Top Turkish court rejects application claiming internet censorship violates freedom of expression

The Turkish Constitutional Court on Wednesday rejected an application claiming a violation of freedom of expression over the country’s internet censorship.

The application submitted to the country’s top court by academics Kerem Altıparmak and Yaman Akdeniz contained examples of blocked Twitter accounts and domains belonging to individuals and organisations critical of the government, independent news site Diken reported. 

The country’s Justice Ministry told the court that the applicants were not victims, Diken said. 

Akdeniz criticized the Constitutional Court’s decision, accusing it of making “arbitrary’’ calls. 

He said 15 different applications were lumped together, adding that the court “made it seem as though we are trying to access the accounts of terrorist organisations.’’ 

The academic said they plan to take the decision to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Turkey has blocked a total of 245,825 websites and domains between 2014-2018, according to a 2018 report by the Istanbul Freedom of Expression Association (İFÖD).

The government’s crackdown on social media in the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15, 2016 has led to a growing list of news sites, which are facing bans in Turkey, in addition to a surge in arrests for criticising the government and a rise in self-censorship. 

Turkey is ranked among the countries with the highest number of content removal requests sent to Twitter and Facebook, according to the companies’ transparency reports.
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