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Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:13

Censorship to cover political embarrassment not working in Turkey

Written by Nick Farrell



People just getting cross

The Turkish Government, which was hoping to cover its corruption scandals using internet censorship, is discovering that people are seeing through its cunning plan. President Abdullah Gul approved the legislation, which will let the authorities block web pages within hours and collect data such as users' browsing histories.

This is designed to help out Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who is desperate to cover up a corruption inquiry into him and his government. The law, along with a bill increasing government power over the judiciary is designed to stop leaks about the case circulating online. He reasons if no one can be arrested for corruption and no one can talk about the case he will stay in power.

Rights groups and the opposition had urged Gul, seen as a more conciliatory figure than Erdogan, to veto the new law. His failure to do so prompted a Twitter campaign under the hashtag #unfollowabdullahgul, although he appeared to lose only a fraction of his four million followers as a result.

The main opposition Republican People's Party appealed to the constitutional court to overturn the law, saying it breached the constitution and aimed to cover up the corruption inquiry. Social media and video sharing sites have been awash with alleged recordings of ministers, including Erdogan, and business allies, presented as proof of wrongdoing in the graft scandal.

Nick Farrell

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