Turkey Will Ban Facebook If It Does Not Remove Pictures Depicting ‘The Prophet’

Turkey, like many countries, has had a clear and distinct response to the Charlie Hebdo murders. A court in Turkey, according to the Guardian, censored webpages that displayed last Wednesday’s Charlie Hebdo front cover. Venturebeat reports, now, that Turkey is now looking to have certain pages of Facebook blocked in their country. The “or else…” is that Turkey will ban Facebook for the whole country.

The Golbasi Duty Magistrate Court passed a ruling Sunday, after an investigation was completed, to create an ultimatum for Facebook. Either they remove the “offensive” page that is sharing depictions of Mohammed, or all of Facebook would be blocked. Reuters reported that Turkey investigated a newspaper for posting the “offensive” photos.

This is despite the fact that only weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claimed that his company would not bow to “extremists demands” to censor Facebook. However, in 2010, Facebook blocked the very same”offensive” pages their social networking site is being asked to block now. So, it comes as no surprise that the New York Times is now reporting that Facebook intends to acquiesce to Turkey’s demands to take down the Mohammed pictures.

An anonymous employee said that Facebook has responded to the court order and chosen to block the pages in question. Presumably, this move comes at a time when the social networking company is looking to grow in emerging markets like Turkey. Ironically, it was Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, who was one of many world leaders that attended the Paris unity rally to show solidarity with the people of France after the deadly terrorist attack at Charlie Hebdo that took the lives of 12 contributors.

According to a cyber law professor in Istanbul, Facebook often is compliant in bans from authorities in Turkey, much better than their social counterparts.

“In comparison with Twitter and YouTube, Facebook cooperates with the Turkish authorities much better. Therefore, it’s not surprising that Facebook removed these pages right away.”

The social network receives between 1,700 and 5,000 requests from governments of countries like India, Pakistan, and Turkey. Officials in Turkey, in the first half of 2014 alone, requested details about Facebook users in the Islamic country 249 times. Facebook complied with three-fifths of those cases.

In spite of all the censorship that Facebook seems to participate in, they were one of three social networking platforms that was used during the Arab Spring protests a few years ago.

[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]