|An appeals court in Turkey overturned the acquittal of philanthropist Osman Kavala and eight others convicted in the Gezi Park trial.
- Reuters reports that the court said that the ruling to acquit did not take into account all the proper evidence. The court also reportedly cited another case against Kavala—related to the 2016 coup attempt and widely considered just as baseless as this one—saying that it should be taken into account in this ruling as well.
- Kavala has been held in prison for more than three years. In a statement released in December when the trial for the coup attempt began, POMED noted that Kavala “has devoted his life to promoting a more civil, just and peaceful Turkey,” adding that his work has “actively improved Turkey’s stability and prosperity, upheld values such as tolerance and social reconciliation, and promoted equality for Turkey’s youth, poor, and ethnic and religious minorities.”
For more about the Gezi Park protests and subsequent trial, check out this POMED fact sheet.
On January 19, Turkey ordered a ban on advertising on Twitter and Pinterest after the companies refused to appoint legal representatives in the country in accordance with a new law that came into effect in October 2020.
- The law requires social media companies with more than one million users to have legal representatives in Turkey to manage government complaints about content. It also requires the companies to store user data in Turkey, which raises serious concerns about privacy, particularly given Turkey’s rights record.
- Authorities have threatened to decrease bandwidth for companies that do not comply with the order. If companies refuse to comply with government complaints about content, they will face fines.
- Rights groups have strongly criticized the law as nothing more than a censorship tactic that “will enable the government to control social media, to get content removed at will, and to arbitrarily target individual users.”
- Facebook, YouTube, and a handful of other international social media companies have already set up or begun compliance procedures.