The Turkish government has long had a fractious relationship with the internet, marked by periodic bans on sites like YouTube for content that contravenes Turkish laws — like the law that makes it an offence to insult Turkishness. But new amendments to the country’s internet legislation that were passed by parliament on Wednesday take this internet-phobia to new levels, and represent an unprecedented attack on the free speech rights of Turkish citizens.
Among other things, the amendments allow the authorities to block access to specific content on the internet with as little as four hours notice, and without a court order. The legislation goes beyond the kind of blanket site-wide banning that Turkey has used in the past against services like YouTube, and allows the government to block specific pieces of content at the URL level, in much the same way that China’s Great Firewall does.
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