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The Freedom House concludes Turkey is no more a free country. What is next?

The Freedom House concludes Turkey is no more a free country. What is next?

A new report released by the independent, non-profit and non-partisan watchdog organization Freedom House concluded that democratic principles such as election integrity and freedom of the press, political and civil rights have severely downgraded in Turkey that is no longer ‘a free country.’ The study added that Turkey’s status declined from Partly Free to Not Free due to a deeply flawed constitutional referendum that centralized power in the presidency, the mass replacement of elected mayors with government appointees, arbitrary prosecutions of rights activists and other perceived enemies of the state, and continued purges of state employees, all of which have left citizens hesitant to express their views on sensitive topics.

The Freedom House has been publishing annual reports since 1973 for assessing the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

It has been a great source for scholars and academics since then. Their methodology is very strong and reliable. Their ranking provides a snapshot of the world and political circumstances in each state. It has always been interpreted seriously by international organizations and financial institutions as well.

The report noted that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broadened and intensified the crackdown on his perceived opponents that began after a failed 2016 coup attempt. In addition to its dire consequences for detained Turkish citizens, shuttered media outlets, and seized businesses, the chaotic purge has become intertwined with an offensive against the Kurdish minority, which in turn has fueled Turkey’s diplomatic and military interventions in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

According to Freedom House, which analyzed data from 195 countries over the 2017 calendar year, Turkey’s passage over the threshold from Partly Free to Not Free is the culmination of a long and accelerating slide in Freedom in the World.

‘The country’s score has been in free fall since 2014 due to an escalating series of assaults on the press, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary, and the electoral system, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fights to impose personalized control over the state and society in a deteriorating domestic and regional security environment. Erdoğan has pushed out his rivals and former allies within the ruling party, reshaped media ownership to fit his needs, and rammed through an unpopular constitutional referendum to create a “super-presidential” system without meaningful checks and balances.’

The study also noted that President Erdogan’s response to the July 2016 coup attempt has become a sprawling witch hunt, resulting in the arrest of some 60,000 people, the closure of over 160 media outlets, and the imprisonment of over 150 journalists. The leaders of the third-largest party in the parliament are in prison, and nearly 100 mayors across the country have been replaced through emergency measures or political pressure from the president. The government has even pressed its crackdown beyond. Turkey’s borders, triggering a flood of Interpol “red notice” requests to detain critics abroad, among other effects.

How will the report affect the Asylum seekers?

Since the controversial coup attempt, thousands of military officials, government officials, academics, and civilians have been detained, arrested or fired from their positions. The purge has led to a large number of these individuals to flee Turkey and seek asylum elsewhere.

It is safe to analyze that The Freedom House report will have major consequences on several issues especially asylum applications of thousands of people since the report extensively provided all the necessary data about the failure of democracy in Turkey. The report which confirmed Turkey’s passage over the threshold from ‘Partly Free to Not Free’ is considered both essential and useful for the court processes of the Asylum applications.

How should NATO respond?

A core principle of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is that member states adhere to democratic values. Here is how NATO defines its core principle and the purpose of its very existence:

‘NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. POLITICAL – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defense and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.’

As a democratic security organization, NATO should clarify its stance and policies towards Turkey, which is openly defined as a non-democracy and not-free? Can NATO promote democratic values while one of its biggest members is already defined a dictatorship by non-partisan international organizations?

The recent study by the Freedom House which reports the decline in Turkey’s human rights record may cause some U.S. lawmakers and decision makers to question the country’s NATO membership.

ECtHR appears as a new venue

The shocking lower court rulings of the last several days rejecting the authority of Turkey’s Constitutional Court to hear individual applications has also been considered as the end of the rule of law in Turkey. This new episode in Turkish judiciary will lead the Turkish citizens who seek legal recourse to violations of their rights at European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which still remains a proper venue that they should pursue. The recent study by The Freedom House can definitely be used as a source by the Turkish citizens to strengthen their cases at the ECtHR despite the fact that the ruling processes of the Court may take so long.


