Turkey's communication minister says new satellites render Internet bill criticisms void

Satellites TURKSAT 4A and 4B demonstrate how important the Internet is for the Turkish government, according to Lutfu Elvan.

Satellites TURKSAT 4A and 4B demonstrate how important the Internet is for the Turkish government, according to Lutfu Elvan.

MOSCOW - Turkey’s fifth telecommunication satellite will be put into orbit on Friday. According to Turkey's communications minister, the satellite is the best answer to claims that the government wants to shut down the Internet.

Lutfu Elvan spoke to the press in the Russian capital, Moscow, before heading to Kazakhstan to follow the launch of the TURKSAT 4A from the renowned Baikonur Space Center.

He said the Internet speed in Turkey will increase to 50 megabytes on the heels of the satellites TURKSAT 4A and 4B.

The latter is expected to be launched on the second quarter of this year.

Elvan said the two satellites will enable a threefold increase in Turkey’s communications and broadcasting capacities.

He added that the entirity of Africa will be within the coverage zone of TURKSAT 4A.

Elvan also responded to the media claims that followed the passing of a controversial bill from the Turkish parliament.

The bill allows the country's national telecommunications authority to block access to certain parts of websites without prior court approval, inducing opposition and media claims that the government wants to shut down the Internet.

Elvan said the launches of TURKSAT 4A and 4B are the best answer to these claims.

“These satellites clearly demonstrate how important the Internet is for the Turkish government,” he said.

Elvan added that during AK Party era the number of broadband Internet subscribers in Turkey increased to 35 million from 20,000 in ten years earlier.

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