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Turkey again bans access to popular online forum Ekşi Sözlük

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A Turkish court has blocked access to Ekşi Sözlük, one of the country’s most popular social media websites, after another court lifted a similar access ban imposed on the online forum a day earlier, local media reported on Friday.

The initial ban imposed on the site, where users can anonymously post and discuss messages on any subject, was announced by Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority (BTK) on Feb. 21. The authority said two days later that it was imposed for the “protection of national security and public order.”

According to Turkish media reports, after the Ankara 4th Criminal Court of Peace on Thursday accepted an objection to the access ban filed by a lawyer representing Ekşi Sözlük and lifted it, the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace on Friday considered another objection and upheld the decision to block access to Ekşi Sözlük.

Following the development, Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz, a faculty member at İstanbul Bilgi University law school who is an expert in IT law and also a cyber rights activist, said in a series of tweets that the decision to ban access to Ekşi Sözlük was “final” and that it might take two to three years to lift it again.

Stating that the only solution now was to take the case to Turkey’s Constitutional Court, Akdeniz added, “The [Constitutional Court] then eliminates all effective remedies and delays applications to the [European Court of Human Rights] by slowing down the [legal] process.”

This was not the first time the government has blocked access to popular social media platforms. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have all been subjected to restrictions. Most recently, Twitter was blocked in the wake of the devastating Feb. 6 earthquakes after the government criticized disinformation on the platform.

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