Turkey’s minister of transportation, maritime and communications, Lutfi Elvan has stated that there is now a possibility of replacing the global standard of www with a nationally locked ttt protocol. He has claimed that this is not only happening in Turkey but a widely discussed issue among EU authorities as well.
The minister has stated that due to lack of infrastructure Turkey has been experiencing several misunderstandings with Twitter management over the past year, and showed creation of a national internet protocol as a possible solution to these.
Elvan also referred to the United Nations and said “the internet should have a constitution much like the UN charter, declaring all rights and responsibilities and not only rely on the American laws which cover majority of these social media companies. We need a one and united law regulating the internet globally, otherwise states can create their national internet protocols to sustain their safety. This has been discussed for a long time, we can create a protocol of ttt and separate Turkish users from the others, make it impossible for them to reach other systems.”
This attitude of creating a national internet protocol aims to isolate a country from rest of the world and block access to platforms which serve as a virtual public space where one can express feelings, and opinions, and be heard globally. This blocking access to the global village of the internet will initially create discontent among users, but the problem would begin when people start getting used to it. On the other hand this statement by the minister also reminds us all of vice-prime minister’s statement during Gezi Park protests “we could have shut down all access to internet if we wanted… but we didn’t, so see that we had goodwill.”
Would it work really?
Serhat Ayan of the TKNLJ and Pirate Party of Turkey has evaluated this statement and explained the facts behind creation of a national restricted internet protocol.
He states that the world has never ever discussed creation of a new internet, on the contrary there has been discussions focusing on the diversification of the present one. While doing this the main demand is for ICANN -the institution managing web site domain names- to listen to comments more and become more transparent.
There is absolutely no talk of changing the system as a whole because there is disrespect to international law norms. Because internet guidance is being carried out -unlike Turkish one- through international law norms. In order for all these laws to be understood in the same manner throughout the world, they are coded as widely as possible, including all international norms.
Establishing a national protocol would not actually mean that these social media platforms would care more for the national legislation. The norm followed for managing social media, freedom of speech and access to information is the international law that is much wider than national ones which might sometimes be over-protective or restrictive.
It would not really matter which country a company may be established, it would have to follow international law in order to succeed in global market. However this attempt to create a closed-border internet protocol in national scale has been tried out by Iran, and it would be quite easy to see the experiences of Iran after isolationism, censorship, and surveillance.
Creation of national internet protocol can in fact be synonymous with saying that the state is terrified of its citizens and knows of no other way of forcing them to not express their opinion freely. As self-censorship agenda seems to have failed and more and more people are getting critical of their government and do not restrain from openly criticizing it, states such as AKP’s Turkey will need to have a look at the mirror and decide whether they would wish to go against democratic principles in face of a whole big part of the society that demands them.