Turkish Telecommunications Directorate Bans 138 Words from Turkish Internet

By: Rebekah Heacock on 2 May 2011

The Turkish Telecommunications Directorate (T?B) has issued a statement to Turkish web hosts, asking them to ban web sites with domain names containing any of 138 offensive words.

Turkish activists are challenging the ban, claiming it has "no legal grounds." In a statement made to clarify its request, the T?B said that the initial letter had been sent to web hosts for information only, but threatened unspecified punishment for companies that did not comply with the new regulations.

The list of newly banned words could affect potentially thousands of web sites. The Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review writes:

The effect of the T?B’s request could see the closure of many websites that include a number of words. For example, the website “donanimalemi.com” (hardwareworld.com) could be banned because the domain name has the word “animal” in it; likewise, “sanaldestekunitesi.com,” (virtualsupportunit.com) could be closed down because of the word “anal.” Websites will also be forbidden from using the number 31 in their domain names because it is slang for male masturbation.

Some banned English words include “beat,” “escort,” “homemade,” “hot,” “nubile,” “free” and “teen.” Some other English words would also be banned because of their meanings in Turkish: “pic,” short for picture, is banned because it means “bastard” in Turkish. The past tense of the verb “get” is also banned because “got” means “butt” in Turkish. Haydar, a very common Alevi name for men, is also banned because it means penis in slang.

“Gay” and its Turkish pronunciation, “gey;” “ç?plak” (naked); “itiraf” (confession); “liseli” (high school student); “nefes” (breath) and “yasak” (forbidden) are some of the other banned words.

Other banned words include "girl," "gizli" ("confidential"), and "sisman" ("overweight").