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Erdogan takes on the Internet

The Turkish government is drafting legislation to restrict public access to certain websites.
Demonstrators hold placards with some featuring a picture of Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a protest against internet censorship in Istanbul May 15, 2011. Thousands of people marched in central Istanbul to protest against the government's plan to filter the internet. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) TEMPLATE OUT - RTR2MG6S

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has never been at peace with the Internet. His animosity toward it increased after last summer’s Gezi Park protests proved how effective this medium can be in mobilizing the public politically. Already under international scrutiny over its negative approach to press freedoms and the freedom of expression, his government has now prepared draft legislation that will enable it to arbitrarily decide which websites the public will be allowed to enter, and which ones will be banned.

The move has elicited strong criticism from Turkish Internet watchdog groups, and raised eyebrows in the European Union, which is already concerned over legal steps being taken by the government that are clearly designed to increase its powers over the judiciary.

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