Turkey's opposition parties have called on President Abdullah Gul to veto a controversial Internet law, while the international community has also raised concerns over freedoms and rights in the country, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu demanded Feb. 7 that Gul veto the controversial Internet bill, which was approved by Parliament early on Feb. 6.
"The president should take up a position on behalf of democracy and freedom. The impartiality of the president means something different," Kilicdaroglu told reporters in Istanbul on Feb. 7. "To say that 'regulations against laws come and I sign them despite clearly [problems with them]' degrades the office of the president. The president pledges loyalty to the Constitution. And he has to do what is necessary. A president cannot defend bans. A president cannot defend legal regulations which were brought by a government saying they will limit freedom," he said according to the Dogan news agency.
Kilicdaroglu has underlined that Turkey needs a policy which needs criticism from the media instead of one that intervenes in the media.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli also lashed out at the Internet law, tweeting Feb. 6 that the media, which was supposed to be impartial and free, has become a toy operated via remote-control.
"The guards of Internet are in a queue to pressure the freedom of information in Turkey," Bahceli wrote.The United States also voiced concerns on the proposal, saying it was not "compatible with freedom of expression."
Dunja Mijatovic, the OSCE's top official responsible for the media, said in a statement on Jan. 31 that the bill could further restrict freedom of expression in Turkey.
"If the new measures are adopted, they would place a disproportionate burden on Internet service and hosting providers," Mijatovic said following an assessment of the amendments included in the bill.
Psaki said Washington was actively monitoring the new legislation, confirming that Washington's position was in line with that of the OSCE.