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Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge.

As was reported earlier, the Turkish premier, embroiled in what increasingly appears a career terminating corruption and embezzlement scandal (it is not exactly clear yet just how involved the CIA is in this particular upcoming government overthrow), blocked Turkey’s access to Twitter last night, hours after vowing to “destroy twitter.” The idiocy of this escalation against dissemination of information in the internet age needs no comment. Well maybe one. This is what we said in our post from this morning: “since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” It now appears that at least half of this threat is about to materialize because moments ago Google just announced that it would not remove a previously uploaded video, one in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from investigators (one which can be seen here), and which Erdogan demanded be pulled from Google (seemingly unaware that by doing so he simply made sure that everyone saw it). This means that within days, if not hours, Turkey will likely block Google-owned YouTube, if not Google itself.

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. has declined Turkish government requests to remove YouTube videos alleging government corruption, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of resistance to a crackdown against social media led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks asked Google to block the videos from YouTube’s Turkish website, the people familiar with the matter said. But amid a national scandal over corruption allegations, Google refused to comply because it believes the requests to be legally invalid, the people added.

Google’s refusal to remove videos raises the specter that Turkey could move to block access to YouTube within the country, after blocking the microblogging service Twitter Inc. late Thursday night. Both sites have been central conduits for allegations of corruption against Mr. Erdogan’s government and faced public threats of a blackout by Mr. Erdogan. 

Some people within Google had feared a YouTube blackout could be imminent, after the Twitter takedown, the people familiar with the matter said. “We feel an immediate threat,” one of the people said.

Sadly in Erodgan’s berserk regime, this is not only possible but very probable.

Still, one wonders why Google would not relent in this particular case, after recent revelations that the major internet companies have cooperated over the years with the NSA, contrary to their vocal denials in public. Surely, compromising with its principles and ethics would be nothing new to a company which once swore to “do no evil.” Especially since Google realizes quite well by not complying with the government’s demand it is making the overthrow of Erdogan’s regime, violent or otherwise, that much more likely.

Either way, even without Google’s aid it already appeared that Erdogan’s days are numbered when not only the opposition but the figurehead president himself condemned the Twitter blockage.

Opposition politicians decried the move as that of a dictatorship. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has a largely symbolic role, also came down against the blackout, using Twitter to write that “wholesale shuttering of social media platforms cannot be approved.”

Alas, with the government in full out despotic mode, however one which would work in the 1970s but certainly not in an age of instant information exchange, further escalations of locking out internet provides will certainly accelerate until finally the information and entertainment starved country says enough.

We eagerly look forward to see which particular pro-Western agent is groomed to take Erdogan’s place. After all remember: those Qatari gas pipelines that in a parallel universe, one without Putin, would have already been transporting nat gas under Syria, would enter Europe under Turkey.

Which makes one wonder – just what is the real goal here?

As for Turkey, we urge the population, largely removed from all Machiavellian moves behind the scenes, to catch up on their favorite YouTube clips: they will shortly disappear for good.

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge

Turkey Set To Block YouTube Momentarily, After Google Refuses To Yank Clips Exposing Prime Minister | Zero Hedge.

As was reported earlier, the Turkish premier, embroiled in what increasingly appears a career terminating corruption and embezzlement scandal (it is not exactly clear yet just how involved the CIA is in this particular upcoming government overthrow), blocked Turkey’s access to Twitter last night, hours after vowing to “destroy twitter.” The idiocy of this escalation against dissemination of information in the internet age needs no comment. Well maybe one. This is what we said in our post from this morning: “since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” It now appears that at least half of this threat is about to materialize because moments ago Google just announced that it would not remove a previously uploaded video, one in which Erdogan tells his son to hide money from investigators (one which can be seen here), and which Erdogan demanded be pulled from Google (seemingly unaware that by doing so he simply made sure that everyone saw it). This means that within days, if not hours, Turkey will likely block Google-owned YouTube, if not Google itself.

From the WSJ:

Google Inc. has declined Turkish government requests to remove YouTube videos alleging government corruption, people familiar with the matter said, the latest sign of resistance to a crackdown against social media led by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks asked Google to block the videos from YouTube’s Turkish website, the people familiar with the matter said. But amid a national scandal over corruption allegations, Google refused to comply because it believes the requests to be legally invalid, the people added.