Download as a PDF File: AST_Turkey_is_no_longer_free_country_what_is_next

 

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It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The 3-month State of the Emergency regime which was declared immediately after the coup attempt (21/07/2016) by the Cabinet “to preserve the democratic order” has since been extended for five times.Despite calls by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission and numerous human rights institutions for the Turkish government to end it, the State of Emergency Regime remains in effect. In defiance of its purpose, The Turkish government has subversively used the State of Emergency Regime against the country’s democratic parliamentary system, the rule of law and human rights.

During the state of emergency, so far;
-28 deputies have been taken into custody, duly elected mayors of 90 different towns/cities have been removed from office,
-61,247 individuals, including 16 deputies, two members of the Constitutional Court, 193 members of the Court of Cassation, 2360 judges and prosecutors, 571 lawyers and 308 journalists have been arrested,
-As of today, a total of 128,998 people have been taken into custody for terrorism-related offenses (being the members of an armed terrorist organization. 100 people a day are being arrested on average.

With thirty different Emergency Decree Law, which is exempt from judicial review;
-146,713 public servants including 4463 judges and prosecutors, 8693 academics, 6687 doctors and paramedics 44,392 teachers have been dismissed from their jobs,
-3003 private hospitals, schools, student dorms and universities, 187 media outlets, 1,412 associations and 139 charities have been shut down, and their assets have been confiscated,
-1,020 private companies have been seized.

On the face of these human rights breaches, European Court of Human Rights is the ultimate hope of the victims. Yet, the ECHR has been consistently refusing applications on the grounds that the domestic remedies in Turkey is not yet consummated.In order to prevent conviction at the ECHR, the Turkish government instituted the Constitutional Court as an additional court of appeal for individuals and established a highly unproductive Commission on Statutory Decrees Under State of Emergency. Neither institution helps the victims.

Only last week, four separate criminal courts of the first instance have refused to implement an order of the Turkish Constitutional Court to release veteran journalist Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay:
-On 11 January 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided that the detention of journalists Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan were unlawful and that it constituted a violation of their rights protected by both the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,
-On the same day, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts refused to release Altan and Alpay on the grounds that the decisions (of the TCC) have not yet been published in the Official Gazette,
-On 12 January 2018, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts declined release of Altan and Alpay once again on the grounds that the TCC exceeded its authority as specified in the Constitution itself,
-On 15 January 2018, Istanbul 14th and 27th High Penal Courts turned down objections from the lawyers of Altan and Alpay that the decision of the TCC had to be implemented without delay and ordered their detention to continue.

In the light of the above, there is without a doubt no effective domestic remedy in Turkey and the judicial hierarchy as determined by the Turkish Constitution has been disrupted.

We, therefore, urge The European Court of Human Rights to reconsider its current view that the Turkish Constitutional Court offers an effective domestic remedy and start without further delay reconsidering applications brought by thousands of victims against Turkey.

It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below:
https://www.change.org/p/the-european-court-of-human-rights-the-council-of-europe-it-is-high-time-for-the-european-court-of-human-rights-to-step-in?recruiter=735343625&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_twitter_responsive

This petition will be delivered to:
The European Court of Human Rights
The Council of Europe

 

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Dec 25

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Dec25

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 12/18/2017-12/25/2017

1-“575 people detained over Gülen links in past week: ministry ”
https://turkeypurge.com/575-people-detained-gulen-links-past-week-ministry

2-“Detention warrants issued for 106 people 20 provinces”
https://turkeypurge.com/detention-warrants-issued-106-people-turkeys-20-cities

3-“Erdoğan seeks to ban Carlos Latuff cartoons on Twitter”
https://turkeypurge.com/erdogan-seeks-to-ban-carlos-latuff-cartoons-on-twitter

4-“Turkish police raid pro-Kurdish party’s İstanbul bureau, detain co-chairperson”
https://turkeypurge.com/police-raid-pro-kurdish-hdps-kadikoy-office

