, a biologist at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, told ScienceInsider in an e-mail that antievolution Web sites developed by Harun Yahya remained accessible without any restriction. Yahya is the pen name of Adnan Oktar, a religious activist who writes creationist textbooks for children and sends them to schools across Europe.


3rd December

Update: First Impressions...

Banning websites by keywords makes for an arbitrary new system of website blocking for families in Turkey
An Internet content filtering system that Turkey's Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK) introduced on 22 November is proving controversial.

Although use of the filtering system is optional, it is misleading. It is supposed to protect Internet users, especially minors from objectionable content by censoring certain keywords. But tests of the new system have established that access to websites is being blocked arbitrarily.

The BTK wants us to believe that, by giving Internet users a choice, it is not practicing censorship, Reporters Without Borders said:

Claiming that use of this filtering system makes an Internet connection secure is disgraceful. Some websites may be inaccessible but that does not make the Internet connection any safer.

The proposed solution is not fit for purpose and threatens online free expression, as the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled a week ago, above all because of the risk of overblocking. If only porn is supposed to be blocked, why are terms related to Kurdish separatist movements, for example, on the list of censored keywords?

We condemn a policy of backdoor censorship. The BTK must abandon this system, which is reinforcing Internet censorship in Turkey.

Anyone can sign up for the filtering system, which comes in a family version and a child version. So far only 22,000 of the country's 11.5 million Internet users have signed up.

The filtering criteria are defined by a commission consisting of 11 members. As most of them are government officials, the commission's independence and impartiality are questionable. It has so far drawn up a list of 130 harmful keywords in Turkish, English and German. The list includes pornography, sex, and Verbot (the German word for ban ). It also includes such words as mother-in-law, incest and even gay.

This eclectic and often discriminatory list will extend the censorship to ordinary news websites and prevention campaign sites, while encouraging homophobia. Keywords related to separatist political groups such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) are also filtered, which clearly shows that the BTK is not just targeting online porn.

Yaman Akdeniz, deputy head of the law faculty at Istanbul's Bilgi University and founder of Cyber-Rights, said that the child version blocks access to Facebook and the online video-sharing website YouTube. Facebook cannot be accessed with the family version either, unless the user specifically requests access. Akdeniz said blocking a five-year-old child's access to YouTube is understandable, but denying access for adolescents over 14 is exaggerated.


22nd November

Update: Dark Days...

Turkish website blocking due to come into force today
A new internet censorship regime was originally planned to be introduced three months ago, but was postponed until November 22 for technical reasons, according to the government.

In the meantime, tens of thousands of Turks have held protests across the country under the motto Hands off my Internet! Media outlets and Internet forums have also sharply criticized the plan.

Turkish officials have claimed that the website blocking is voluntary, but organisations that have researched into the implementation say that this is not the case. The government also claims that the censorship would protect children and youth from objectionable content on the Internet. In addition, separatist propaganda by groups such as the PKK Kurdish rebel organization is also to be banned.

An 11-member government commission came up with the list of more than 130 search terms deemed harmful. Internet freedom advocates criticized the group's composition, as it was composed exclusively of officials from the ministries of information and family, and did not include any independent experts. Among the banned search words are the English terms porno, sex, adult, fetish, escort, mature and gay, as well as the Turkish words for naked, hot, sister-in-law, mother-in-law, stepmother and incest. Curiously enough, the German word Verbot (ban) is also forbidden.

According to findings from the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders, access to more than 7,000 Web portals could be either completely blocked or heavily limited. Tthis could also include several online services provided by Google, Myspace and the video service Vimeo.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called the blocking another dimension of censorship, and said it would limit the individual rights to freedom of information.

The Alternative Information Technologies Association has filed a petition with Turkey's highest administrative court to cancel the blocking legislation, saying the measure is not voluntary, as claimed.

Joe McNamee, of European Digital Rights, an advocacy group based in Brussels also interprets the blocking as being mandatory, he says calling Web blocking voluntary is far easier politically.

Yaman Akdeniz, a Turkish human rights expert and professor at Bilgi University in Istanbul, said the blocking was a cornerstone for further censorship of the Internet.

Deutsche Welle report that there is doubt that the blocking will actually come into effect as on November 22.


8th November

Update: Legal Blocks...

The state of play of Turkey's opt in/out website filtering

Turkey's controversial opt in/out website blocking system was developed within the Draft Bill on Principles and Procedures for the Safe Use of the Internet as published by the Council of Information Technologies and Telecommunication (BTK) on 22 February 2011.

Assistant Prof Kerem Altiparmak, member of staff at the Ankara University Faculty of Political Sciences, explained in a statement:

Bianet filed a case with the Council of State requesting to halt the execution of the Draft on Principles and Procedures for the Safe Use of the Internet that was going to be enforced on 22 August.