Google’s refusal to remove videos raises the specter that Turkey could move to block access to YouTube within the country, after blocking the microblogging service Twitter Inc. late Thursday night. Both sites have been central conduits for allegations of corruption against Mr. Erdogan’s government and faced public threats of a blackout by Mr. Erdogan. 

Some people within Google had feared a YouTube blackout could be imminent, after the Twitter takedown, the people familiar with the matter said. “We feel an immediate threat,” one of the people said.

Sadly in Erodgan’s berserk regime, this is not only possible but very probable.

Still, one wonders why Google would not relent in this particular case, after recent revelations that the major internet companies have cooperated over the years with the NSA, contrary to their vocal denials in public. Surely, compromising with its principles and ethics would be nothing new to a company which once swore to “do no evil.” Especially since Google realizes quite well by not complying with the government’s demand it is making the overthrow of Erdogan’s regime, violent or otherwise, that much more likely.

Either way, even without Google’s aid it already appeared that Erdogan’s days are numbered when not only the opposition but the figurehead president himself condemned the Twitter blockage.

Opposition politicians decried the move as that of a dictatorship. Turkish President Abdullah Gul, who has a largely symbolic role, also came down against the blackout, using Twitter to write that “wholesale shuttering of social media platforms cannot be approved.”

Alas, with the government in full out despotic mode, however one which would work in the 1970s but certainly not in an age of instant information exchange, further escalations of locking out internet provides will certainly accelerate until finally the information and entertainment starved country says enough.

We eagerly look forward to see which particular pro-Western agent is groomed to take Erdogan’s place. After all remember: those Qatari gas pipelines that in a parallel universe, one without Putin, would have already been transporting nat gas under Syria, would enter Europe under Turkey.

Which makes one wonder – just what is the real goal here?

As for Turkey, we urge the population, largely removed from all Machiavellian moves behind the scenes, to catch up on their favorite YouTube clips: they will shortly disappear for good.

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge.

When we reported early yesterday that Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan warned that since Twitter had ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal., that he would “destroy Twitter” and that “we’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey” it may not have been quite clear what he meant. A few hours later it was revealed, when virtually all Twitter access was blocked in Turkey ten days ahead of the general election in a move that has already enraged the nation and resulted in a powerful public outcry.

Bloomberg reports that the “tweets targeted by the premier are from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastard,” and another called Bascalan, or “Prime Thief.”  The person or persons have been leaking documents and audio files, some described as the results of a 15-month prosecutor-led investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s government. The leaks have captured the attention of Turkey’s 74 million citizens as the prime minister prepares for local elections on March 30. Zero Hedge reported on the leaks one month ago, which revealed that the PM and his sons were scrambling to hide their stolen money from the local prosecution during an anti-corruption raid in late 2013.

The leaks also call into question everything from the financial probity of ministers to their religious piety, and provide evidence of a media browbeaten by the government. That’s enlivened the opposition and put Erdogan on the defensive amid public allegations of graft involving the premier’s family and businessmen who’ve profited during his 11 years in power.

Turkey’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Board, or BTK, said Twitter had been blocked upon “complaints from our citizens” and “violations of personal rights and privacy,” according to a statement on its website today.

“The Internet site called Twitter has ignored decisions made by the courts of the Republic of Turkey,” the board said in the statement. “Left with no other choice to prevent the incompensable victimization of our citizens, a preventive measure blocking access to Twitter has been imposed in line with court decisions.”

Of course, the sheer idiocy of hoping to spread information by blocking one medium needs no commentary. What is worse for the embattled corrupt PM, however, is that worse revelations are coming:

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in Yeni Safak newspaper yesterday, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, pre-emptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired, showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Yesterday, a prominent Turkish news anchorwoman denied rumors of a sexual affair with the prime minister. The pro-government media had been warning this week that new leaks would use “Hollywood” technology including silicon masks to make actors look like recognizable Turkish personalities.

While the original investigation stalled after prosecutors were removed, laws changed and thousands of police officers transferred, some of the files leaked from “Haramzadeler” have been incorporated into parliamentary record by the opposition.

As for the explanations from Erdogan, they have long since moved beyond the merely ridiculous:

Speaking across Turkey, Erdogan has dismissed one recording as a “montage,” described another as “natural” and said the entire investigation is backed by “foreign powers” and spearheaded by followers of a U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The latter has denied the allegations.

Regardless, the leaks are set to go on.

In a message on Twitter on March 19, “Haramzadeler” promised the leaks would continue until municipal elections and beyond.

