A non-profit think tank in Turkey says the country ranks second after China in the censorship of internet content, local media report.
The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV) made the revelation in a report on Sunday only days after the Turkish Parliament passed a controversial internet law that allows the government to block websites without a court ruling, Turkey’s Radikal daily said.
Under the law, the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) will be able to block access to websites deemed to violate privacy or to have “insulting” content without a court order.
The TIB could also request users’ communications and traffic information from providers with no court ruling.
On February 8, clashes erupted between Turkish riot police and the protesters who had gathered at Istanbul’s Taksim Square to condemn the newly adopted law.
The controversial law has also sparked concerns abroad, with the European Union demanding Ankara revise the legislation if the country aims to join the bloc.
European Parliament chief Martin Schulz also described the move as a “step back in an already suffocating environment for media freedom.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, rejected the criticism, saying that the law will not “impose any censorship at all on the Internet… On the contrary, they make it safer and freer.”
The law also came at a time when Erdogan’s government has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal.
Critics say the adoption of harsh measures is an attempt by the embattled premier to contain the scandal probe involving some of his close allies.