After retaining control of parliament with nearly 50 percent of the vote, Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party remains fixated on introducing a compulsory Internet filtering system later this summer, even in the face of mounting criticism.
During a June 21 meeting with Google, Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Turkish President Abdullah Gül reportedly defended the philosophy behind filtering. The meeting placed Gül in the awkward position of championing a form of censorship, even while paying homage to Internet freedom – and, with an apparent eye to Turkey’s popular image in the Middle East -- crediting the Internet with playing an important role in encouraging the Arab Spring.
"Necessary measures should be taken to preserve the family and children as well as personal rights. In this sense, your role is also important,” Gül advised Schmidt, Hürriyet Daily News reported, citing unnamed sources. “If you do not take measures to stop such abuses, then the state intervenes to do so.”
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.