Turkey has recently blocked WordPress, the popular blogging platform, in order to block access to a single blog. Blocking over 60 million blogs just to prevent access to one offending blog seems like overkill, but this sort of heavy-handed approach is becoming increasingly common in Turkey. Although the court order only calls for the block of a single url, it does contain a provision to block WordPress in its entirety, if it is technically difficult to block just the one blog. Domain level blocking has become a blunt instrument to force the cooperation of Western companies, which would otherwise be reluctant to cooperate with Turkish authorities in blocking individual pages.
The blog that was the target of the block contains a copy of a post by Prof. Kemal Gözler, who accuses a colleague of plagiarism. Gözler has stated he does not own the blog, it simply copied the post from his personal site. The post in question is apparently being blocked due to its connection to defamation lawsuits.
Turkey is just continuing its trend of overly broad Internet censorship. As reported yesterday by TechRaptor, Turkey had blocked twitter and YouTube to prevent the circulation of a photograph, that was claimed to be used for terrorist propaganda. Both Twitter and Google cooperated with the Turkish authorities, and both sites have been unblocked in the country. However another court order went out which called for Google to be blocked in its entirety, unless it removed all search results that lead to the photograph. Google has cooperated with the demands, and the threatened ban was not put into force.
It seems Turkey’s blocking spree has no end in sight, and will only get worse if left unchecked. If there is not serious pushback against these actions and the laws which empower this sort of mass blocking, free speech online is essentially dead in Turkey.
Do you think the Turkish government is going too far in blocking content? Leave your comments below.