Serkan Alan / DUVAR

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) judicial reform package aims to hammer down on social media restrictions, silencing criticism about the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, Prof. Yaman Akdeniz said. 

“It’s obvious that the Health Ministry is through about social media. They detain and investigate people because of it. Those will all turn into criminal charges. An authoritarian regime will emerge.”

The new regulation would drop a platform’s internet bandwidth by 50 percent if they refuse to open an office in Turkey, and by 95 percent at second warning.

“We’re basically not gonna be able to use them. They won’t be blocked, but they will be practically impossible to access.”

The regulation would also mandate social media platforms to reveal users’ identities, allowing the government to prosecute individuals more, Akdeniz noted. 

“The platforms would need to remove more content and to shut down accounts. If they have representatives in Turkey, they’ll have to comply with Ankara’s wishes and the Internet will be more censored.”

The judicial reform aims to produce a chilling effect on users, leading them to self-censor more, Akdeniz added.