Many countries observe tight internet censorship laws but in Turkey they have reached a critical stage. An information technology legal expert and lawyer, Burçak Ünsal, states in his article that government is allowed to censor many critical issues and its use of internet censorship has reached to a dangerous level. Over the past few years, the government has used the internet censorship laws to blackout countless major issues that took place within Turkey such as:
- Soma mine disaster in which 301 miners lost their lives.
- The corruption investigation last year where senior members of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) were implicated.
- The Reyhanlı Bombing in 2013 where over 50 people died.
- The nationwide protest against AK Party.
- The delivery of arms and ammunition to radical groups in Syria by National Intelligence Organization.
- The death of prosecutor Mehmet Kiraz in a hostage situation at a courthouse.
These are some of the issues that have been censored on all major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The internet censorship laws have severely restricted the freedom of expression for Turkish citizens. With social media websites (Twitter & YouTube) constantly being blocked within Turkey, users have to find alternate methods for accessing them (such as VPNs).
The internet censorship laws are not just confined to social media forums but have also stem towards media broadcasters, journalists, and other activists. Many journalists and media executives have been detained, jailed, and fined for raising their voice against the Turkish government (AK Party) and other sensitive topics. According to Ünsal, 503 complaints were filed by April 2014 against the media by the Turkish president.
The constant targeting of media channels and blocking of social media forums have made Turkey one of the worst places for internet users. Suppression of freedom of expression and limited internet accessibility has made the internet censorship laws reach an alarming level that the reciprocations can be very dangerous. Only time will tell whether these laws are relaxed or not, and if there is any respite for Turkish internet users. You can counter the internet censorship with the help of the VPNs provided below:
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