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EU slams Turkey new cyber law

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The European Commission has slammed Turkey’s newly-adopted cyber law allowing the government to block websites without a court ruling.

Commission spokesman Peter Stano said on Thursday that the law raised “serious concerns” as it “introduces several restrictions on freedom of expression.”

The Turkish Parliament passed the law late on Wednesday, allowing the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB) to block access to websites deemed to violate privacy or have “insulting” content without a court order.

The TIB could also request users’ communications and traffic information from providers also without a court ruling.

“The Turkish public deserves more information and more transparency, not more restrictions,” Stano said, adding that since Turkey is a candidate for EU membership, the law “needs to be revised in line with European standards.”

He also stated that the EU has made it clear that Ankara’s recent legal changes should meet European norms, adding that Brussels is “monitoring very closely” how Turkey meets the EU membership criteria.

Turkey has been seeking to gain accession to the 28-member European bloc since 2005, but its bid has been thwarted by vehement opposition from key members –France and Germany.

The new measure came as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Critics say Erdogan’s adoption of harsh measures is an attempt to contain the scandal probe involving some of his close allies.

Erdogan has denounced the probe as a plot to undermine his government ahead of the local elections in March, adding that the graft allegations against businesspersons and government officials are hindering the economic growth.


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