Very probably, the BTK contacted the Council of State as a result of the trial. Then, the BTK made a few amendments in the draft and postponed the application to 22 November.

The Council of State did not dismiss bianet's request to stall the application because it was considered unjust but because the regulations the request was based on have been changed. In administrative procedures, a trial is being opened once. As the result of the case filed by bianet and the reactions of the public, the administration understood that the regulations were contrary to the law and amended them.

The lawyer pointed to the changes in the regulation: The obligation to choose one of the four [filter] profiles has been removed. Furthermore, it was decided that a delegation of ten experts defines the contents of the internet packages. In the previous regulation the BTK could act the way they wanted.

Altinparmak announced to file another case against the amended regulation that is going to be enforced on 22 November. He also said that they were going to claim the cost of the previous trial from the administration.

If this trial should be rejected as well, they will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the lawyer indicated.

To summarise:

  • The original August 22nd 2011 implementation did not go ahead after legal challenge by ISP Bianet
  • The government watered down the website blocking proposals a bit and delayed the implementation until 22nd November 2011
  • Bianet are still not happy and will launch another legal case ahead of the 22nd November implementation date


22nd August

Update: Censorship and Snitching...

Turkey implements internet blocking and ISP reporting of access to banned sites

Turkey's repressive Internet blocking plan, which has drawn criticisms from rights groups, the European Union and web users in Turkey, will come into force Monday.

Based on the Rules and Procedures for the Safety of Internet Use regulation approved by the Prime Ministry's Information and Communication Technologies Authority, or BTK, in February, Internet users in Turkey will be given the option of signing up for one of two Internet packages: family or children. The list of websites filtered by each package will be decided by the BTK, but will not be made public.

According to the BTK, those who decide against using a filter will be able to continue accessing the Internet normally. However, the new plan also a very nasty sting in its tail. Accessing the BTK's banned sites, according to the plan, will be considered a criminal offense, and service providers will be responsible for reporting people who attempt to access the banned sites. Otherwise, they themselves will be charged with heavy financial penalties.

BTK Chairman Tayfun Acarer claimed the new plan will be launched to protect the youth and children from accessing dangerous and obscene content on the Internet.

A commission of 11 people, determined by the Family and Social Policies Ministry, will determine the block lists. However, no criteria have been defined by the BTK as to how the blacklist will be determined. The commission doesn't include any legal experts or news media or communication experts, NTVMSNBC technology editor Noyan Ayan told the Hu rriyet Daily News. Plus we still do not know who determines how and what sites will be banned. Experts say that Turkey's new Internet cyber censorship system is similar to the one used in China.


2nd June

Update: Censorship Beyond the Law...

Turkey blocks a million websites from access in internet cafes

Turkey's internet censor TIB has the authority to block all websites that relate to prostitution, child pornography, gambling, and promoting suicide. Furthermore, the TIB has also blocked access to more than one-million websites in internet cafes, without even any administrative (warnings) procedures.

It was discovered that many blocked websites have not even breached any of the crimes in the scope of the crime catalogue . For instance, a large number of associations, swimwear companies, shipping companies, model agencies, radio stations, automotive companies, websites of designers, and even some online dictionary/translation websites...

The list of banned websites does not end there. A list of websites that have previously been blocked and re-opened includes some of the world's most accessed websites such as Google, BBC News, Dailymotion, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, FHM, Superonline , Human Rights Association, Bilyoner gaming website etc.

Dr. Yaman Akdeniz said:

In expressing his views on the filtering in internet cafes, Akdeniz explains that TIB has the authority to bar any given website within the scope of the law (for instance displaying child-pornography and/or obscenity etc) without needing a court order; however, he identifies that TIB is abusing such authority. To filter many websites without them having broken the law is beyond the scope of Law 5651 and the TIB's authority. As such, it can only be recognised as arbitrary administrative measures and censorship .


See  article from

Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament from the Liberal group, submitted questions to the European Commission regarding the proposed legal imposition of an online filtering system and structural domain-name blocking in Turkey.

In her question paper, Schaake asked the commission what concrete actions it would take regarding the Turkish government to address its concerns about the proposed censorship of the Internet ... and the overall increasing deterioration in freedom of the press in Turkey.

Saying that an uncensored, free Internet is essential for a free and open society, Schaake said she posed her questions to the commission because she believe[s] the latest censorship [in Turkey] may well be in conflict with the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession.

The proposed online filtering system violates the people's right to information, restricts freedom of expression and is a threat for democracy, Schaake said.


17th May

Updated: We will not Bow to Censorship...

Turkey protests against mandatory ISP blocking options

Thousands of people in Turkey took to the streets yesterday to protest government plans for compulsory internet filtering.

All connections in the country will have to choose between four different levels of interference in their internet access.

There were demonstrations in Istanbul and 40 cities around the country. Thousands of people carried banners marked Yes we ban! and We will not bow to censorship .

