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Bending the Internet: Turkey Tests the Limits of Online Control

Jun 21, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
A laptop screen in Istanbul shows an image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emblazoned with the slogan

A laptop screen in Istanbul shows an image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emblazoned with the slogan "Yes We Ban," a play on former U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign iconography. Erdogan's administration has tried to ban or block several popular websites and social media platforms, including YouTube and Twitter.

(OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gradually consolidated his power over the past 15 years, he has steadily increased his control over the internet as well. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) initially limited their online interventions to filtering content they labeled objectionable, such as pornography and depictions of homosexuality, before embarking on efforts to quash dissent and suppress the opposition. Mass protests in Istanbul's Gezi Park in 2013 and the attempted military coup in 2016 prompted Erdogan's administration to redouble its efforts at policing the internet. Since then, Ankara has been working to increase its control of cyberspace in Turkey....

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