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Turkish court halts telecoms mandate to block Internet

Telecommunications Directorate must seek judicial approval before blocking web content under new ruling.

Turkish court halts telecoms mandate to block Internet


Turkey's telecommunications body will no longer be able to block Internet access without judicial approval following a ruling by the Turkish Constitutional Court.

Turkey's highest court ruled on Thursday that the authority given to the telecoms body under a 148-article 'bag of bills' passed by the parliament early in September, was against the constitution.

Under the authority granted under the September regulations, the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) was allowed to monitor Internet users and block websites within four hours without a court order, citing reasons like "national security," "protecting the public order" and "preventing crimes".

The Turkish government had previously introduced an "administrative" block on Twitter and YouTube on the grounds of "protecting citizens’ right to privacy", after an illegally wiretapped recording of a top security meeting - where high-ranking Turkish officials discussed threats against a Turkish territory in Syria - was posted on both the video-sharing website and the micro-blogging platform.

But, after assessing an objection put forward by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Burhan Kuzu, head of Turkish Parliament's Constitutional Commission, said on Thursday: "From now on, it is possible to protect personal rights and dignity along with private life in Turkey, as it allows the use of bad language on social platforms like Twitter."

In early April, Turkey lifted the block on Twitter after the Constitutional Court ruled it was a violation of freedom of speech.

Turkey’s telecommunications watchdog later removed its 67-day-long ban on YouTube following a similar order from the Constitutional Court.


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