“These publications will continue not just until March 30, but until Turkey sees the whole truth,” according to the post.

And since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” One wonders how long until other despotic regimes – the Eurozone comes to mind – encourage Erdogan and decide to adopt some of his more radical measures.

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To "Destroy Twitter", Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge

Turkey PM Acts On His Threat To “Destroy Twitter”, Blocks Countrywide Access | Zero Hedge.

When we reported early yesterday that Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan warned that since Twitter had ignored court orders to remove content related to a government corruption scandal., that he would “destroy Twitter” and that “we’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey” it may not have been quite clear what he meant. A few hours later it was revealed, when virtually all Twitter access was blocked in Turkey ten days ahead of the general election in a move that has already enraged the nation and resulted in a powerful public outcry.

Bloomberg reports that the “tweets targeted by the premier are from two anonymous users: one going by the name of Haramzadeler, a phrase translated by Turkish media as “Sons of Thieves” though it could also mean “bastard,” and another called Bascalan, or “Prime Thief.”  The person or persons have been leaking documents and audio files, some described as the results of a 15-month prosecutor-led investigation into corruption in Erdogan’s government. The leaks have captured the attention of Turkey’s 74 million citizens as the prime minister prepares for local elections on March 30. Zero Hedge reported on the leaks one month ago, which revealed that the PM and his sons were scrambling to hide their stolen money from the local prosecution during an anti-corruption raid in late 2013.

The leaks also call into question everything from the financial probity of ministers to their religious piety, and provide evidence of a media browbeaten by the government. That’s enlivened the opposition and put Erdogan on the defensive amid public allegations of graft involving the premier’s family and businessmen who’ve profited during his 11 years in power.

Turkey’s Information Technology and Telecommunications Board, or BTK, said Twitter had been blocked upon “complaints from our citizens” and “violations of personal rights and privacy,” according to a statement on its website today.

“The Internet site called Twitter has ignored decisions made by the courts of the Republic of Turkey,” the board said in the statement. “Left with no other choice to prevent the incompensable victimization of our citizens, a preventive measure blocking access to Twitter has been imposed in line with court decisions.”

Of course, the sheer idiocy of hoping to spread information by blocking one medium needs no commentary. What is worse for the embattled corrupt PM, however, is that worse revelations are coming:

Local media has reported that the most damaging leaks were yet to come. In a column in Yeni Safak newspaper yesterday, Hayrettin Karaman, a retired professor of Islamic law, pre-emptively denied the validity of a tape he said would be aired, showing him advising Erdogan on whether Islam would permit him to order the killing of politician Muhsin Yazicioglu, who died in a helicopter crash on March 25, 2009.

Yesterday, a prominent Turkish news anchorwoman denied rumors of a sexual affair with the prime minister. The pro-government media had been warning this week that new leaks would use “Hollywood” technology including silicon masks to make actors look like recognizable Turkish personalities.

While the original investigation stalled after prosecutors were removed, laws changed and thousands of police officers transferred, some of the files leaked from “Haramzadeler” have been incorporated into parliamentary record by the opposition.

As for the explanations from Erdogan, they have long since moved beyond the merely ridiculous:

Speaking across Turkey, Erdogan has dismissed one recording as a “montage,” described another as “natural” and said the entire investigation is backed by “foreign powers” and spearheaded by followers of a U.S.-based Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The latter has denied the allegations.

Regardless, the leaks are set to go on.

In a message on Twitter on March 19, “Haramzadeler” promised the leaks would continue until municipal elections and beyond.

“These publications will continue not just until March 30, but until Turkey sees the whole truth,” according to the post.

And since Turkey will certainly not stop at just Twitter, here is what is coming next: “Last week, Erdogan said the country could also block Facebook and YouTube.” One wonders how long until other despotic regimes – the Eurozone comes to mind – encourage Erdogan and decide to adopt some of his more radical measures.

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge.

It appears the madness is contagious. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in an ongoing and huge corruption probe, lashed out at “international conspiracies” in a speech at a rally in Bursa. “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey.” With the looming elections – sure to fair and equitable to all – he warned he would “settle scores” after winning. Indeed…

Via Bloomberg,

“We’ll dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots.”

“When people say, ‘Sir, the international community would say this or that,’ it doesn’t interest me at all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says today, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan, quoted at a rally in Bursa, also says:

Court decision has been made regarding Twitter, without elaborating on the decision

“International conspiracies are a part of this”

“They’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”

"We'll Destroy Twitter" Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge

“We’ll Destroy Twitter” Blasts Turkish PM | Zero Hedge.

