Turkish police to monitor cyber 'defamation of statesmen and religious values'

Turkish police is to monitor 'defamation of statesmen' and 'defamation of religious values' under the pretext of 'anti-cybercrimes', leading to further restriction in the field of the right to freedom of speech
Monday, 04 December 2017 19:26

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has formed 11 new departments within the anti-cybercrime combatting field of Turkish police, which will also monitor "defamation of statesmen" and "defamation of religious values".

The newly-established 11 anti-cybercrime departures: information systems, narcotics, arms sales, the Islamic State, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the FETÖ (the Gülenist terror organization), defamation of statesmen, defamation of Turkish people and religious values, animal cruelty, escorting, child abuse, illegal betting and insults in sportive competitions.   

The new departments have prepared 2,441 research reports until now. The two cyber departments come into prominence, as the one regarding the "defamation of statesmen" restricts the freedom of speech in an attempt to silence the critical voices towards the government while the other one imposes an Islamist approach under the name of “protection of religious values” at the expense of atheist and nonreligious citizens or those affiliated with other religious faiths or sects.

TURKEY AMONG LOW-SCORED COUNTRIES IN 'FREEDOM OF THE NET'

Turkey has witnessed numerous libel suits particularly in the last five years with the initiative of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the grounds of written, verbal or cyber defamations against the president, culminating in huge amounts of fines or imprisonment. Most of the citizens exposed to punishments are composed of social media users.

The Turkish government has launched criminal procedures against many citizens on the grounds that they have made "organizational propaganda" via their social media accounts.

Widely known with its frequent violation of human rights and the right to freedom of speech, Turkey is among the countries with lowest scores in the 'Freedom of the Net'.

The AKP government under Erdoğan often slows down the Internet speed or blocks access to popular social media apps like Twitter particularly during critical moments such as bomb attacks, political corruption or scandalous revelations.