Turkey has a long tradition of censorship that culminated this week in a ban on Twitter that has infuriated the international community.
Below we have compiled some of the most egregious examples of censorship in Turkey, starting with the most recent one.
1. Turkey has blocked Twitter.
“Twitter, mwitter! We will wipe out roots of all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a campaign rally Thursday. “They say, ‘Sir, the international community can say this, can say that.’ I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the state of the Republic of Turkey is.”
Twitter has helped Turkish protestors organise movements across the country and spread uncensored anti-government opinions in the past year.
2. Turkey jails more journalists than any other country.
The Committee To Protect Journalists reports that in 2012 Turkey had more journalists in custody than any other country in the world. Arrested journalists face charges ranging from aiding in terrorism to producing propaganda.
3. Erdogan has threatened to ban both Facebook and YouTube should his party win reelection in the March 30 general elections.
Turkey has previously banned YouTube after videos insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey’s founder, were shared on the site.
4. Turkey’s parliament approved new Internet restrictions in February that allow for the almost immediate closing or removal of content from any website.
This new step allows the government to close websites without permission from the courts. The law requires Internet service providers to close objectionable content within four hours or face fines up to $US44,500.
5. Journalists who report on topics damaging to the government can be forced from their jobs.
The main opposition leader in Turkey claimed last year that dozens of journalists had been forced from their jobs for covering antigovernment protests.
6. Media outlets are often owned by large conglomerates with major conflicts of interest.
These conglomerates often maintain their media branches as simply a way to curry favour with the government, The New York Times has reported. By self-enforcing a policy of only pro-government reporting, these moguls help to guarantee for themselves lucrative government contracts in other business sectors such as banking or construction.
7. Turkish news outlets have ignored antigovernment protests altogether.
During the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul last summer, for instance, CNN Turk broadcast a documentary about penguins while CNN filmed live from the mass demonstrations.
8. It is a crime in Turkey to insult the Turkish nation.
Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk was charged with denigrating the Turkish identity after talking about the Armenian genocide in a newspaper interview. He could have faced jail time, and the case was only dropped after international outrage.
Another Turkish author, Nedim Gursel, also faced charges for “incitement to violence or hatred” after publishing his book “Daughters of Allah,” which supposedly insulted Islam.
9. Kurdish intellectuals and advocates often face extreme prejudice.
Kurdish — the primary language of up to one third of Turkey’s population — is still treated as a second-class language and all education in government schools must be carried out in Turkish.
Kurdish journalists and intellectuals also face allegations of supporting terrorism. Journalists reporting on Kurdish prejudice, or the Kurdish terrorist organisation the PKK, can be charged and imprisoned for making terrorist propaganda, Al Jazeera has reported.