It appears the madness is contagious. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, embroiled in an ongoing and huge corruption probe, lashed out at “international conspiracies” in a speech at a rally in Bursa. “We’ll dig up Twitter – all of them – from the roots,” he raged, “they’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey.” With the looming elections – sure to fair and equitable to all – he warned he would “settle scores” after winning. Indeed…

Via Bloomberg,

“We’ll dig up Twitter and so on — all of them — from the roots.”

“When people say, ‘Sir, the international community would say this or that,’ it doesn’t interest me at all,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says today, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan, quoted at a rally in Bursa, also says:

Court decision has been made regarding Twitter, without elaborating on the decision

“International conspiracies are a part of this”

“They’ll see the power of the Republic of Turkey”

Turkish Lira Blows Out As Graft Scandal Comes Back With A Vengeance | Zero Hedge

Turkish Lira Blows Out As Graft Scandal Comes Back With A Vengeance | Zero Hedge.

Update as things just got worseTURKISH POLICE CLOSE DOWN GEZI PARK IN ISTANBUL, CNN-TURK SAYS

As we reported previously, on Monday new revelations in the graft scandal surrounding Turkish PM Erdogan in the form of a leaked phone conversation between him and his son, Bilal, detailing plans how to hide huge sums of cash, by some estimates up to $1 billion, brought back the political crisis that has gripped the nation front and center, and led to renewed demands by the opposition party that the PM resign. It also sent the USDTRY surging to levels not seen in weeks. We said: “Somehow we doubt that Erdogan will resign, however, this latest confirmation that the graft scandal that is and will continue to dodge the Turkish Prime Minister is not going away, may just be the catalyst that pushes the TRY, and with it some of the other recently pacified EMs, back into volatile mode.” Today the crisis is fully back and so is the predicted volatility, with the Lira blowing out by another 400 pip to a level of 2.240, not seen since the first week of February when the Turkish central bank was scrambling to restore confidence in the imploding currency.

What prompted this latest risk flaring? Several things. As Turkish media outlet Hurriyet reportedTurkey’s main opposition took to the streets of Istanbul on Feb. 26 to throw away millions of fake bills, in protest against the latest leaked voice recordings incriminating Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and his son.

In the call, apparently made in the wake of the Dec. 17 graft investigation, the prime minister and his son can be heard desperately trying to hide considerable amounts of cash.

“Everywhere is bribery! Everywhere is corruption!” shouted the demonstrators, a chant coined following the graft scandal, in reference to the symbolic slogan of the Gezi Park protests, while urging the government to resign.

The Republican People Party’s (CHP) candidate for the Istanbul mayoralty Mustafa Sar?gül used harsh language targeting the government over the revelations.

All across Istanbul you can see billboards of the prime minister saying ‘strong will.’ Here is a test of your will. Either you prove [that you are not guilty] or you resign and go,” Sar?gül said, referring to the campaign launched by an NGO close to the government after the corruption scandal surfaced. Huge posters of Erdo?an with the motto “strong will” can be seen across Istanbul, plastered near main arteries, on construction buildings and even on stadiums.

The fresh tape, leaked onto the Internet late Feb. 24 and allegedly featuring four phone conversations, is significant for being the first source to implicate Erdo?an personally in the vast corruption scandal.

The recordings feature Erdo?an and his son discussing how to get rid of a sum of cash equivalent to 2.2 billion Turkish Liras, according to the opposition. In one part of the alleged recording, the son, Bilal Erdo?an, is heard saying that he still needs to dispose of 30 million euros.

In a clear reference to the tape, CHP officials handed out fake money amounting to 30 million euros during a demonstration near Taksim Square, throwing the paper banknotes in the air like confetti.

“We are ashamed of this situation. Those 30 million euros are only a small share of the amount of cash that the prime minister told [his son] to ‘clean’ on Dec. 17. There is also the mother share. Think about how huge that must be,” said the CHP’s Istanbul provincial head, O?uz Kaan Sal?c?.

