Turkey Blocks Sites With Charlie Hebdo Covers

January 14, 2015  

Turkey on Wednesday blocked web sites where the satirical covers – featuring a cartoon of Mohammed – of France’s Charlie Hebdo magazine were available on-line.

The sites were blocked after the government got a court order, based on claims by the government that the caricatures of Mohammed that appeared on-line were offensive to Turkey’s Muslim population.

Charlie Hebdo made a defiant return on Wednesday with a new issue that sold out across France in record time, once again featured Mohammed on its cover – but with a tear in his eye, holding a “Je Suis Charlie” sign under the headline “All is forgiven.”

The magazine is distributed outside of France as well, and publishers are planning to print millions of more copies for residents of France who were unable to get a copy when it went on sale Wednesday morning, as well as for readers in other countries.

The magazine has been available in Turkey in the past, and on Wednesday the opposition daily Cumhuriyet published a version, but the government blocked the newspaper’s site as well.

Earlier, Turkey imposed an all-out media blackout, including on Facebook and Twitter, prohibiting publication of reports claiming Turkish intelligence services delivered arms to Syrian Islamist rebels last year. The Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) delivered a court ruling to Turkish newspapers, television, websites and social media networks, banning them from reporting the arms allegations.

That ban was imposed after a Twitter account with handle @LazepeM leaked a series of documents indicating that the seized trucks were actually National Intelligence Agency (MIT) vehicles delivering weapons to Syrian Islamist rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

Hurriyet newspaper reported that a Turkish court ordered the closure of all websites, including social media networks Facebook and Twitter, that don’t remove information or allegations linked to the documents.

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