Internet slowdowns have been reported in Turkey following previous terrorist attacks, including in February 2016 and October 2015. Interfering with Internet services chills free expression, separates people from family members, and restricts access to vital information.
“While Internet service in Turkey appears to have been returned to normal, governments should refrain from compromising – even temporarily – the basic right of people to express themselves and access information online,” said GNI Board Chair Mark Stephens, CBE. “Cutting citizens off from communication and information in times of crisis undermines human rights and is counterproductive to both personal and economic security.”
The GNI urges the Turkish government to adhere to its international human rights commitments and to ensure that any restrictions on freedom of expression meet the thresholds of legality, necessity, and proportionality set out in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The GNI has previously expressed concern about what appears to be a trend of government interference with Internet and communications platforms during times of crisis or political dissent, including in Egypt, Uganda, Tajikistan, Iraq, and Syria.