Erdo?an has virulently rejected the voice recordings on Feb. 25, calling them “fake” and denouncing as a “montage.” CHP head Kemal K?l?çdaro?lu has claimed that they are “as authentic as the Mount Ararat.” The Ankara Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the tapes, following a request from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

As we said on Monday, “since Erdogan has already eliminated any judges that are not sympathetic to his regime, the question of how much justice will be revealed is irrelevant.” However, in an indication of how desperate the government is to redirect attention from this latest scandal, a follow up article from Anadolu news agency, reported that a Turkish attorney, Hudaverdi Yildirim, has filed a complaint to Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office against Fethullah Gulen on Wednesday, asking him to be tried of crimes such as, “forming an organization”, ” an organized coup attempt” and “organized deceit”.

Yildirim claimed in his petition that national ‘economic secrets’ and the activities of National Intelligence Service (MIT) were disclosed and an illegal chase was launched.

Referring to the December 17 anti-graft operation, Yildirim said: “National secrets were disclosed at the end of the anti-graft operations, which were illegally conducted and the country’s economy was damaged by around US$ 200 billion.”

Crimes of treason, a coup against a legal government, qualified deceit, and abuse of power were committed at the same time and by the same people, alleged the petition, adding that Fethullah Gulen, “used his political and moral power on prosecutors, by which he becomes instigator of the prosecutors that target legal government”.

The attorney demanded Gulen and his allies be tried of crimes of “forming an organization”, “an organized coup attempt” and “organized deceit and abuse of power.”

An anti-graft operation was launched on December 17 in Turkey, which resulted in the detentions and arrests of high-profile bureaucrats, including the sons of three former cabinet ministers and businessmen.

Turkey’s government claim it is targeted by a group within the state that has international links. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior government officials have blamed the group for ‘attempting to run an agenda of its own with the December anti-graft operation’.

Recall that Gulen, a dissident who currently lives in Pennsylvania, was the person whom the government accused of staging the graft probe which revealed just how deep the government corruption rabbit hole truly goes. That the PM is willing to go all the way in this latest scapegoating persecution perhaps confirms just how concerned the administration is, even if for the time being nothing dramatically has changed except for ever bolder revelations of just how much theft and corruption the current Turkish regime has engaged in.

Finally, should indeed the central bank once again lose control of Turkish FX rates, and should the EM crisis once again return, perhaps the DE Shaw correlation algos will finally realize just how far ahead of themselves they have gotten by simply chasing various carry funding currency pairs as an indicator of “fundamental” value.

New Internet law in Turkey sparks outrage – Features – Al Jazeera English

New Internet law in Turkey sparks outrage – Features – Al Jazeera English.

Controversial web controls implemented after phone-recording leaks raise questions and stoke public anger.

 Last updated: 25 Feb 2014 13:10

Street protests and anti-censorship campaigns have been launched to oppose Turkey’s internet law [AFP]
Turkey’s new law tightening the state’s grip on the Internet has gone into force after President Abdullah Gul approved the controversial legislation pushed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.The legislation changes Turkey’s original 2007 Internet law, and has sparked street protests and various public campaigns against the new online controls.

The conservative government has rejected claims that the law will lead to censorship, arguing instead that it aims at protecting individual rights and privacy. “There is no censorship on the Internet. Freedoms are not restricted. We are only taking precautions against blackmail and immorality,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said.

“If the Internet and computers are not used in a proper way under certain monitoring and order, they do not constitute beneficial or educational tools anymore. Instead, they turn into dangers with bitter results.”

Last year’s Gezi Park protests against the Turkish government were largely organised through social media, which Erdogan at the time called “the worst menace to society“.

#UnFollowAbdullahGul

A Twitter campaign – #UnFollowAbdullahGul – was launched after Turkey’s tech-savvy president approved the proposed Internet bill, despite his expressed concerns. His follower count dropped by more than 100,000 in two days last week.

In another campaign named #4Saat (“four hours” in Turkish), liberal newspaper Radikal started self-censoring various news stories on its website every four hours – the time needed to block a URL under the new administrative process – to protest against the legislation.

Critics of the new law organised several protests

Eyup Can, the editor-in-chief of Radikal, told Al Jazeera the digital campaign aims at providing the Turkish public with a better understanding of the new law.

“As the legislation is highly technical both in terms of law and technology, sometimes it is not easy for the public to understand. We wanted to display the practical future outcomes of the law and make the Turkish public grasp what changes it would make in our lives,” he said.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP), the main opposition party, has repeatedly declared it would take the legislation to the Constitutional Court.

“The AKP government, striving to restrict freedom in every domain, is stepping up its pressure on the Internet, which is becoming increasingly important in our daily lives,” CHP said in a statement.

