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Turkey: Website Bans to Continue

(Oct. 14, 2008) Speaking on October 8, 2008, at an international technology meeting in Istanbul, Turkey's Transportation Minister, Binali Yildirim, said that the practice of banning websites deemed to have inappropriate content will continue. “Practices are needed to protect young people and the public at large from harmful material online,” he stated.

Since the adoption of Law 5651 on the subject in May 2007, more than a thousand Internet sites have been banned; in particular, pornography; material related to terrorism or lackof respect for religion; and items insulting to Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, have been deemed inappropriate. Yildirim also said that

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. … The spirit and purpose of the law is to make civil society and public administration work together and thus keep the bans to as low a number as possible, bringing precautions to the forefront.

(Turkish Minister Says Turkey Will Continue Banning 'Inappropriate' Websites, HURRIYET (Istanbul), Oct. 9, 2008, Open Source Center No. GMP20081009017009.)

Law 5651 has been denounced by Reporters Without Borders as overly restrictive of free expression on the Internet. (Bill Censoring Online Content that Insults Atatürk Is Signed into Law, Reporters Without Borders website, May 24, 2007, available at