In 2016, Turkey engaged in a regional internet shutdown across Kurdish-majority regions in the southeast, after the detention of a number of local politicians. Around 12 million citizens were estimated to have been affected.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp were all temporarily blocked in November 2016 after the detention of a number of HDP MPs. Twitter has received an extremely high volume of content removal requests from the Turkish government in 2017 – 5,786 in total, which makes up 22.7% of removal requests worldwide.
Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since 29 April 2017, on the basis that it contained ‘terror-related content’ that described Turkish involvement with radical Islamist groups engaged in the Syrian Civil War.
Emails of the Turkish minister Berat Albayrak leaked in 2016 by the hacktivist group RedHack revealed the existence of ‘troll farms’ supported by the AKP to promote its political agenda and smear its rivals on social media platforms.
Recommendations Received, Cycle 2
Continue its efforts to ensure that the national laws protect freedom of expression online and offline
Recommending State: Latvia
Strengthen protection of the freedom of expression by allowing discourse and greater access to information, both online and offline, and ensure the penal code and anti-terror laws are consistent with international obligations
Recommending State: United States
Guarantee the right to freedom of expression, online and offline, to fully ensure that journalists can pursue their profession without harassment and fear of reprisals, and review its legislation to bring it in line with international human rights standards
Recommending State: Austria
Implement the provisions of the six "Judicial Reform Packages" encompassing various rights and freedoms, in particular the freedom of expression and the media online and offline
Recommending State: Hungary
Refrain from censoring social and conventional media and ensure that freedom of expression is safeguarded in all forms, including the arts
Recommending State: Norway
Favourably consider revising the new Internet Law in order for its citizens to enjoy better access to the Internet thereby further ensuring their right to freedom of expression and opinion
Recommending State: Republic of Korea
Fully align the Internet law with international and European standards
Recommending State: Iceland
Bring the Internet Law in line with International and European standards, including case law of the European Court of Human Rights on the rights to freedom of expression and to privacy
Recommending State: Estonia