Turkey is an Internet-savvy country with 21.9 million broadband Internet subscriptions as of last September, according to a report by Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority. There are 68.4 million mobile-phone subscriptions and 47.5 million 3G subscriptions in a country with 75 million people.

The European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations have expressed concern over the legislation, along with rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

A similar bill proposed by the government in 2011 was shelved following mass street protests. This time, however, the government decided to go forward despite a similar reaction.

What is new?

The legislation allows Turkey’s telecommunications authority (TIB) to block websites without first obtaining a court order. With a complaint filed for breach of “privacy of persons”, TIB has the power to order the blocking of a URL, which will be carried out by Internet service providers within four hours.

A court order must then be sought by the telecommunications authority within 24 hours. However, the web page remains offline until the court makes a decision.

The president of the TIB can also block URLs without complaints having been filed, if prospective plaintiffs are not capable of applying, or if a delay could cause “irreversible consequences”.

Gokhan Ahi, a lawyer and lecturer specialising in Internet law, told Al Jazeera the TIB could use its newly given authority anyway it sees fit. “Will it monitor delays of complaints [over breaches of privacy] for every citizen, or only for the government? By law, this institution works under the jurisdiction of the government, and it would carry out any written order from it to block a web page when it has such a power,” Ahi said.

Blocking web pages immediately after complaints are lodged creates a legal basis to sweep news reports and other online information under the carpet, Ahi said, pointing out that the ensuing court process ensures the URLs stay blocked for some time.

The rush of phone recordings to the Internet is so disgusting that, I believe, accelerating the legal decision-making mechanism [for blocking URLs] is in line with the principle of right to privacy.- Hilal Kaplan, columnist

Data will be stored

The law also requires Internet service providers to collect all data on web users’ activities for up to two years, and to provide authorities with the data in question on demand.

Users’ information on Internet traffic will be collected based on IP and subscriber numbers, instead of URLs, which was criticised as being more intrusive. The collected data will only be accessible by court order.

The law allows single URLs to be blocked, as opposed to entire websites, as directed by the old legislation. The blocking of YouTube from 2007 until 2010 for videos insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was a significant example of that.

It also removes prison sentences for content and access providers who violate the law, which was a big obstacle for foreign investors in the sector. However, prison sentences can still be handed down if violators do not pay fines they incur under the law.

According to Can of Radikal, there is nothing wrong with regulating the Internet as long as it doesn’t restrict freedom of information.

“Through this law, the job [to block web pages] has been left to the initiative of a public employee heading a state institution, and this creates an arbitrary situation,” Can said.

Leaked recordings

The swift adoption of the new Internet law comes after the online leak of phone recordings that allegedly document corruption in state tenders and bribery involving businessmen and the Turkish government.

The latest recording, which was leaked on Monday, purports to be a conversation between Erdogan and his son Bilal, in which the prime minister asked him to move money from his and his relatives’ homes. Bilal supposedly said in the recording that some 30m euros ($41m) still remain to be disposed of. The prime minister has said the recording is fake.

Other recordings have revealed Erdogan’s direct intervention in mainstream media coverage. He confirmed one of these conversations at a recent press conference.

Some of these recordings were released through court orders and publicised by the CHP, the main opposition party. Others were leaked anonymously on social media and video-sharing websites, and their authenticity has not been challenged by the government.

Listening Post: Turkey’s media pressure points

In mid-December, the government was hit by unexpected and comprehensive corruption probes, mainly targeting the sons of ministers, bureaucrats and prominent businesspeople.

The government alleged the investigations were organised by a “parallel state”, an apparent reference to Gulen, a religious group formerly allied with the AKP whose followers are widely believed to wield significant influence over Turkey’s police and judiciary.

Erdogan linked the phone leaks several times to the Gulen Movement.

The government’s reaction to the corruption investigations was to initiate a country-wide comprehensive reshuffling in the Turkish Police Forces, which, according to media reports, halted a planned second and third wave of detentions. Prosecutors who launched the investigations were removed, and the AKP-dominated parliament recently adopted a new law increasing its influence over the judiciary.

Hilal Kaplan, a pro-government columnist for the Yeni Safak daily, linked the revamped Internet law to the recent phone leaks. “The rush of phone recordings to the Internet is so disgusting that, I believe, accelerating the legal decision-making mechanism [for blocking URLs] is in line with the principle of right to privacy protected by Article 20 of the constitution,” she recently wrote.

