Turkey's largest online community blocked by authorities

Turkey's largest online community blocked by authorities
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Access to Eksi Sozluk, which has hundreds of thousand of registered writers and millions of users, has been blocked by Turkey's BTK without citing a reason.

Turkey's Eksi Sozluk ("Sour Dictionary" in English) has been blocked to access by Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) on Tuesday.

The site, based on user contribution, is not a dictionary in the strict sense, as registered writers are not expected only to provide information but can freely comment on any subject. Established in 1999, it is currently the largest online community in Turkey with hundreds of thousands of registered users and millions of visitors.

Eksi Sozluk is not only used for information sharing on topics ranging from scientific subjects to everyday life issues, but is also used as a socio-political community to communicate on political issues and to share personal views.

BTK announced that Eksi Sozluk has been blocked as of 21 February, without stating the reason.

Eksi Sozluk's administrators said on Twitter:

"Hi, we've seen the order to block access but we are not informed about details. We're trying to get information from the authorities and will share as we do."

The tweet was viewed by some 1.3 million users in about an hour.

A writer wrote an entry under the subject "21 February 2023 the great eksi sozluk resistance" saying:

"A move is required in resistance to BTK's legally groundless action to block the site, one of the five most visited sites in Turkey, and we're very much used to putting up such resistance any way. There are people with all kinds of views in eksi sozluk's community, and those who write in violation of the laws, who insult others or degrade sacred values can always be indicted with the help of eksi sozluk's administrators who share their IP addresses. While this is the case, blocking the entire site is totally illogical. This decision actually means silencing diverse views and telling people to sit in a corner silently and wait till the elections."

Another writer said:

"It is a great mental blunder to shut down the country's largest social network. Recently, aid have been provided for thousands of people thanks to entries under subjects related to earthquake relief. This potential shouldn't be hindered."