The Information Technologies Board is proposing people choose a child profile, family profile, domestic or standard profile for their connection. It is also proposing a ban on certain words from internet addresses.

Update: 50,000 Protestors

17th May 2011. Based on article from
See also The Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, May 15th, 2011 from

Thousands have gathered in more than 30 cities around Turkey in order to protest a new system of Internet censorship.

Protesters in Taksim Square in Istanbul called the action, which government related regulators claim is intended to protect minors, an assault on personal freedom and liberty and an act of censorship in Turkey.

Protesters organized coordinated demonstrations on social networking sites such as Facebook in dozens of cities around Turkey on Sunday. They carried posters reading Don't touch my Internet! during a march down I.stanbul's I.stiklal Street, which was attended by ten-thousands. Among the slogans people cheered, The Internet is ours and will remain ours! . In addition to street protests, about one million people joined campaigns organised online to protest the new regulation, which is claimed to mark the death of Internet in Turkey. The filtering is considered to be as unlawful and arbitrary .


6th May

Update: The Death Warrant of the Internet...

Turkey tries to defend optional internet filtering from criticism

Responding to criticism that ISP website blocking, which is set to be implemented this summer, would turn the internet into a government-controlled structure, a Turkish official claimed that the control will be with users.

Tayfun Acerer, the head of the Prime Ministry's Information Technologies Board, or BTK, claims The new regulations are for the benefit of users

Under a decision on Rules and Procedures of the Safety of Internet Use, approved by the BTK in February, Internet users in Turkey will have to choose one of four Internet packages:

  • children: the most restrictive
  • family
  • domestic: all websites from outside Turkey are blocked
  • standard: currently blocked sites will continue to be blocked, but the voluntary blocks will not be applied

The blocking options will be implemented starting Aug. 22.

The news portal has filed a complaint to the Council of State, arguing that existing Turkish legislation gives the BTK no authority to make and enforce such a decision. According to the Washington-based advocacy group Freedom House, Internet censorship is on the rise in Turkey, where around 5,000 websites have been banned since 2001.

If we define the current structure of the Internet as the standard profile, then the changes can be seen as an addition to the current structure, Acerer said. He added that the BTK would decide the cost for subscribing to a particular package, but the actual transfer will be free of charge.

Users can either choose to continue with their current profile, or switch to another package, Acerer said, adding that the standard package will apply by default and that users who want to switch to another package will have to request it.

Republican People's Party, or CHP, deputy leader Emrehan Halici said Thursday that the new regulations are the death warrant of the Internet in Turkey.

Some 400,000 people will gather in several provinces of Turkey to protest the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, or BTK, which previously unveiled a content-filtering plan. The rally in Istanbul will take place on Istiklal Avenue's Galatasaray Square on May 15, bearing the catchphrase Don't touch my Internet.


30th April

Update: 'Free' is a Banned Word in Turkey...

Turkish internet censors list 138 words that trigger URL blocking

A request made by the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate, or TIB, to ban a total of 138 words from Turkish Internet domain names has no legal basis and has left companies unsure of what action to take, according to experts.

Providing a list and urging companies to take action to ban sites that contain the words and threatening to punish them if they don't has no legal grounds, Yaman Akdeniz, a cyber-rights activist and a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, told the Hu rriyet Daily News. Akdeniz said no authority could decide that an action was illegal just by association.

The TIB cited the Internet ban law number 5651 and related legislation as the legal ground for its request. The law, however, does not authorize firms to take action related to banning websites.

The hosting company is not responsible for controlling the content of the websites it provides domains to or researching/exploring on whether there is any illegal activity or not. They are responsible for removing illegal content when they are informed and there is the technical possibility of doing so, according to Article 5 of the law.

The list of banned words has caused many scratching of heads

The effect of the TIB's request could see the closure of many websites that include a number of words. For example, the website ( could be banned because the domain name has the word animal in it; likewise,, ( could be closed down because of the word anal. Websites will also be forbidden from using the number 31 in their domain names because it is slang for male masturbation.

Some banned English words include beat, escort, homemade, hot, nubile, free and teen. Some other English words would also be banned because of their meanings in Turkish: pic, short for picture, is banned because it means bastard in Turkish. The past tense of the verb get is also banned because got means butt in Turkish. Haydar, a very common Alevi name for men, is also banned because it means penis in slang.

Gay , naked, confession, high school student, breath and forbidden are some of the other banned words.


11th February

 Offsite: Hammering in the Wedge in the Turkey...

Reports from Turkey about website blocking creep

See article from


4th November

Update: Naughty Politicians...

YouTube only made a brief return to Turkey

Turkey has reinstated its block on YouTube – this time because it is showing a naughty clip of an opposition politician in a hotel bedroom with a female party member.

