Day by day, Turkey is slowly inching away from a democratic society which values individual freedoms and becoming just another Middle Eastern quasi-theocracy in a tight grip of semi-literate wild-eyed bearded men, followed by their near invisible, burqa covered concubines.
During the past week, a coalition of hard line Turkish Islamic political parties who control the Turkish Information Technologies and Communication Authority (BTK) and immediately enacted a regulation to censor the internet. The censorship package is considered to be one of the most restrictive in the world.
In a particularly cruel and deceptive ploy, the censorship package contains four equally restrictive categories which each Turkish online account holder must choose for themselves.
Thus, each household inside the country will have the ‘freedom of choice’ between four levels of identical internet filtering, conveniently camouflaging the loss of freedom under a cloak of free choice.
BTK, denied that the new policy can be construed as censorship since the final choice of one of the four ‘morality guides’ is left to each individual. The regulation clearly states that some websites will be blacked listed and are unsafe to visit, and no particular industry will be targeted, the BTK spokesman said.
The regulation is targeted at the large segment of the population who enjoy gambling at illegal foreign based online casino in Turkey. However, due to the very vague phrasing of the censorship regulation, any website could become instantly blocked at the sole discretion of BTK without even a right to an appeal.
The cleverly titled regulation is called “Procedures and Principles Regarding the Safe Use of the Internet.” Each internet account owner within the country must select the ‘censorship for children package’, the ‘rural community censorship package’, the ‘standard censorship package’ or the very popular ‘family censorship package. ’
Despite strict Islamic prohibition on most forms of gambling, a government operated online sportsbooks in Turkey is thriving. A significant segment of the population gambles at hundreds of illegal casinos which could be found in every metropolis, town or hamlet.
All forms of gambling with the exception of the government operated sports book have been declared illegal under new Turkish gambling lawsenacted in 2007 when religious hardliners were elected to power.