The government has rejected any link between the phone leaks and the new legislation, saying it had worked on the text of the law for the past two years.

Radikal’s editor Can disagreed, however, saying the leaked recordings had spurred the government to push through the new Internet controls before local elections scheduled for March 30.

“The government would not bring the bill to the parliament this fast if it was not for the recent developments. It is an issue that should have been widely discussed in the country, as there are no certain global norms about the use of the Internet,” he said.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Thriceee

Turkey tightens control over judiciary – Europe – Al Jazeera English

Turkey tightens control over judiciary – Europe – Al Jazeera English.

Legislation gives the government more control over how judges are appointed amid violent scuffles between legislators.

Last updated: 15 Feb 2014 15:34
Turkey’s parliament has passed a bill tightening government control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors, with legislators violently scuffling over the contested reforms introduced amid a majorcorruption scandal.The bill would give the Justice Ministry greater sway over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), an independent body responsible for appointing members of the judiciary. The legislation approved on Saturday also gives the justice minister the right to launch investigations into its members.

The opposition says that the reform package is a “government manoeuvre” to limit fallout from a graft investigation that has ensnared top allies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The law is an apparent indicator of the ruling AKP attempt to cover the corruption investigationAykan Aydemir, CHP lawmaker

“The law is an apparent indicator of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s [AKP] attempt to cover the corruption investigation by redesigning the judiciary,” CHP legislator Aykan Aydemir told AFP news agency.

The measures were passed on Saturday morning with 210 votes in favour and 28 against.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy Ozcan Yeniceri criticised the bill, saying it was aimed at “meeting the needs of the AK Party” to delay the graft investigation in which dozens of prominent business people, the sons of three cabinet ministers, and state officials were questioned.

Parliament resumed debate of the bill on Friday despite an uproar from opposition parties and the international community who warned it threatened the independence of the judiciary in the country, which hopes to join the European Union.

Ilter Turan, political analyst at Bilgi University, told Al Jazeera that the bill is bound to generate criticism both locally and internationally.

“The Turkish prime minister promised the European Union to observe the rules of the EU as regards to democratic practises. So this is bound to generate negative responses among the opposition domestically and will put Turkey in a difficult position internationally,” said Turan.

Violent scuffle

Fighting erupted with fists flying in the air between ruling party and opposition legislators as the bill was debated overnight into Saturday in a marathon 20-hour sitting.

Overnight debate on the bill left MP Kokturk with a bloodied nose [Reuters]

Ali Ihsan Kokturk, legislator from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), got a bloodied nose in the brawl, while ruling party legislator Bayram Ozcelik’s finger was broken.

CHP had said on Thursday it would appeal the bill in the Constitutional Court if it was approved in parliament.

The battle for control of the HSYK, the body which appoints senior members of the judiciary, lies at the heart of a feud between Erdogan and US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen, who is said to have millions of followers, has built up influence in the police and judiciary over decades. Erdogan blames him for unleashing the corruption investigation, which he sees as a way of unseating him.

The government has reassigned and dismissed thousands of police officers and hundreds of judges and prosecutors since the graft scandal erupted on December 17.

14 Turkish Protesters Jailed For 2 Years For “Insulting” Prime Minister | Zero Hedge

14 Turkish Protesters Jailed For 2 Years For “Insulting” Prime Minister | Zero Hedge.

Forget throwing Molotov cocktails; don’t worry about throwing stones or hand to hand combat with the Police… the real trouble for Turkish protesters appears to be “insults” and “tree-hugging”:

  • *TURKEY PROSECUTOR REQUESTS JAIL FOR TREE-PLANTING STUDENTS: NTV
  • *Turkey Protesters Given Jail for Insults to Erdogan

The punishments vary from 2-years to 14 years in jail!!

So it seems sticks and words can hurt one after all…

If you can’t do the time, don’t plant a tree…

Prosecutor asks for jail time for students protesting the construction of a road at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, NTV news reports.

Three students detained after planting trees as part of protest and charged with obstructing public works

Prosecutor asks for jail sentences ranging from 2 yrs, 6 months to 14 yrs, 6 months

or dare to insult the Prime Minister…

 Court in Eskisehir gives 17 suspects jail terms for insulting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a demonstration, state-run Anatolia news agency reports.

14 suspects get two-year jail sentences each, 3 other suspects get 1 year imprisonment each, Anatolia says

All seems very “fair”…

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