Access to YouTube from Turkey was reinstated at the weekend after clips insulting the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were removed on copyright grounds. According to Turkish law, it is illegal to insult Ataturk. Google then decided the vids were not infringing anyone's copyright after all, and put them back on the site.

But a court in Ankara ruled that Turkey's telecoms ministry should again block access, Bloomberg reported.


2nd November

Update: Copyright Claims on Turkish Insult Rejected...

YouTube may have only made a brief return to Turkey

Despite the earlier news that Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube after almost 2.5 years, YouTube reinstated the four videos that were removed by a licensing agency in Germany.

YouTube, in a statement circulated in Turkish  stated that the four videos did not violate its copyright violation policy and therefore they were put back into the system.

I did verify the statement and the four videos are available where they were used to be available. YouTube also announced that it continues to use a local blocking system and therefore Turkish users will not be able to see these videos from Turkey if YouTube remains accessible from Turkey. However, those videos will be available and accessible from outside Turkey.

I remains to be seen how the Turkish authorities will react to this action by YouTube but I strongly suspect that they will issue a new injunction to block access to YouTube.


31st October

Update: Copyright Claimed on Turkish Insult...

YouTube returns to Turkey

Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube, two years after it blocked access to the website because of videos deemed insulting to the country's founder.

Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, who is in charge of internet issues, said the government had been in contact with Google, which owns YouTube.

Yildirim said there was no longer any reason to ban the website, because the offending videos had been removed.  I hope that [Google] have also learned from this experience and the same thing will not happen again. YouTube will hopefully carry out its operations in Turkey within the limits of law in the future, he added.

The video clip prompting the ban was reportedly posted by Greek users of the website and dubbed Ataturk and Turks homosexuals.

In a statement, YouTube said that it had received reports that some users in Turkey were once again able to access its content. We want to be clear that a third party, not YouTube, have apparently removed some of the videos that have caused the blocking of YouTube in Turkey using our automated copyright complaint process, it explained. We are investigating whether this action is valid in accordance with our copyright policy, the company added.


12th October

Update: A Sense of Proportion...

Turkey opposition leader wants to ban Facebook over one insulting group

The 22.5 million Turkish members of Facebook may lose access to the popular social-networking site, Facebook, as a result of a court case filed by an opposition leader.

A government minister who has defended Turkey's bans on YouTube and other popular websites hinted that Facebook could share the same fate.

The latest Internet controversy was sparked when lawyers for Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) filed a criminal complaint over a Facebook group claiming that the opposition leader was a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Addressing rumors that Facebook might be banned as a result, Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said that 30 judicial decisions had been issued to ban the site in Turkey.

The minister said Turkey is a state of law and that the government cannot intervene in the decisions made by the judiciary.

Yıldırım has previously made similar comments about the banning of video- sharing portal YouTube, arguing that its parent company, Google, should open an office in Turkey, pay taxes and answer the legal demands regarding its content. YouTube has been banned in the country by several court orders acting on complaints about content insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.


18th July

Update: Unblocking Turkish Censorship...

Istanbul street protest against website blocking

Over 2,000 protesters marched in Turkey's largest city Istanbul against strict internet censorship in the country.

The protesters were demanding that a law preventing access to over 5,000 internet sites banned in Turkey be repealed.

They chanted slogans for removing the ban on video-sharing website YouTube and against the transportation minister, whose ministry is responsible for website bans, Xinhua reported.

Don't touch the internet, pull away your hand, the protesters shouted.

The protest was organised by the Common Platform Against Internet Censorship, a platform of over 50 organisations.

There was always dissatisfaction with internet censorship, but this was the first time people poured out into the streets, Ozgur Uckan of Bilgi University, one of the organisers of the rally, said.


12th June

Updated: Googling for Slow...

Turkey puts all Google sites on a slow access proxy implementing selective blocking

Turkey has put all Google services on a bad boys internet list leading to partial, blocking, slow access and timeouts.

The latest access restrictions seem related to the government's ongoing attempts to block YouTube. Access to Google's video service was cut off in 2008 after complaints that videos critical of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk — the founder of modern Turkey — were available on the YouTube site. Criticism of Turkey, or any insult to Turkishness, is a criminal offence in that country.

A Google spokesman said in an emailed statement:

We have received reports that some Google applications are unable to be accessed in Turkey. The difficulty in accessing some Google services in Turkey appears to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube. We are working to get our services back up as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a report at a website called The National Turk, which appears to be based at least in part on news stories from the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, says that:

The Telecommunication and communication Ministry (TIB), a government body that can control Internet accessibility in Turkey is attempting to block certain IP's (Internet Protocol Addresses) belonging to Google due to legal reason . Some ADSL company's and Internet services providers have sent their customers E-mail's and letters informing them of inaccessibility or the slow use of certain Google services [sic throughout].

