09/06/2011 | Writer: Kaos GL

May 16, 2011<br />BİA News Center <br /><br />Tens of Thousands of people took the streets in 31 Turkish provinces on 15 May to demonstrate against the "Draft Bill on Rules and Procedures of the Safety of Internet Use". The draft law will be enforced on 22 August.

Hundreds of thousands of Turkish internet users took the streets in 31 Turkish provinces on Sunday (15 May) to demonstrate against the "Draft Bill on Rules and Procedures of the Safety of Internet Use" that was approved by the Council of Information Technologies and Telecommunication (BTK) in the end of February.

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Taksim Square in central Istanbul alone on Sunday afternoon to protest against the draft bill that was appealed by bianet in an application filed to the Council of State in April.

The draft law will be enforced on 22 August.

Social networking sites took the street

The participants of the protest action got organized via Facebook and Twitter. They walked along Istiklal Avenue all the way from Taksim Square to the Tünel district. Many groups joined the demonstration, among them also political parties, the Linux Users Association, the LGBTT initiative LambdaIstanbul, the 'Hands off the Internet' Initiative and websites like Kaldıraç, İnci Dictionary, Ekşi Dictionary, bobiler.org, Uykusuz, and the Ulusağ dictionary.

Throughout the three-hour walk, the demonstrators shouted slogans such as "Internet without TİB" in reference to the Telecommunication Communication Presidency; "The strings of the BTK are attached to Fetullah's hand" in relation to the Fetullah Gülen congregation or "Hands off our freedom, opinions, books and internet".

Voices of the Protestors

Fatih Sevinlikurt, internet designer: This is a ridiculous application in general. The internet is the only place that remained free for us. If they start to impose bans like this, hundreds of people prefer to raise their voices in protest actions instead of spending such a beautiful day with their family and loved once, as we see it today.

Ahmet Yılmaz from İnci Dictionary, independent MP candidate in Eskişehir: I do not understand this kind of prohibitions. Why are they afraid of us? I will support the youth in the parliament and I will struggle for the solution of this sort of problems.

Ayşen Davulcu, student: The internet is the only place where I can share my ideas freely. I do not want my freedoms to be restricted by the "social moral". That is their moral, this is mine. Nobody's moral may restrict anybody's freedom.

Ece Erbakan, student: Step by step, the government is reaching the system they imagined. The internet filter is one extension of this. They are trying to make the internet wear a veil and they are trying to restrict our freedoms.

Doruk Yayla, lawyer: They tend to prohibit sexuality on the internet. But they ignore that the young people learn from the internet what is wrong our right in terms of sexuality. I think that it can increase cases of rape and abuse if you would ban sexuality from the internet.

Melisa Sivri, student: We have a government in Turkey nowadays that wants to keep the people under control. They want no obstructions. The internet is frightening them just as it frightens any other government. Hence, they are trying to harmonize the internet as a supposed "complication" with their vision of life.

Osman Dabak, Linux Users Association: For the first time, this many people who are not politically engaged came together. This means they will also fight for their rights on a constitutional level.

Memo Tembel Çizer from the Uykusuz ('Sleepless') website: Protests must go on in order to achieve a retreat of censorship. Of course, this cannot be done by demonstrations only; legal ways have to be pushed until the end. We need to get organized in order to be able to lead the struggle against the law executions of the government.

Elif Buse Kardın, Lambdaİstanbul: We are walking for our rights. They do not even tolerate our name on the internet. They think we are opposing the general moral. But they cannot reconcile us with their own moral.

Banners carried by the protestors read for example, "Children are protected by their family, not by filters", "The state cannot meddle with my clothes, my language and my links", "Don't click away our freedoms" or "Don't touch my porn"

Original Link of this News Article: Country-Wide Protests: "Don't Touch the Internet

Tags: human rights