Target: President Abdullah Gül
Goal: Allow equal access to the Internet for the Turkish people
The Turkish government has banned national access to YouTube, blatantly violating freedom of expression in the country. This follows a ban on Twitter a few weeks ago. These restrictions violate Turkey’s obligations under international human rights law to protect the freedom of expression and allow for equal access to information in the country.
The government shut down YouTube after a number of leaked conversations involving government officials were posted to the site. The conversations were between the foreign minister, his undersecretary, the head of the National Intelligence Agency and deputy chief of staff of the Turkish Armed Forces discussing the government’s policy regarding intervention in Syria. Internet users in Turkey have gotten around these blocks by using proxy sites, although the government has now targeted some of those sites as well.
In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the blocking of Google Sites in Turkey violated the freedom of expression. The court also found that Turkey’s legal framework was lacking and could not or would not prevent abuses against the freedom of expression. This is the second time that YouTube has been blocked in the country, after having been blocked from 2007 to 2010. While the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkeys practice of blocking websites was against international law, the government continues to do so. Sign this petition to demand the government discontinue the practice of blocking access to the Internet.
Dear President Abdullah Gül,
The recent decision to block YouTube in your country goes against numerous international laws protecting the freedom of expression. By blocking the Internet, you are also denying your citizens the chance to remain part of the global community. Allowing free access to the Internet allows for an open exchange of information that will only improve your countries economic and social interests.
I ask that you immediately restore access to blocked sites such as YouTube and Twitter. Doing so will show the international community that your government is serious in honoring its commitments and serious in its dedication to protecting the human rights of all your citizens, regardless of their Internet activity.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Erdem Civelek via Wikipedia Commons