Turkey 'under surveillance' in 'Enemies of the Internet' list
Hürriyet photoReporters Without Borders placed Turkey "under surveillance" in its annual "Enemies of the Internet" report today.
The media watchdog listed countries that curtail freedom of expression on the web, as well as access to it.
Turkey, along with Russia, was added to the "under surveillance" list for its activities of blocking access to websites, attempting to ban certain search keywords and instituting a centralized filtering system.
Turkey's taboo topics dealt with Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – the founder of modern Turkey – the army, minority issues and the “dignity of the nation,” the report said, adding that these topics had served as justification for blocking several thousand sites.
In its detailed report on Turkey, titled "Censorship in the name of the founder of the Republic," the media watchdog said a total of 15,596 websites were suspended by authorities – double the number in 2011 – citing www.engelliweb.com as a source. The websites were suspended either by court order or by Turkey's Information Technologies and Communications Authority (BTK), the report said. Most of the blocked sites were betting sites or sites with pornographic or pedophiliac content.
The report drew attention to 15 supposedly pro-Kurdish websites that were also banned by court orders in 2011, including Fırat News, gundem-online.net and welat.org.
The BTK's "laughable" attempt to ban searching certain keywords on the web in April was also cited in the report. Keywords included "etek" (skirt), "baldız" (sister-in-law) and "liseli" (high-school student). The attempt had failed after media covered the story to great extent, causing reaction among Internet users.
Reporters Without Borders' report also noted the increasing mobilization of Turkish Internet users against state control over the web, dubbing the "Hands Off My Internet" initiative as "impressive."
To view the full report by Reporters Without Borders, click here.
To view a related article by Reporters Without Borders on Internet censorship in Turkey, click here.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press was incorporated into this report.