5-“Journalist Fevzi Yazici put in solitary confinement: colleague”
https://turkeypurge.com/journalist-fevzi-yazici-put-solitary-confinement-colleague

6-“4-year-old boy wounded after being hit by police car in eastern Turkey: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/4-year-old-boy-wounded-hit-police-car-eastern-turkey-report

7-“Turkey issues detention warrants for US witness’ parents, relatives ”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-issues-detention-warrants-for-us-witness-parents-relatives

8-“232 military members get life in prison over failed coup attempt: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/232-military-members-get-life-prison-failed-coup-attempt-report

9-“Turkey issues detention warrants for 110 over alleged ByLock use”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-issues-detention-warrants-110-alleged-bylock-use

10-“Top Turkish court rejects release request by jailed pro-Kurdish leader”
https://turkeypurge.com/top-turkish-court-rejects-release-request-jailed-pro-kurdish-leader

11-” Turkish court sentences former university rector to 8 years on terrorism charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turgut-ozal-universitys-former-rector-sentenced-8-years-prison

12-“5 children, 4 teachers and 11 others detained while on way to flee Turkey’s crackdown to Greece”
https://turkeypurge.com/5-children-4-teachers-11-others-detained-way-flee-turkeys-crackdown-greece

13-“Judge couple sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in jail”
https://turkeypurge.com/judge-couple-sentenced-6-years-3-months-jail

14-“Jailed journalist Ibrahim Balta loses 30 kg in past 6 months due to poor health”
https://turkeypurge.com/jailed-journalist-ibrahim-balta-loses-30-kg-past-6-months-due-poor-health

15-“Businessman deported from Indonesia at Turkey’s request: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/businessman-deported-indonesia-turkeys-request-report

16-“Turkey issues detention warrants for another 44 teachers”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-issues-detention-warrants-another-44-teachers

17-“Turkish teacher with baby to be sent to prison in 10 days for ‘praising terrorism’ during live talk show”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-teacher-baby-sent-prison-10-days-praising-terrorism-live-talk-show

18-“Gov’t says number of complaints over post-coup abuses at 103,276”
https://turkeypurge.com/govt-says-number-complaints-post-coup-abuses-103276

19-“[VIDEO] Cancer patient seeks whereabouts of son abducted in Turkey’s capital”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-cancer-patient-seeks-whereabouts-son-abducted-turkeys-capital

20-“Amid grief over jailed father, 12-year-old not responding to cancer treatment”
https://turkeypurge.com/amid-grief-jailed-father-12-year-old-not-responding-cancer-treatment

21-“48-year-old Alzheimer patient in pretrial detention for 15 months”
https://turkeypurge.com/48-year-old-alzheimer-patient-pretrial-detention-15-months

22-“Turkey’s post-coup prisoners now required to wear Guantanamo-style jumpsuits”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-post-coup-prisoners-now-required-wear-guantanamo-style-jumpsuits

23-“Turkish gov’t extends immunity to civilians for coup and terror crimes”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/24/turkish-govt-extends-immunity-to-civilians-for-coup-and-terror-crimes/

24-“Following colleague Yazıcı, columnist Türköne also put in solitary confinement”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/24/following-colleague-yazici-columnist-turkone-also-put-in-solitary-confinement/

25-“Erdoğan defends prison jumpsuits by citing Guantanamo”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/24/erdogan-defends-prison-jumpsuits-by-citing-guantanamo/

26-“Journalist Kayar detained in police raid in Diyarbakır”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/19/journalist-kayar-detained-in-police-raid-in-diyarbakir/

27-“HDP urges gov’t to clarify death of Murat Araç in police custody”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/18/hdp-urges-govt-to-clarify-death-of-murat-arac-in-police-custody/

28-“Turkish Government’s Persecution Targeting Dissident Academics Goes On With Sham Trials”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-governments-persecution-targeting-dissident-academics-goes-on-with-sham-trials/

