Jan 11 2009
The Turkish Government censors internet access from within the country, as I discovered yesterday when attempting to access YouTube from the Turkish town of Selçuk, as this screenshot shows (click to enlarge):
The English text on this page reads: “Access to this web site is banned by ‘TELEKOMÜNİKASYON İLETİŞİM BAŞKANLIĞI’ according to the order of: Ankara 1. Sulh Ceza Mahkemesi, 05.05.2008 of 2008/402″
Just to complete the irony, I was looking for a video of the Oscar Grant shooting when I first discovered this “blocked site” page.
I have previously reported on internet censorship in the United Arab Emirates. Turkey’s “you can’t see this” page is not nearly as flashy, and the censorship may be less severe: I can reach Flickr from here, for example. However, it is not possible to read the website of Richard Dawkins in Turkey; there even appears to be a more specific (and forthright?) banner page.
(Sadly, Google Translate does not support Turkish — dear lazywebs, can anyone out there give an exact translation?)
This suggests that Turkey’s censorship attempts — all of which can be easily circumvented with tools like Tor — are more concerned with social and religious mores of various sorts, as opposed to the efforts of countries like China where there is a clear political motive underlying the censorship pattern (for example, the Tiananmen Square killings never happened, according to Google China.)
For more, please see the fabulous Open Net Initiative, which tracks and reports on internet censorship worldwide, and has an excellent review article on the Turkish situation. Unsurprisingly, Turkey also has had some recent problems with freedom of expression.