August 22, 2014

Ministry of Education blocks access to

The Ministry of Education has blocked access to, a news website affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement, at institutions and organizations that are linked to the ministry.

The ministry has been blocking affiliated institutions' and organizations' access to certain websites in order to prevent students from accessing "hazardous" content involving things like drugs, pornography, violence and terrorism. However, was among those blocked websites even though it does not contain any identifiable hazardous content. The block came to the public's attention after people attempting to visit the website informed its managers about the situation.

Those at institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Education wanting to access are instead directed to a warning page saying “The URL you requested has been blocked.” is known to be affiliated with the Hizmet movement, which is inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Although the Hizmet-affiliated website is blocked by the ministry, some websites with pornographic content are not blocked.

A large-scale propaganda campaign has been conducted by some circles close to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against the Hizmet movement and Gülen, particularly since a corruption scandal erupted in December 2013 in which three Cabinet ministers' sons, many state bureaucrats and well-known businessmen were implicated. Government officials have accused the Hizmet movement of participating in a plot and using the corruption investigation to damage the government. But they have produced no credible evidence to back these claims.

Institutions, media outlets, civil society organizations and individuals affiliated with the Hizmet movement have been targeted as part of this large-scale smear campaign being conducted by the AK Party government.

Published on Today's Zaman, 22 August 2014, Friday