ISPs in the country have reportedly told users that they would suffer accessibility problems to Google's home page in Turkey, websites that use Google Analytics, and use of the Google Toolbar. Another Turkish news site, Hurriyet Daily News, says that the access restrictions could be a result of the government trying to block specific DNS addresses that relate to Google, as part of its ongoing attempts to block YouTube.

According to reports from Turkish news sources, the government is saying that Google is responsible for the range of IP addresses that are being blocked due to the court order regarding YouTube, and therefore it is up to the company to correct the problem.

Update: Academics to Appeal Against Turkish Google Ban

11th June 2010. Based on article from

Media Freedom Activists Bring Lawsuit against Google Ban

Yaman Akdeniz from Bilgi University and Kerem Altiparmak from Ankara University will appeal to tban on certain Google services imposed by the Telecommunication Communication Presidency.

The Ankara 1st Magistrate Criminal Court had banned access to the global social networking site, the video service owned by Google, with a decision from 4 May 2008. In order to increase the effect of this decision, certain services of Google which are activated under the same IP numbers are blocked now as well.

Yaman Akdeniz told bianet that he was not sure whether this problem could be overcome. The access to Google Analytics has become very troublesome, Akdeniz said to name just one example. Google Analytics offers web analytics for enterprises to gain insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

Akdeniz emphasized that the actual problem is based on the latest implementations of TI.B to make access to Google services more difficult and even fully block access in certain situations: This application is exaggerated. YouTube has been blocked anyways. New measures to make access even more difficult are harming the other Google services. This is nothing else but censorship. This is an extreme and contradictory application which is unacceptable in a democratic society.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) also condemned the increasing censorship on Google in Turkey: It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows this sort of mass blocking of sites .

Update: Turkish president tweets against Google ban

12th June 2010. Based on article from

Various news publications are reporting that Turkish President Abdullah Gul used Twitter to say that he doesn't agree with the bans and has asked officials to look for ways to get rid of them.

According to Reuters, in a series of Tweets, Gul said:

I know there are lots of complaints about bans on YouTube and Google.

I am definitely against them being closed down. I have ordered responsible institutions for a solution. I asked for a change in regulations on merit.

What's next? Whoever blocked Google will now block Twitter as well?

Update: Appeal Denied

8th July 2010. Based on article from

The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace has not accepted an appeal of the Internet Technology Association (I.NETD) against the ban of the video sharing website YouTube in Turkey.

Evaluating the appeal by the Internet Technology Association, the judge Hayri Keskin insisted on rejecting it as long as objectionable violations of the law continue on the site.


10th March

Update: Coming Up to 2 Years...

Turkish newspaper highlights the ongoing YouTube ban

The Turkish courts banned YouTube in May 2008, and now a new protest campaign launched by the editorial team of the Milliyet newspaper is drawing attention to how long the country has been prevented from using the website.

The initiative, which was was launched on February 19, is not the first campaign of this type. But it's notable because previous protests came from the blogosphere and, as a result, did not receive international coverage. The current ban is the fourth such action by the Turkish courts since 2007; hopefully, this campaign will draw attention to this policy of censorship.

The editors of Milliyet were inspired to act by a February 16 piece in the Wall Street Journal by David Keyes, a founding member of Keyes wrote that there is nothing European, let alone cultural, about prohibiting citizens from viewing YouTube. Turkey's status as the 2010 European 'Capital of Culture' should be suspended until this ban is repealed.

In announcing the protest campaign, Milliyet columnist Mehves, Emin said: Everybody has changed their DNS settings and can access YouTube, just like the Prime Minister does and has said he does. This is why people have become insensitive about this ban. But YouTube is still blocked in Turkey and this affects Turkey's image negatively and this issue needs to be resolved. So as the editorial team of Milliyet Cadde, we agreed to show everyday how many days have passed since the ban.


20th January

Update: Free Speech Blocked...

Turkey criticised for censorial internet blocking

Europe's main security and human rights watchdog said Monday Turkey was blocking some 3,700 Internet sites for arbitrary and political reasons and urged legal reforms to show its commitment to freedom of expression.

Milos Haraszti, media freedom monitor for the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said Turkey's Internet law was failing to preserve free expression in the country and should be reformed or abolished.

In its current form, Law 5651 not only limits freedom of expression, but severely restricts citizens right to access information, Haraszti said in a statement.

He said Turkey, a European Union candidate, was barring access to 3,700 Internet sites, including YouTube, GeoCities and some Google pages, because Ankara's Internet law was too broad and subject to political interests.


1st December

Update: Shared Concerns...

Turkish internet users to challenge YouTube ban in the European Court

Turkey's Internet Technologies Association, or INETD, has applied to the European Court of Human Rights seeking the annulment of a ban imposed on access to a popular video-sharing site.

Access to YouTube has been banned in Turkey since May 5, 2008, after complaints were made about video clips insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of modern Turkey.

