Turkey bans access to almost 300,000 websites since 2006 - report

Turkey has blocked access to almost 300,000 websites and domains since 2006, according to a 2019 report by the Istanbul Freedom of Expression Association (İFÖD).

Turkish authorities have blocked 288,310 URLs and the move to block access to the sites and domains was made by mainly by Turkey's Information Technology Authority (BTK), with 145,648 sites blocked by BTK alone, according to the report.

A growing number of news sites are facing bans, while there has been a surge in the number of arrests for criticising the government and a rise in self-censorship, particularly following a crackdown on social media in the aftermath of the failed coup of July 15, 2016.

Hürriyet newspaper's news site topped the list for blocked news pieces between 2006 and 2019, with 721 items in total, followed by Sabah with 641, and T24 with 585 items, the report said. 

Turkey ranked among the countries with the highest number of content removal requests sent to Twitter and Facebook, İFÖD said.

Turkey forwarded to Twitter a total of 5,099 court decisions to block accounts in this period, leading the world in the category. Russia and Brazil followed suit with 385 and 290, respectively.