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The increasingly Islamic nature of the Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned all TV stations from showing hugely popular TV dating shows. In March the deputy prime minister said such shows did not fit in with Turkish customs and traditions.
In a related action the Turkish state barred access to Wikipedia because the on-line encyclopaedia had “failed to remove content promoting terrorism”. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, in a Tweet, said: “Access to information is a fundamental human right. Turkish people, I will always stand with you to fight for this right.”
In an official – but emergency – decree issued on Saturday evening (April 29th) the Turkish ban stated that TV (and radio) programmes that concern themselves with “finding friends and spouses”. The full ban stated: “In radio and television broadcasting services, such programs in which people are introduced with the purpose of finding a friend or searching for a spouse… cannot be permitted.”
Last year Turkey’s Radio & TV Supreme Council, which monitors and regulates broadcasting, said that it had received more than ten thousand complaints about dating programmes.
However, a government official told Reuters that the TV ban would only apply to satellite channels, and not conventional networks which are already subject to tough limitations.
The move prompted a strong response from one of Turkey’s opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) through an Istanbul lawyer Sezgin Tanrıkulu saying such sweeping laws “remove the function of parliament” and address issues unrelated to security or the state of emergency. “Was the coup attempt staged by marriage programs? Was the state of emergency issued to address marriage programmes?” Tanrıkulu said on April 29th, adding that the latest decrees “include regulations that are against basic human rights.”