INETD President Mustafa Akgl said the group's suit was filed in the name of the public and all those who have suffered as a result of the ban. Turkey is literally waging war on the Internet, said Akgl, adding that the ban on YouTube is in violation of the Constitution and various articles of the European Human Rights Convention.

INETD had exhausted the entire domestic appeal process without any result and was thus forced to apply to the European court last week, the group's president said.

The main aspect of the lawsuit is based on Article 10 of the European convention regarding freedom of expression. The association said that while it is possible to filter and block certain video clips on the Web site, a blanket ban on an international sharing platform is a disproportionate curtailment of freedom of expression.

The ban was issued without any trial and, instead of being a short-term ban, has been in force for more than a year now. There was no attempt to seek an explanation either, Akgl said, calling the ban a legal disaster.


3rd December

Update: Pariah State...

European Parliament delegation compare Turkey to pariah states

A delegation from the European Parliament urged Turkish officials to make the necessary legal arrangements to enhance freedom of expression and eventually lift the ban on access to YouTube.

Banning YouTube, Google's blogging site, the websites of a teachers' trade union, Richard Dawkins and even a Turkish dictionary stands alongside more than 40 cases against writers and journalists even since the reform of the so-called anti-Turkishness article of the penal code, Richard Howitt, the vice president of the European Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee, said in a written statement on Friday.

The British Euro MP called for the ban to be overturned at a meeting with Turkish Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin in Ankara on Thursday, the statement added.

Howitt criticized the ban, saying that around 1,000 websites are blocked in Turkey and this places the country alongside some of the world's worst nations for cyber censorship. As a modern country looking forward to European Union membership, Turkey should be embracing new communications rather than putting itself in the same bracket as some of the world's pariah states, Howitt added in the statement.


31st October

Update: Blocked Bloggers...

Reporters Without Borders condemns Turkey's censorship of Google's blog services

Reporters Without Borders condemns Turkey's censorship of Google's blog services, Blogger and Blogspot, by a magistrate's court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir as a result of a complaint by the Turkish TV station Digitrk. The station claims that video footage over which it has exclusive rights has been posted on blogs hosted by these services.

The blogs on these services were suddenly closed without any warning to users and without any court summonses being issued, Reporters Without Borders said: This is not just about copyright and piracy. This is yet another example of how, in Turkey, entire websites are closed just because of problematic content on a single page or blog. We call for Blogger and Blogspot to be reopened. Their closure has handicapped thousands of Internet users in Turkey.

Access to some 10 websites, including very popular ones such as YouTube, Dailymotion and Google Groups, have been blocked in the course of this year in Turkey as a result of court decisions. In most cases, access was blocked under Law 5651 on the Prevention of Crime Committed in the Information Technology Domain, which was adopted by parliament in May 2007 and took effect the following November.

Reporters Without Borders warned of the danger this law represents for online free expression when it was approved by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on 22 May 2007.

Commenting on the latest developments, Reporters Without Borders said: All this arbitrary blocking of websites has demonstrated that this law is the main source for the deterioration in online free expression. Furthermore, ISPs are forced to do the blocking of access to sites that break this law. This makes them accomplices to censorship.

The press freedom organisation added: We call for Law 5651 to be amended as quickly as possible. Rather than block an entire website, only the content regarded as 'sensitive' should be the challenged before the courts.

List of websites currently blocked in Turkey



17th October

Update: Nonsense Censorship...

Turkey blocks major newspaper website after complaints from creationist nutter

The website of Turkey's third largest-selling newspaper has been blocked after a complaint by an Islamic creationist.

Turkish internet users are now denied access to the Vatan newspaper's website, , after a court decided it had insulted Adnan Oktar, a prolific nutter writer who disputes the theory of evolution. It is believed to be the first major newspaper site to be blocked. About 850 sites are already blocked.

Oktar, who last month successfully had the website of the British evolutionist Richard Dawkins blocked in Turkey, complained that he had been defamed in readers' comments to stories on the online edition of Vatan, a liberal publication.

His spokeswoman, Seda Aral, claimed the comments included obscenities and said the newspaper had ignored requests to remove them. We are trying to protect ourselves, she said: Vatan is always propagating against Mr Oktar and constantly publishes allegations about him. When people read these they are provoked into using these insults against him.

Critics say Turkey's penal code makes it too easy to obtain blocking orders, although in practice prohibitions are often easily overcome through proxy servers.


10th October

Update: Blockmania...

Turkey will block and ban until internet is child safe

Websites will continue to be banned as long as they post content inappropriate for Turkish families, a Turkish minister has said.

Practices are needed to protect young people and the public at large from harmful material online, the Turkish Daily News (TDN) quoted Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim as speaking at the international CeBit Information Technology Summit.

Law 5651 sees as appropriate the establishment of precautions against material that might hurt children, youth and families. If these precautions are not enough, then the law sees a Website ban as necessary, he said.

