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Telecommunications authority bans access to LGBT social networking sites

(BIANET/IFEX) - 6 October 2009 - The telecommunications authority has blocked access to LGBT social networking sites galibe.com, haydigayri.com and shemaleturk.com following accusations of prostitution, obscenity and child abuse under the Law on Administrative Measures no. 5651. Site administrators complained they were not informed of the decision, and said the action was the result of a "homophobic mentality."

Users attempting to access the sites receive the following message:

"The Law on Administrative Measures no. 5651 states under the section: DECISION TO BAN ACCESS AND ITS FULFILLMENT, under Article 8 (1) that: A decision to ban access to an Internet site is taken when there is sufficient proof that the site is being used for any of the following activities: 1) Incitement to suicide (article 84); 2) Sexual exploitation of children (103/1); 3) Facilitation of the use of drugs or stimulant drugs (190); 4) Supply of substances dangerous to health (194); 5) Obscenity (226); 6) Prostitution (227); 7) Provision of a place and possibility for gambling (228)."

In a message posted on the Turkish LGBT news portal Kaos GL, the haydigayri.com site administrator responded to the allegations:

"haydigayri.com does not contain pornography. It is a site for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transvestites and transsexuals (LGBTT) to find friends, get news, use forums and chat. It is stated in the entrance page of the site that membership for people under 18 is forbidden. The ban came very suddenly, we have not been informed about it. We supposed that in such a situation we would be informed by e-mail."

The administrator for galibe.com similarly denied the allegations, and went on to accuse authorities of targeting the sites for political reasons.

"Lambdaistanbul and Kaos GL were previously tried on charges of immorality. That tactic did not succeed and the court rejected the case, so now they try to ban social networking sites. These applications are extremely grave."

The sites have a combined 225,000 members.

Site managers issued the following joint statement: "We regretfully condemn these ignorant applications against our thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, our sexual identity and all our freedoms."

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