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Turkish president aims to fix problems with Internet law

AFP , Thursday 13 Feb 2014
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Turkey's president said on Thursday he was trying to iron out problems in his country's new Internet laws that have sparked outrage both at home and abroad.

"There are one or two problematic areas," Abdullah Gul told reporters, in his first remarks since parliament cleared the Internet restrictions that some see as an attempt to silence dissent.

"We are working on them," he added, during a joint news conference with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Turkey's opposition and several rights groups have urged the president not to approve the curbs, which will enable authorities to block web pages deemed insulting or as invading privacy.

Gul has 15 days to sign the Internet law before it comes into force.

Defenders of the law, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, say the new restrictions protect individual rights while critics argue they amount to nothing more than a fresh assault on freedom of expression.

Some of Erdogan's critics also say the legislation is specifically aimed at stopping evidence of high-level corruption -- implicating several government allies -- being seen online.

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