Turkey is listed together with Tunisia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Iran and Vietnam, as the “black listed” countries that implement government censorship controls.

The purpose of the law was not to actually shut down Websites ...BUT... was to encourage the appropriate use of the Internet for the betterment of society, he added.


3rd October

Update: Blocking Mad...

Turkey owns up to blocking 1112 web sites

The head of Turkey's Telecommunications Board has stated that 1,112 Web sites have been banned in the country since November 2007 following complaints by individuals over content on these sites.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Telecommunications Board President Tayfun Acarer said a center was established within the Postal and Telecommunications Directorate (PTT) on Nov. 23, 2007, allowing people to report Web sites on which they have complaints. He said people also have the option to report their complaints by email or telephone.

This center has received a total of 24,598 complaints since its establishment last year. Following these complaints, 1,112 Web sites, 861 automatically and 251 with judicial decisions, were banned.

Acarer said: The duty of the state is to protect its citizens and warn them against harmful Internet content. He noted that Web site bans are necessary to prevent the public from falling victim to sites with criminal or ignoble intent.

According to Acarer, 12 Web sites were banned because of prostitution, 51 for insulting Atatrk, 79 for gambling, 415 for exploitation of children and 390 for obscenity.


19th September

Update: Creationist Delusion...

Dawkins website blocked in Turkey after comment about inane creationist book

A Turkish court has banned internet users from viewing the official Richard Dawkins website after a Muslim creationist claimed its contents were defamatory and blasphemous.

Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pen name of Harun Yahya, complained that Dawkins, a fierce critic of creationism and intelligent design, had insulted him in comments made on forums and blogs.

According to Oktar's office, Istanbul's second criminal court of peace banned the site earlier this month on the grounds that it "violated" Oktar's personality.

His press assistant, Seda Aral, said: We are not against freedom of speech or expression ...BUT... you cannot insult people. We found the comments hurtful. It was not a scientific discussion. There was a line and the limit has been passed. We have used all the legal means to stop this site. We asked them to remove the comments but they did not.

Oktar, a household name in Turkey, has used hundreds of books, pamphlets and DVDs to contest Darwin's theory of evolution. In 2006 his publishers sent out 10,000 copies of the Atlas of Creation, a lavish book rejecting evolution on every one of its 800 pages.

Dawkins, one of the recipients, described the book as preposterou ". On his website the British biologist and popular science writer said he was at a loss to reconcile the expensive and glossy production values of this book with the breathtaking inanity of the content.


11th September

Update: Delusion in Turkey...

Richard Dawkins atheist website blocked in Turkey

The atheist website has been blocked in Turkey where viewers encounter a white screen saying: Access to this site has been denied by court order.

However there has been no official explanation of the ban. Suggestions for the ban include hacking and a comment that might have offended the litigation happy muslim creationist, Adnan Oktar, or Harun Yahya.

The block seems to be easily worked around using proxies or open DNS servers outside of Turkey.


18th August

Update: Klipped...

More websites blocked in Turkey

After the internet sites and dailymotion, the access to the site of is denied to the internet users in Turkey.

The latest victim is another video sharing site, However, it is not possible to find out how, when and why the access to this site is banned by going to the site itself.

Those who visit the site are greeted by the sentence that The access to this site is barred by a court decision.

The internet site of is also banned without any justification. Ankara’s 11th High Criminal Court banned, a site about the Kurdish problem, on August 7 without any justification.

According to one of the site authorities, Ramazan Pekg๖z, their site has been closed by court orders four times so far. He says that nobody gives them any explanation about the situation. Since it is a very long process to remove this court order, they simply continue their existence by changing names.


17th August

 Offsite: Turkish Delight in Blocking Websites...

Ongoing blocking of YouTube in Turkey

See article from


22nd June

Update: Head on the Block...

Turkey ranks alongside China for website blocking

A two-day workshop sponsored by the Ankara Bar Association and was organized on June 18 and 19 to discuss Web site censure issues in an attempt to produce possible solutions.

Popular video-sharing Web site YouTube had been banned by court order in Turkey for one-and-a-half months when it was lifted on Tuesday night -- only to be reintroduced at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning through another court decision.

The Web site was banned yet again for hosting a video insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatrk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. The bans on YouTube have been frequent in the past few months, sparking serious debate over a law that regulates Web site content and Internet publishing, which has been criticized for restricting freedom of expression.

The frequent YouTube bans are a major embarrassment for Turkey internationally, as they place the country alongside China, Pakistan and Thailand, the only other countries to ban YouTube so far. By mid-April, 321 Web sites were banned under the Internet Publications Law and another 102 under other laws in Turkey.

The workshop heard of problems with existing Turkish legislation such that Web site owners were not given a chance to defend their Web site content. The law is also very problematic in that its ambiguous description of “obscenity”.