29-“Turkish Gov’t Trying To Block Participation Of NGOs To OSCE, Says Report”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-trying-to-block-participation-of-ngos-to-osce-says-report/

30-” PPJ’s Gök: Erdoğan Allies With Ultra-Nationalists To Set Up Judiciary To Persecute Dissidents”
https://stockholmcf.org/ppjs-gok-erdogan-allies-with-ultra-nationalists-to-set-up-judiciary-to-persecute-dissidents/

31-“Turkish Government Releases Another German Citizen From Prison”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-government-releases-another-german-citizen-from-prison/

32-“Turkish Gov’t Detains Dozens, Convicts 59 Academicians Over Alleged Links To Gülen Movement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-detains-dozens-of-people-mostly-teachers-over-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/

33-“Just Three Sentences Left Behind From Turkish Prisoner’s Letter Censored With Scissors”
https://stockholmcf.org/just-three-sentences-left-behind-from-turkish-prisoners-letter-censored-with-scissors/

34-“Turkey Seeks Up To 15 Years For Journalists, CHP Deputy In MİT Trucks Case”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkey-seeks-up-to-15-years-for-journalists-chp-deputy-in-mit-trucks-case/

35-“Visually Impaired Ex-Civil Servant’s Letter Shows He Can Barely Survive In Turkish Jail”
https://stockholmcf.org/visually-impaired-ex-civil-servants-letter-shows-he-can-barely-survive-in-turkish-jail/

36-“Journalist Seda Taşkın Detained By Turkish Police In Muş Province”
https://stockholmcf.org/journalist-seda-taskin-detained-by-turkish-police-in-mus-province/

37-“HR Activist: Turkish Gov’t Human Rights Watchdog Blind To Abuses”
https://stockholmcf.org/hr-activist-turkish-govt-human-rights-watchdog-blind-to-abuses/

38-“Turkish Court Lifts Travel Ban Against German Academic Garip”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-court-lifts-travel-ban-against-german-academic-garip/

39-“Turkish Journalist Mustafa Ünal Faces 3 Lifetime Sentences Over 9 Columns”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-journalist-mustafa-unal-faces-3-lifetime-sentences-over-9-columns/

40-“ECtHR: Turkish Gov’t Violated Freedom To Demonstrate By Imposing Fines On Demonstrators”
https://stockholmcf.org/ecthr-turkish-govt-violated-freedom-to-demonstrate-by-imposing-fines-on-demonstrators/

41-“Turkey wants to imprison Knicks’ Enes Kanter for more than four years over presidential insults”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/12/20/turkey-wants-to-imprison-knicks-enes-kanter-for-more-than-four-years-over-presidential-insults/?utm_term=.2c68f632685f

42-“Turkey seeks life sentences for 60 ex-military over 1997 ‘post-modern coup'”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-trial/turkey-seeks-life-sentences-for-60-ex-military-over-1997-post-modern-coup-idUSKBN1EF1CZ

43-“Turkey frees German journalist Tolu but she cannot leave country: Berlin government”
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-germany/turkey-frees-german-journalist-tolu-but-she-cannot-leave-country-berlin-government-idUSKBN1EC1A3?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 12/18/2017-12/25/2017

1-“Akıllara ziyan KHK’lar: Resmi görevi olsun olmasın işkenceciler koruma altına alındı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/akillara-ziyan-khklar-resmi-gorevi-olsun-olmasin-iskenceciler-koruma-altina-alindi-h109582.html

2-“Ayşe Öğretmen: 2 aylık kızımı yanımda götüremem, dışarıda bırakırsam sütten kesilecek”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/ayse-ogretmen-2-aylik-kizimi-yanimda-goturemem-disarida-birakirsam-sutten-kesilecek-h109572.html

3-“Erdoğan ‘tek tip kıyafeti’ Guantalamo ile savundu”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/erdogan-tek-tip-kiyafeti-guantalamo-ile-savundu-h109558.html

