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Turkey8 April 2008

Illegal court ban on websites deplored

Reporters Without Borders today criticised a Turkish court’s indefinite suspension of two pro-Kurdish websites and called for an explanation from the authorities, as the law requires.

The Ankara assizes court on 20 March ordered suspension of the website of the daily paper Gündem,, which has been inaccessible since 1 April and on 11 February that of the Firat news agency (ANF),, both for alleged “propaganda in favour of the Kurdistan Workers Party.”

The worldwide press freedom organisation said the websites had never been officially informed of the court’s decisions and why exactly they had been suspended and had not been able to defend themselves.

Internet websites are routinely shut down when part of their content is deemed unsuitable. Access to YouTube inside Turkey has been blocked three times in the past year after it posted a video that a court said was insulting to modern Turkey’s founder, Kemal Atatürk.

Under the November 2007 law governing online publications and cyber-crime, websites can be suspended during judicial investigations. A military court banned the independent news site Indymedia without explanation on 1 April.

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