Turkish court approves blocking of Kurdish websites

Turkish court approves blocking of Kurdish websites

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish court approves blocking of Kurdish websites An Ankara Criminal Court of Peace has approved a decision by the country’s government-controlled internet watchdog to block nearly 100 Kurdish and left wing websites on the grounds of making terrorist propaganda.

On July 25, Turkey’s Telecommunications Directorate (TİB) blocked access to a total of 96 Kurdish and left wing news websites, along with 23 Twitter accounts due to “administrative measures” targeting not only websites based in Turkey but also in northern Iraq.

The blocked websites included Rudaw, BasNews, DİHA, ANHA, daily Özgür Gündem, Yüksekova Haber, Sendika.Org and RojNews. 

The TİB’s decision had been presented to the Gölbaşı Criminal Courts of Peace in Ankara for approval, and it was evaluated on the same day.

The court ruled the TİB’s decision to block access to a total of 96 websites that make or promote terrorist propaganda for organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and remove content was legal.

Thanks to a law prepared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and approved in parliament on March 12, Turkish cabinet ministers can remove or block an online publication for “defending the right to live, securing property, ensuring national security and public order, preventing crime or protecting public health.”

The TİB can enforce requests to impose blanket bans within just four hours. The decision should then be approved by the judge of a criminal court of peace within 24 hours. The judge would have to issue a ruling in 48 hours. If no verdict is issued, the ban will automatically be revoked.

Currently, more than 81,000 websites are blocked in Turkey, according to monitoring website Engelli Web.