4-“OHAL’le babası hapse giren Eray kanser tedavisine cevap vermiyor..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/ohalle-babasi-hapse-giren-eray-kanser-tedavisine-cevap-vermiyor-h109538.html

5-“Alzhimer, kalp ve bel fıtığı hastası kadın 15 aydır tutuklu!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/alzhimer-kalp-ve-bel-fitigi-hastasi-kadin-15-aydir-tutuklu-h109482.html

6-“Fuat Özkan cezaevinde zulümden dolayı ölümle burun buruna..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/fuat-ozkan-cezaevinde-zulumden-dolayi-olumle-burun-buruna-h109450.html

7-“Cezaevinden ailesini arayan tutuklu: Elektrikli işkence yapılıyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinden-ailesini-arayan-tutuklu-elektrikli-iskence-yapiliyor-h109441.html

8-“Araç’ın annesi: Oğlum intihar etmedi öldürüldü, darp izleri vardı..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/aracin-annesi-oglum-intihar-etmedi-olduruldu-darp-izleri-vardi-h109438.html

9-“İşkenceci paşa Maraş Katliamı’nın yıl dönümünde öldü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iskenceci-pasa-maras-katliaminin-yil-donumunde-oldu-h109392.html

10-“Fevzi Yazıcı sahte mektubu kabul etmediği için hücreye atıldı!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/fevzi-yazici-sahte-mektubu-kabul-etmedigi-icin-hucreye-atildi-h109332.html

11-” Cezaevindeki tutuklu sanığa: Sohbet hakkın var ama yalnız kullanabilirsin”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevindeki-tutuklu-saniga-sohbet-hakkin-var-ama-yalniz-kullanabilirsin-h109290.html

12-“Zorla Kaybedilme Sözleşmesi imzalanmalı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/zorla-kaybedilme-sozlesmesi-imzalanmali-h109247.html

13-“KHK ile gelen tek tip düzenlemesine tepki”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/khk-ile-gelen-tek-tip-duzenlemesine-tepki-h109566.html

14-“Yeni KHK ile binlerce kişi kamudan ihraç edildi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/yeni-khk-ile-binlerce-kisi-kamudan-ihrac-edildi-h109563.html

15-“Gazeteciler hapisteki meslektaşları için sokaktaydı”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/gazeteciler-hapisteki-meslektaslari-icin-sokaktaydi-h109579.html

16-“KHK’yla 105 akademisyen ihraç edildi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/khkyla-105-akademisyen-ihrac-edildi-h109577.html

17-“‘Tek tip kıyafet giymektense kefen giymeyi tercih edeceğiz’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/fasizme-boyun-egip-tek-tip-kiyafet-giymektense-kefen-giymeyi-tercih-edecegiz/

18-“AKP ‘696 sayılı KHK’yı Hitler’den çalmış”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/akp-696-sayili-khkyi-hitlerden-calmis-kahverengi-gomlekliler-yerine-uzun-sakallilar/

19-“Elleri kelepçeli ameliyata alınan tutuklunun bileği kırıldı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/elleri-kelepceli-ameliyata-alinan-tutuklunun-bilegi-kirildi/

20-“Son KHK ile altı ihraç daha: İşinden olan ‘Barış Bildirisi’ imzacısı sayısı 378’e çıktı”
http://www.diken.com.tr/son-khk-ile-alti-ihrac-daha-isinden-olan-baris-bildirisi-imzacisi-sayisi-378e-cikti/

21-“15 Temmuz ve sonrasında ‘eylemler’e müdahale eden sivillere dokunulmazlık”
http://www.diken.com.tr/15-temmuz-ve-sonrasinda-eylemlere-mudahale-eden-sivillere-dokunulmazlik/

22-“Fevzi Yazici’dan sonra Mümtaz’er Türköne’yi de tek kişilik hücreye attilar”
http://www.tr724.com/fevzi-yazicidan-sonra-mumtazer-turkoneyi-de-tek-kisilik-hucreye-attilar/

