CCIA Concerned About Turkey Blocking Internet Commerce

BY Heather Greenfield
March 28, 2014

Brussels/Washington – There are conflicting media reports about whether Turkey, after earlier actions taken against Twitter, has now also blocked access to YouTube. News that some Internet users are not able to reach YouTube follows reports that a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on the video sharing site.

Legislation passed earlier this year put the Internet under greater governmental control through measures like allowing the Turkish telecoms to block websites without a judicial decision.  We are still evaluating Turkish ongoing judicial efforts to prevent such blocking.

The following can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“Blocking access to online sites in this era is unlikely to succeed technically or politically. It does not tend to work out well for governments and world leaders, and causes economic harm to innocent parties.  A censorship approach is likely to backfire for leaders in the short run and contribute to a longer term problem of trust both for Internet users and businesses, leading to a climate of business and economic uncertainty.

“In addition to demonstrating flagrant disregard for human rights and social norms, site blocking of this nature interferes with commerce and international trade. These actions may well violate Turkey’s binding commitments under trade agreements, and may be actionable under international law.”

The following can be attributed to CCIA Vice President James Waterworth, who heads CCIA’s Brussels office:

“Although Turkey’s leader spoke about the possibility of blocking social media earlier this month, we were encouraged when it appeared that he did not carry out that threat, so reports that YouTube is now being blocked are especially disappointing.

“Sites like Twitter and YouTube play a role for citizens to share information in a modern, digitally connected world, which Turkey is part of. Threats or attempts to block access to information damage Turkey’s reputation with Europe and the economic attractiveness of the country for both investors and entrepreneurs.”

 

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