Dear Mr President,
“The Law (Nr:5651) about the regulation of internet-based broadcasting and the struggle with crimes that are committed via these broadcasting” approved by the Congress on the 4th of May 2007 and came into force on the 23rd of May 2007 after published in the Official Gazette. The purpose of the law is to restrict internet access by classifying Cyber Crimes. The content of the law criticized constantly in the EU Regular Progress Reports for Turkey. The European Court of Human Rights is unanimously ruled that the Law (Nr:5651) violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. (Judgment by the European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), case of Ahmet Yildirim/Turkey, Nr. 3111/10 of 18 December 2012)
With the approving of “The Omnibus Bill” at the Congress, the violation of Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which Turkey is a signatory country, is inevitably getting stronger. The amendments or so called “the revisions” on the Law (Nr:5651) that are approved within “the Omnibus Bill” at the congress on the 5th of February 2014, involve structural problems like violating the fundamental constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, privacy act and, let alone far from finding a solution for the Cyber Crime. With these Amendments, The power of defining a grey area like the violation of the privacy act is taken from the Judicial Branch and given to the Executive Branch which executed by The Presidency of Telecommunication (TİB), Legislative power and executive power interfere with each other and the principle of separation of powers deeply damaged.
In our opinion to grant extensive discretionary power to the management authority and a single person on a delicate subject like privacy act, discourages society from demanding freedom of speech and may even increases the self-censorship. As a matter of fact, with this law The Presidency of Telecommunication (TİB) is turned into an internal auditing and a censorship instrument of the Government which is above the courts and the law
Passing a law with structural problems can easily lead to restrictions on the freedom of speech and freedom of information act and limit the changing and diversifying communication possibilities. However according to Constitution of The Republic of Turkey, Article 22, “Everyone has the freedom of communication. Privacy of communication is fundamental.” “The Omnibus Bill” uses the phrases of “prevent victimization” and “privacy act” as an excuse to cover the truth up in our society. Also the amendments require ISPs to retain data for 1-2 years which is clearly violates the privacy act and Constitution of The Republic of Turkey, Article 20. (“Everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of private or family life shall not be violated.”)
Internet is a free and censor-free communication media. Trying to ban/restrict internet with such kind of laws is literally just a waste of time. Apart from violating every article of our constitution and The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms which Turkey is a party to, This Law must be considered as a huge step for destroying the Constitutional State completely. And it’s certain that, a Law which violates the right to freedom of expression would not be approved by The European Court of Human Rights as we have seen before on the case of Ahmet Yildirim
It’s obvious that the amendments of the law (Nr:5651) serves for the institution of the executive regime instead of building a democratic public domain. Therefore we demand the President of Turkey not to pass the law in the name of public consciousness and Citizen/Netizen rights.
Alternative Informatics Association, Feb.11, 2014