23-“Yeşiller eş başkani Cem Özdemir suikast iddialarini değerlendirdi: Almanya’da korku rejimine izin verilemez ”
http://www.tr724.com/yesiller-es-baskani-cem-ozdemir-suikast-iddialarini-degerlendirdi-almanyada-korku-rejimine-izin-verilemez/

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Statement on Human Rights Day

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we are pleased to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day. Yet, unfortunately, the values emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are today undermined in many countries. It is the duty of each informed citizen to advocate for peace and sustain justice. Human Rights Day is therefore not only about few people, but it is about all of us.

Turkey is one of the countries that have experienced significant deterioration in regards to values mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After the failed coup, more than 130,000 people have been arbitrary detained and more than 60,000 people have been arrested. Many of those arrested do not have any evidence against them. Nonetheless, there are 17,000 women in jail and 688 babies under age of six. Furthermore, there has been more than 2,200 torture and numerous abduction cases. All independent media in Turkey have been shut down and confiscated by the government. More than 4,400 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed. The government has also seized more than 800 companies worth more than $10 billion.

We urge every individual to voice the silenced voices of people in Turkey. As mentioned earlier, it is the duty of each of us to advocate for peace and justice in order to attain it. We hope the situation in Turkey will get better for those in Turkey and abroad who are oppressed by the ruling government of Turkey.

Download as pdf: AST_Statement-on-Human-Rights-Day

 

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Deterioration of the Internet Freedom

 

Freedom of the Net 2017 Report Prepared by the Freedom House: Summary of the Parts Concerning Turkey

In November 2017, the Freedom House published a report titled Freedom of the Net 2017 which assesses the internet freedom around the world making country-based evaluations.

According to the Report, Turkey falls into the category of “Not Free” in 2017. Together with Egypt and Ukraine, Turkey is in the top three countries who declined most compared to the last year. Turkey and Russia are both ranked as 15th among 65 countries falling behind countries such as Myanmar, Sudan and Venezuela. The Report refers to different applications in Turkey many times showing that the State has been taking considerably restrictive measures.

Especially in 2017 thousands of people were arrested and/or taken into custody for downloading a mobile communication app called ByLock reasoning that coup plotters allegedly used the same app as well. The Report highlights that the app was easily accessible as well as publicly available in different app stores.

According to the Freedom House, the Turkish government has not only been using the internet to accuse government critics of serious crimes, but also to manipulate public discussions and control particular agendas. As per the allegations, around 6,000 people were employed to achieve these aims. To illustrate, many dissident journalists and academics have been dealing with online harassment by pro-government troll accounts through social media websites. Disinformation methods used by the State vary including paying government commentators (without explicit sponsorship), maintaining pro-government media and propaganda, hijacking politically dissent websites (such as social media accounts and news sites), and lastly creating fake news around elections intentionally to affect voters.

Besides these direct methods, the Turkish government uses indirect restrictions as well to control the use of the internet. To exemplify, WhatsApp as the most common mobile communication app was throttled many times especially right after significant political events and became almost inaccessible. Moreover, Turkey has taken measures to limit and control VPNs channels which enable internet users to reach banned websites and content. For example, Tor which is one of the most secure VPNs has been targeted by repressive governments. The Report emphasizes that Turkey has also applied new blocking orders to limit the use of Tor network making it harder for users to reach.

The Report specifies topics and content censored by the Turkish government; some of which can be listed as criticisms of authorities, corruption, conflict, political opposition, satire as well as mobilization for public causes. Out of 9 types of key internet controls categorized by the Freedom House, Turkey has been applying 7 of them including blocking of online communication tools, network shutdowns, increasing censorship through new laws, arrest and imprisonment of opposing internet users.

To sum up, the Freedom of the Net 2017 report illustrates how Turkey has been using the internet to serve the government’s own interests and also to limit individual freedoms such as freedom of expression and right to privacy.

Download pdf version:Freedom of the Net 2017

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