It’s official: Turkey’s president has signed a controversial new internet law which will enable the government to block select websites and require web hosts to turn over individual browser histories.
President Abdullah Gül used Twitter to announce the news Tuesday, and this sparked an immediate Twitter drive by angry Turkish internet users using the hashtag #UnfollowAbdullahGül.
Associated Press says more than 80,000 Twitter users stopped following Gül as a result–but he still has, at the moment of this writing, 4.28 million Twitter followers.
The legislation has the potential to sorely restrict freedom of expression in Turkey and thus has been widely slammed by media groups, the European Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups.
In an earlier post, RePRESSed spoke with Turkish analyst Thomas Sorlie, who predicted that Gül’s signature would be a signal of support for the AKP Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of Turkey’s first direct presidential elections in August.
“The speculation by pundits that he might split with the AKP and distance himself from Prime Minister Erdoğan should now give way to the possible implications for Turkish politics going forward from this point.” – Turkey analyst Thomas Sorlie, Feb. 19, 2014