CHP takes controversial Internet law to Constitutional Court

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) appealed on Thursday to the Constitutional Court, seeking to annul a controversial law giving the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) more power over Internet content.

The Internet law, which was passed by Parliament on Feb. 20, extended the executive power of TIB over Internet censorship.

Parliament on the night of Feb. 5 approved measures that allow TIB to block websites that violate privacy without seeking permission from a court. The measures also force Internet providers to keep records of users’ activity for two years and make them available to authorities upon request. The law was approved by President Abdullah Gul on Feb. 28.

oncerned about the law’s potential effects on freedom of speech, CHP Deputy Chairman Akif Hamzaçebi was the person who took the bill to the Constitutional Court on behalf of his party on Thursday, in the hope that the top court will overturn it.

Speaking to reporters in front of the Constitutional Court building in Ankara after he filed the appeal petition regarding the Internet law, CHP Deputy Chairman Hamzaçebi said Turkey has being ruled by a government that is fearful of social media, the Internet, and freedom of expression and the media, adding: “Pharaohs, symbols of persecution and oppression, were fearful of Moseses. Today the symbol of persecution and oppression in Turkey [the government] fears a bird [Twitter]. There is now a government that has been fighting this bird.”

Hamzaçebi stated that Turkey has lost prestige with this law that brought many restrictions to Internet users, adding: “While Turkey has been conducting negotiations for possible membership in the EU no matter how slowly it continues, it has put itself among Third World countries. The ban on Twitter and YouTube, and all restrictions on the Internet in general, and pressure applied on media outlets cannot comply with a Turkey that is drastically trying to improve its level of democracy in the 21st century.”

Harshly criticizing the authorities given to TIB by the Internet law, Hamzaçebi said the fact that TIB has acquired the authority to ask for any information from Internet service providers is a clear violation of constitutional principles, which are protection of personal data and the right to privacy, adding that the Internet law is against the Constitution and the international conventions of which Turkey is also a signatory country.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)