Web Censorship Is So Bad in Turkey That Blogs Are Shutting Themselves Down In Protest

It doesn’t take much to get your Website banned in Turkey. Pretty much any complaint to a lower court can get a Website blocked in the country. Websites including YouTube, DailyMotion, Alibaba, Slide.com, and some WordPress blogs have all been banned, usually because of some purported slight to the Turkish government or Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. (The Youtube ban was the result of a sophomoric video claiming Ataturk was gay).

The problem has gotten so bad that Turkish blogs are now banning themselves in protest. The fake bans started with Firat Yildiz, who put this message up on his blog:

Bu siteye erişim kendi kararıyla engellenmiştir

which roughly translates to:

The access to this web site is prevented by its owner’s free will.

Then another Turkish blogger, Selim Yoruk, created this page with a piece of code that lets any blogger easily add the same message to his homepage. Nearly 200 Turkish blogs have (temporarily) shut themselves down in this manner. The point is to show Turkish Web surfers what the Internet would look like if the censorship continues unabated. The protest will last until Wednesday.

(Photo by John Walker).