As a remedy, Web site owners attending the workshop suggested partial bans that would block only the illegal content and not the entire site. Experts also suggested that the authority to ban access to Web sites be given to specialized courts only, to avoid arbitrariness in Web site ban rulings.

The major reason for most of these bans, Telecommunications Authority Internet Department head Osman Nihat Sen explained, were complaints filed by individual citizens. Under the law, the police must relay these complaints to prosecutors, who are in turn legally obliged to act on them and launch court processes. The courts, in turn, have to rule in accordance with the current Internet publishing laws, which criminalize ambiguously defined offences, such as insulting Atatrk or encouraging suicide or gambling.

He also said that 10,103 complaints had been registered with the Telecommunications Authority as of June 16. One hundred seventy of these complaints caused a Web site to be blocked by court decision, and 314 more sites were blocked automatically after complaints were received, without resorting to a court. Warnings were issued to 22 Web sites, and inappropriate content was removed, Sen added: We do not have the authority to block Web sites promoting the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]. Even when there are complaints about this kind of content, we cannot remove them. There are also videos insulting the prime minister, Islam and the Turkish flag. Those videos cannot be interfered with, because the law does not say anything about those issues. Turkey behaves like an ostrich, sticking its head in the sand. We have to implement the law.

Law No. 5651 on Internet Publishing is the legal basis of Web site bans in the Turkish Constitution. The law’s Article 8 allows for blocking access to broadcasts for the following reasons: inciting violence, online sexual exploitation of children, encouraging drug use, obscenity, prostitution, enabling means to gambling and crimes stated in Law No. 5816 regarding insulting Atatrk. The Telecommunications Authority can block Web sites with a court decision or at its own initiative.


26th January

Update: Atheism Banned in Turkey...

Atheist website blocked by court order

Today we got a letter from the head of the number one Turkish atheist site which has been removed by the Turkish government twice. Once under the original domain and again under another domain. Unfortunately, the owner is unable to fight this in court because to do so, he would have to identify himself which, if you're familiar, will end up resulting in his head being chopped off by the peaceful and loving Muslims who work for Allah. If you speak Turkish and you are an atheist please support this site: , the most prominent non-profit Turkish web site on atheism and religions was closed for the second time in December 2007, under orders from a Turkish court. was established in 2000 by three young Turkish atheists who devoted themselves to the enlightenment of Turkish people. hosts an online discussion board named Ateistforum , one of the busiest forums for the Turkish speaking online community over the Internet.

Many aspects of are considered to be revolutionary for Turkey. First time in the history of Turkey every conceivable aspect of Islam is being openly, scientifically, honestly and courageously discussed and criticized. Over the years many thousands of articles appeared in the forum, many of which referred to the verses of Koran and Hadits. With the possible exception of Ilhan Arsel and Turan Dursun's studies, Koran had never been criticized in Turkey so much before. In addition to these short communications, numerous satires, short stories, poems, comments and lengthy articles were published. A few years after the inception of, a separate science forum was established and started to enlighten young Turkish minds.

During its lifetime was hacked three times and experienced some serious hosting problems. We survived all of them with flying colors and started over wherever we had left. Last year, however, our web site encountered a different and more ominous kind of problem. In June 2007, without warning, our web site was closed to its Turkish audience with a court order based on a legal action taken by a Turkish creationist named "Adnan Oktar" (now widely known by his pen name "Harun Yahya"Eye-wink. Since was hosted in the US, it remained accessible from abroad, but inaccessible to its main audience in Turkey. If we hired a lawyer and challenged the court order, we probably would have won our case. But we do not want to disclose our identities. This is our biggest weakness. According to our lawyer, there is no way to take a legal action in Turkey and remain anonymous at the same time. Many Turkish intellectuals who were against Islam and outspoken about their views on religion were murdered by Islamic fundamentalists in the past. We do not want to risk our lives.

Since we were unable to challenge the court order, we chose to change our domain name to and remained in operation. We continued to bitterly criticize a Turkish creationist organization called "Science Research Foundation" ("Bilim Arastirma Vakfi" or "BAV"Eye-wink and its honorary president Harun Yahya. In December 2007 (then called was closed to Turkish audience for the second time by another court order.

During 2007 Turkish Telecom has been busy blocking access to many other web sites(*), including YouTube, but they had to back off from YouTube ban due to public outrage.

We know that if Turkish media or Turkish Government is criticized in Europe or US, they listen and pay more attention to it. Becoming a full member of the European Union is crucial for Turks, therefore whenever issues related to democracy, freedom of speech, human rights and alike are raised in the West, they are taken seriously, sometimes even addressed by the government, particularly if the issue is something that affects Turkey's image or credibility in the West. Therefore it is vitally important that we find prominent international allies eager to support our cause by publicizing this issue as much as possible. We need a lot of noise!

Some of the web sites blocked by Turkish Telecom in 2007:

Censor Watch logo





Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information