Sunday, March 13, 2011

Banned in Turkey - Again!

[UPDATE -- Despite reports that the ban on access to Blogger has been lifted, the block appears to still be in effect (as of March 31, 2011).]

[UPDATE II -- According to this article in Milliyet, the block is still on because the court order to restore service refers to something called "Blogsport," not "Blogspot." Sad, but true.]

This blog, along with every other one hosted on Google's Blogger service, is currently not accessible in Turkey by court order. As was the case the previous time this happened, it appears that some blogs on Blogger are showing clips of Turkish football/soccer matches that cable provider Digiturk has exclusive rights to, prompting the provider to ask the court to take Blogger down. Turkey's problematic (to put it mildly) internet laws allow for sites to be taken down wholesale, rather than simply blocking access to the offending pages. This was the case with YouTube, which was banned in Turkey for years because Google refused to remove a few videos that mocked Ataturk.

Take a look at this previous post for more information about Turkey's misguided internet laws, which not only allow the courts but also a government agency to block access to sites. Meanwhile, Today's Zaman's Andrew Finkel takes a look at the Blogger ban and the wider issue of freedom of expression in Turkey in a column that leaves not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Turkish officials have indicated that new internet-related legislation which should avoid bans like this is coming down the pike, but there is some concern among activists that it could in fact make things worse. According to Yaman Akdeniz, a professor of law at Istanbul's Bilgi University and one of the leading Turkish authorities on internet issues, the new legislation will create four types of centrally-administered filtered profiles that every Turkish internet subscriber will have to sign up for (the default one being a "standard" profile which will also be filtered, although it's not yet clear what will be filtered out). "What they are building is NOT a child protection mechanism but Turkey's Internet Censorship Infrastructure. You can quote me on that," Akdeniz, who has taken a look at the proposed legislation, wrote me in a recent email.

For now, if were in Turkey and tried to find this blog (and are too honest to use proxies), this is what you would reach:

Bu siteye erişim mahkeme kararıyla engellenmiştir.

(Translation: "This site has been disabled by court order.")

4 comments:

Hasan Soyer said...

I'm writing you from Turkey. So for me it is possible to reach your site. By the way, turkish internet laws are OK. Hope other countries would have laws like this. Or better like US secret laws, where the FBI or CIA "takes down the people" instead of there websites

Yigal Schleifer said...

Thanks for the comment, Hasan. Access to Blogger is still blocked by court order (as of Sunday, March 13), so I'm not sure how you are accessing it without the use of a proxy.

rami.abd82 said...

Dear Yigal,

congratulations, this means that the stuff you write is effective in exosing the contradictions of contemporary Turkish politics!!!

Peter said...

Just got back from Istanbul, where I was told non-proxy access to Blogger is possible in some neighborhoods. I wasn't able to use Blogger where I was and had to move my blog to WordPress. Several other sites were blocked as well, including the innocuous soccerway.com.

And, of course, depictions of cigarette smoking on television are still obscured by a blurry patch. Pretty nuts.