This Statement was made March 31, 2014
We are deeply concerned with recent reports that the Turkish government is mandating curtailed access to key social media sites for millions of users across Turkey. Recent actions to implement the Turkish government’s requirement include the redirection of network routes so that Turkish citizens are not getting the correct information from the Domain Name System (DNS). They are instead being redirected to other web sites controlled by Turkish service providers. In addition to undermining core technical functions of the Internet’s architecture, such actions also threaten users’ fundamental human right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas across frontiers.
Interfering with a country’s routing of Internet traffic not only harms citizens’ ability to communicate and innovate as part of the global Internet platform; it can also lead to a fragmentation of the network at the regional and global levels. Ultimately, the Turkish people and nation are the ones that will suffer, as their voices will be lost across the net.
The Internet Society believes that the Internet is a global medium that fuels economic and social development, empowers users with limitless access to knowledge, and supports aspirations for freedom. Bob Hinden, Chair of the Internet Society Board of Trustees, added, “We strongly urge the Turkish Government to stop requiring the blocking of access to social media sites and to allow full Internet access to all Turkish citizens immediately. We believe that the opportunity to participate in the global information society should never be taken away from individuals.”
The Internet Society hopes that nations around the world will come to understand that blocking citizens’ access to the tools of online communication only serves to fuel discord and is not the way to address the underlying concerns of their citizens. Such measures can only undermine citizens’ trust in their government’s ability to provide an enabling Internet environment for economic and social progress.