The circular issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Security Department covering 15 thousan Internet Cafés will be applied beginning from the 15th of December. According to the new regulations, smoking, gambling and accessing x-rated sites are firmly forbidden. Minimum age to enter into Internet cafés is reduced to 12, which was 18 before the new regulation.
Internet cafés and game houses will severely be separated from each other and be subject to separate licensing processes.
In his briefing at Internet in Turkey Conference IX, about the new circular letter and regulations, Yusuf Andiç, the president of Tüm Internet Evleri Dernegi(TIEV-Society of All Internet Houses), announced that as new Circular Letter on Internet Cafés has been sent to the governers of 81 provinces and Office of Gendarme Commandership, by the Security Department, the practice of the circular letter had begun.
Children under 12 will be allowed to enter into Internet Cafés either with their parents or with a written permission of the parents. Young-aged students in Internet Cafés will not be deemed as a delict and Internet Cafés will not be shut down based on such event, which was a reason for closing down under the previous regulation. Internet Cafés will be at least 100 meters away from the primary and high schools, physically. Signs saying “No Smoking” and “It is forbidden to enter sites containing gambling, bet or pornographic content.” Will be hung on places where user will see easily. Both children’s and user up 18 will be prohibited to enter such sites. Using filtering programs to avoid such accesses has became mandatory. These programs will be checked as well.
In the new circular letter of Security Department, to be applied beginning from the 5th of December 2003, it says “In the Internet Café, it is forbidden to smoke cigarette and to access sites containing gambling, betting, pornographic stream as well as those that are containing content outraging the inseparable unity of the state with its territory or intending to destroy the constitutional regime.”
Internet Cafés, being opened throughout Turkey since the 1995’s, parallel with the penetration of Internet and computing technologies, were getting into question as they were non-supervised hookey places where children could access games and sites full of violence and pornography and smoke cigarette. Government had tried to order them by shutting cafes down individually or collectively. Stating that Internet Cafés that had been in the agenda for the measures taken by the Security Department and for causing children to fail their education, at last have a regulation almost at a modern level, Andiç, president of TIEV, emphasized that the new circular letter is a moderate and a positive regulation considering the consent of parents, education community and civilian community organizations, more than prohibitions.
Yusuf Andiç, the President of TIEV, who is one of the contributers of the circular letter removing the prohibitions and making the Internet Cafés more modern places, was a manager of an Internet Café in 1999. Bilginet Internet Café owned by Andiç, in district of Afsin in the province of Kahramanmaras, was shut down for the reasoning that it was not operating in accordance with the physical and health conditions of the then Circular Letter on Internet Cafés. After such period, Andiç began to make endeavors to generate a Internet Café regulation considering to put the things into order instead of prohibiting them. At first he lost his Internet Café. After that, he organized Internet Café owners in Ankara, Istanbul, Kahramanmaras and Hatay and leaded them to found the Society of Turkish Inter Houses. He continued his endeavors for new circular letters and regulation as the president of TIEV for 4 years. He left unemployed because of his charge as the president of the Society. Lately, he joined the meeting in Security Department where the last amendments on the circular letter were made and after the circular letter was announced he decided to resign from his position as president in TIEV. The circular letter formed to supervise the Internet Cafés in a more modern manner will be applied starting from the 15th of December 2003, Monday. Andiç says, he decided to resign after 4 years he experienced with his Internet Café owner friends at the beginning and with the bureaucracy at the end, stating that he will not take a job of administration in this area any more. He says, he may perhaps start to manage an Internet Café again, after the new circular letter starts to get into effect.
Andiç said, requirements for licensing such as preference of graduates from postgraduate schools of 4 years and completion of a pedagogical training, will be taken into agenda in future as well. Stating that during the negotiations bureaucrats in charge with the circular letter had brought very funny offers into the agenda, Andiç noted some officials made an extreme offer such as a mandatory pedagogue (education expert) in all Internet Cafés.
The number of Internet Cafés in Turkey is between 12 and 15 thousand, where 8 thousand of them are licensed. Almost 4 thousand 500 of them are operating in Istanbul. Total number of active Internet users, including home-users and corporate-users, is given as 4 million.