After the destruction caused by the earthquakes in Kahramanmaras, the earthquake is the most important issue on the agenda in our country. What happened after the disaster, and some of the situations that arose, are being discussed very seriously. The unpreparedness of our country for an earthquake, thousands of destroyed buildings, the death of countless people, the delay in responding to the earthquake zone and many other issues cause both anger and great sadness. President Erdogan, on the other hand, said that those who say aid in the earthquake area was belated or insufficient “I’m dishonest, I’m immoral, this is mean” goals with words. In parallel, some TV programs are banned, especially about the earthquake, access to a popular website such as Ekşi Sözlük is banned, and many people are being investigated for their social media posts. All of this raises a new and troubling question: has a wave of censorship begun in Turkey? Let’s look at the details together.
Since the Kahramanmaras earthquakes, social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok have been sanctioned for “reducing the range”.
Many people have strongly criticized this practice, which was carried out during the most critical hours after the earthquake. However, in the subsequent period, interference on the Internet continues to increase.
Access to Ekşi Sözlük is blocked by the Information Technology and Communications Authority (BTK). In other words, the reason for the closure of Ekşi Sözlük is “to protect national security and public order”. Thousands of people, including many political figures, are sharply critical of the closure of Ekşi Sözlük.
For example, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), responded to this decision with the post “Take your hand off Ekši Sözlük immediately.” Kılıçadaroğlu from his social media account “Twitter was turned off at the most critical hours, I did not hear the call for help. Now they have turned down the volume of Ekşi Sözlük. Communications Directorate that has no patience for anything other than the lies it produces, get your hands off Eksha Sözlük right now.” general.
The General Directorate of Security reported that 925 account managers were identified who allegedly posted provocative posts.
It was reported that 134 people were detained, 25 people were arrested. However, the apps that bring to mind the question of whether a wave of censorship has begun in Turkey are not limited to the internet environment.
The Higher Council for Radio and Television (RTÜK) has suspended broadcasting and fined TV channels such as TELE 1, FOX TV and Halk TV due to the broadcast of the earthquake.
These fines are also being interpreted as a war waged by the government against those who show what they don’t want to see. Recently, however, one can come across practices such as “book banning”, which are practically not found in the modern world.
At the initiative of the Department of Religious Affairs, a ban was imposed on the publication of the book of theologian writer Ihsan Eliaçik entitled “The Living Quran, Turkish Tafsir Food”, and it was decided to confiscate it.
The shutdown of TV channels, the confiscation of books and the blocking of access to websites were seen by many as the start of a disturbing censorship operation in Turkey.
Abdulla Keskin, editor-in-chief of the Avesta publishing house, says the recent bans are the beginning of a wave of censorship and repression.
The website avestakitap.com, affiliated with Avesta Publications, was recently blocked due to “terrorist propaganda”. Keskin said about this:It seems to me that this is the beginning of a much larger wave of censorship and repression. Because a very detailed and unrelated search was made. Although it is very surprising that such things are still resorted to in our time, I cannot say that I am surprised at the same time. Our lawyers will object to this, and in no case will we allow this obstacle to become an obstacle to our work. We have seen much more difficult times, and I think we will get through it all.” uses expressions.
Kenan Kocaturk, president of the Turkish Publishers Association, says the book ban is not a new situation.
Saying that he doesn’t think it’s right to ban a website that sells books, Kocaturk also says book bans are not a new situation. Kotsaturk on the theme “For example, a world famous book published 30 years ago was banned by the recent decision of an evil committee.” he uses.
Former president of the Şanlıurfa Bar Association, Mehmet Velat Izol, says pressure may continue during the electoral process.
Isol states that after the attempted coup d’état in 2016, a de facto state of emergency was declared in the country, and bans and obstacles continued, and said:Unfortunately, the state of emergency imposed for many years after the earthquake suddenly began to bring us bans.” is in his assessment.
Pointing out that the recent ban decisions could be a step towards elections, Isol said:I attribute this to the selection process. I think they clarified the date of the elections among themselves yesterday, and then a wave of censorship went to such opposition groups. We have become accustomed to this, but it seems that this pressure is likely to continue in this electoral process.” uses expressions.
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