The hadigayri.com wesbite.
Turkey has shut down two of the country’s largest gay and lesbian lifestyle websites in what has been described as unlawful and arbitrary censorship, says the Hurriyet Daily News.
The sites, hadigayri.com and gabile.com which have around 200,000 combined members, have been blocked by the Telecommunication Directorate despite not having any pornographic content.
In a joint statement, the sites said: “Both sites have a wide variety of content, with sections such as gay news, commentary, film, literature, radio, health and forums. The number of members of both sites from Turkey is around 225,000. The directorate is forcing members of these sites to appeal this decision.”
It is unclear if the sites have only been blocked within Turkey or if the ban has been lifted, as they can currently be accessed from South Africa.
The country has a history of banning sites within its border, with 2008 figures estimating that almost 1,000 sites have been restricted. Most famously, people in the country have been barred from accessing YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.
Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, who is also responsible for communications, defended these actions last year to the Christian Science Monitor.
“The fight against elements that aim at degenerating societies and poisoning the youth and children is the fundamental task of each country. Every country has different regulations related to the Internet,” he said.