BDP to launch international campaign against Facebook

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) will launch an international campaign against Facebook for the closure of dozens of pages belonging to Kurdish politicians upon the demand of Turkish authorities.

On 29 August, the party vowed to take legal action against Facebook after Richard Allan, director of Facebook Policy in Europe, admitted that they banned pages belonging to Kurdish politicians and groups that praise the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Allan said thay had received complaints from users regarding those pages and that when the company checked, they found expressions of approval for terrorist organizations, which he said runs contrary to Facebook's terms of service.

"It is against our rules to praise a person or an organization that is listed on the international terrorism list. The use of images of flags or other symbols of terrorist organizations is also banned. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), Colombia's Marxist FARC, Spain's ETA and in Turkey, the PKK, are among those organizations," Allan said and pointed out that the number of user complaints coming from Turkey had increased recently.

In a statement on Tuesday, Facebook administration remarked that Turkey requested data on 170 users, adding that Turkish authorities were successful in 80 of these requests. The report added that the personal data of Facebook users may be shared with enquiring governments on the condition that there is strong evidence of wrongdoing.

The party will object to the social network's directorate in Dublin and the U.S. to demand the withdrawal of the closure ban on Kurdish pages.

Should the party receive no answer to its application to Facebook authorities, it will take legal action against the social network.

The party will also launch an international campaign voicing the unlawfulness of the closures.

Responding to the statements of the Facebook official Allan, BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said the closures were related with the direct intervention of the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications. Demirtaş remarked that the Ministry received an answer from Facebook alone to its attempts to intervene in social networking sites. He said Turkish employees of the Facebook also had an influence on the bans on pro-Kurdish pages. BDP co-chair added that they expected Facebook administration to correct the mistake.

BDP deputy co-chair Meral Danış Beştaş said that she didn't find it convincing that the closure of the pages is because of the complaints by users of the social network in Turkey. She said she believed the closures were related with Turkey's policy and attitude against Kurds, adding that it was rather a consequence of a global collaboration. She said international bodies must take action against the closure of Kurdish groups’ Facebook pages and commented the closures as unlawful and unacceptable.

Also responding to the statements of Facebook official, BDP Şırnak deputy Hasip Kaplan said that "The closure of Kurdish pages is not only a shame of Facebook authorities but also a manifestation of the fact that the Turkish government is afraid of social networking sites".