Turkish court lifts ban on online community Eksi Sozluk

Turkish court lifts ban on online community Eksi Sozluk
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BTK has not provided any information which shows that the website's administrators failed to take action against content that violates the law, the court has said.

A Turkish court decided on Thursday to lift a ban on Turkey's largest online community Eksi Sozluk, the community's administrators announced.

Upon an application by the administrators, Ankara's 4th court of peace overturned the decision issued by Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) to block access to Eksi Sozluk ("Sour Dictionary" in English).

BTK's decision had been taken on a complaint filed by the management of security affairs under Turkish Presidency over alleged violation of article 8/a of law 5651, which requires legal action to protect rights to life and property, to protect national security and public order, and to prevent crime.

"False information was spread about the military and other state institutions particularly following the earthquake, the people were led to think that state institutions have been rendered incapable," BTK's officials were cited claiming.

Noting that BTK has not provided information regarding any failure by the website's administrators to take action for the removal of content that may be deemed harmful in the context of the said law, that the administrators have apparently been acting in accordance with earlier court decisions, and that a ban may always be issued in the future in case they do not, the court ordered BTK to lift the ban.

The ban was not yet lifted as of Tuesday evening, after Eksi Sozluk's administrators said they would get in contact with BTK officials for the implementation of the court's decision.

Eksi Sozluk covers a vast variety of subjects as well as people, and registered writers and users are not expected only to provide information but can freely comment. Established in 1999, it is currently the largest online community in Turkey with hundreds of thousands of users and millions of visitors.