News / Europe

Turks Clash with Police Over Internet Curbs

Turkish riot police fire water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who are trying to march to the city's main Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.Turkish riot police fire water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who are trying to march to the city's main Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.
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Turkish riot police fire water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who are trying to march to the city's main Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.
Turkish riot police fire water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who are trying to march to the city's main Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.
Turkey remains on edge after riot police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse hundreds protesters Saturday in Istanbul.

The protest follows legislation that critics say will tighten government control over the Internet.

It would allow authorities to block websites for privacy violation without a court decision. Internet providers would also be forced make user data available to state officials.

Critics say the legislation is an attempt by Erdogan to stifle dissent and stop evidence of high-level corruption from being seen online.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected criticism of the new curbs.

Human Rights Watch said the restrictions raise concerns that a "defensive government is seeking to increase its power to silence critics and to arbitrarily limit politically damaging material online."

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz called them a "step back in an already suffocating environment for media freedom," while Washington also expressed misgivings.

On Friday, Turkey expelled an Azerbaijani journalist. The English-language daily Today's Zaman said it had obtained an Interior Ministry order placing journalist Mahir Zeynalov on a list of foreign individuals barred from entering Turkey for "exceeding the limit of criticism."

The journalist's deportation came one month after the prime minister filed a criminal complaint against him for tweeting links to articles about a corruption scandal involving the Erdogan government.

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