Turkey Blocks 68,000 ‘Blasphemous’ Websites, Including Charlie Hebdo

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Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire URN:19967439/AP

The government of Turkey has banned French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s website from being accessed anywhere in the country along with a total of blocked websites in the tens of thousands.

That Hurriyet Daily News says the total of blocked websites is approaching 68,000. The French provocateurs got kicked off Turkey’s Internet thanks to TİB, the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate, asking the Ankara Golbasi Civil Court of Peace to intervene. “The ruling imposes a blanket ban on the websites of Charlie Hebdo and Turkey’s first atheism association, while blocking individual pages of Ekşi Sözlük (Sour Dictionary) and İnci Sözlük (Pearl Dictionary), two hugely popular forums, as well as pages on news website T24, which recently published the controversial Charlie Hebdo cartoons,” the Daily News reports.

“The court imposed sanctions on a total of 49 websites, ruling that they ‘humiliated the religious values of the people,'” the Daily News explains. “In its criminal complaint, the TİB claimed that ‘insults against religious and holy values could breach public peace.’ It enforced the court’s ruling for many of the targeted websites on March 3, although it acted quicker for a number of others.”

This all falls on the more “enlightened” side of the Islamic speech control spectrum, since at least they went through the motions of a court hearing, and they only blocked websites, rather than throwing people in jail or removing portions of their anatomy. The atheists who got slammed in this ruling seem a bit shell-shocked, as they are not quite clear on exactly how their online activities could be construed as blasphemous. “They haven’t told us what exactly we did wrong according to the law. Please take a look and tell us what we did wrong,” pleaded Onur Romano of the Atheism Association.

In case you’re wondering about the two most likely sources of online “blasphemy,” the Turkish government long ago intimidated Facebook and Twitter into complying with their speech codes, without even having to go through the trouble of dragging them into court. After years of attempting to ban Twitter, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally joined the regulated Turkish version of Twitter this year, though he has not been especially active on the medium.