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Former Turkish DMOZ Editor Draws 10 Months In Jail 666

Posted by timothy
from the freedom-of-whatnow? dept.
makne writes "H. Ertas, a Turkish editor of the Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org) has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of editing a category about the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). Ertas's lawyer, Suna Coskun, explained that his client had worked as a voluntary editor at the Open Directory Project during his studies at the Euphrat-University and had been responsible for the Kurdish category. At the same time he became interested in Kurds and undertook his own research into the subject. As a voluntary editor, he had sorted the directory submissions but could not be responsible for their content. Therefore there could be no penalty under international law, according to Coskun. His activities could in no way be understood as 'support for a terrorist organisation' and thus Ertas' release was appropriate. The court sentenced Ertas to 10 months in prison and a fine of 416 million Turkish lire ($293). The sentence is not eligible for probation." (Read on for more.)
By email, makne writes "I don't know the editor personally, but the editor was first arrested two years ago, then released on parole until now. Members of the editor community have tried to help him in any way they can, with no apparent success. The editor resigned from the ODP in 2002."

Makne also provided this link to a summary (from the Kurdish point of view) of earlier attempts to stifle Kurdish sites, including a campaign to have DMOZ's then-parent company Netscape remove the Kurdish category from DMOZ.

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Former Turkish DMOZ Editor Draws 10 Months In Jail

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  • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by norkakn (102380) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:31AM (#10935841)
    Also note that USA acknowledged recently PKK/Kadek being a terrorist organization.

    No comment on whether they are or not (I haven't a clue), but that means jack. They said that the African National Congress was a terrorist organization.
  • Whew! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:48AM (#10935915)
    I'm glad I live in an open and free country like the USA where chilling tactics like this aren't used! Imagine if people were punished for merely providing a forum for other people to post information!

    Oh wait [slashdot.org]

    - JoeShmoe
    .
  • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:59AM (#10935957)
    Fuck the turkish government (not the people for the most part) I for one think they shouldn't be part of the EU because they have had AGES to sort out their democracy/corruption/human rights issues and they evidently DONT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. But guess what? WE DO.

    So they can kiss the extra economic prosperity goodbye. I for one will be pushing my government and representatives to speak out against Turkish incorporation into the EU.

    Fuck em.
  • by johannesg (664142) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:19AM (#10936031)
    Not even then. The "European Union" is a collection of nations that are all located IN EUROPE. Turkey is not in Europe, except for a very small part. Geographic issues aside, there is a major cultural and religious gap between Turkey and the EU. What's next? Should Iraq become part of the EU (next country after Turkey)? Hell, why not Saudi Arabia or Iran?

    Besides, Bush wants them in, so it cannot be right. He is probably hoping this to have a destabilizing and/or paralyzing influence on the entire EU...

  • by Money for Nothin' (754763) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:21AM (#10936043)
    Indeed. But Freenet hasn't been useable for what, over a year now? I'm amazed they continue to get any donations at all, and I think Ian Clarke (Sanity) has long since lost interest. Sadly, Freenet seems to have collapsed under its own weight of extreme complexity.

    Entropy was pretty good while it worked and still had a community, but I think concerns about the strength of its encryption kept it from being too popular (not to mention lack of advertising), and IIRC, ultimately the developer(s) lost interest.

    At this point, AFAIK there really is no good "anonymity layer" pseudo-protocol (conceptually, a distributed, encrypted datastore w/ routing on each node) like Freenet or Entropy that works at all. i2p [i2p.net] is supposed to be Entropy's successor, but I haven't messed w/ it yet.

    If I were half as sharp as Clarke or developers of any other similar systems, I'd write my own, probably in C++ (for space and speed; Freenet runs in Java and last I checked chewed up tons of RAM and CPU time, whereas Entropy, written in C, didn't). I have some ideas for routing based on legal and geographic boundaries I'd like to implement...

    It's on my to-do list someday. But ultimately, I'm nowhere near bright enough to think I could pull it off. *shrug*

    Besides, the key legal argument Freenet and the like rest on is that of plausible deniability; that if you can't know for certain what is being trafficked, you can't be prosecuted for it. I think that's a weak argument though. I suspect a judge would take one look at Freenet or other such systems and say that finding "illegal stuff" (be it child porn in the U.S., anti-communist papers in China, photos of bare womens' faces in Iran, etc.) is easy enough to "reasonably" conclude there was knowledge of its traffic, and in fact, that was -- arguably -- the whole point of running Freenet in the first place. No judge is going to believe that such software is running so you can anonymously download photos of fluffy bunnies...

    So I'm not convinced that even if the technology were solid, that the legal basis for it is built on much more than quicksand... It's far-better than nothing in terms of initial detection is concerned, sure, but also, IMO, far from perfect once that detection has occurred. But I can't conceive of a better tech+legal defense system either.

    Ideally, I think we need a whole new *physical* layer Internet, separate from the existing Internet or Internet2 and devoid of participation by any and all governmental agents and anybody else who is significantly on the government payroll (defense contractors, etc.). Something like a wireless (or perhaps wired, where suitable), fully privately-owned mesh network on which only community-approved (based on the agreement of a certain number of surrounding and already-participating node-owners, much like with WASTE, except in meatspace) private nodes may communicate, over which all traffic is encrypted, possibly multiple times, possibly in hardware...

    Oh well, I can dream of a freer world, can't I? :-)
  • Re:Protest (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:22AM (#10936044)
    >When reading these things, I feel reluctant to have Turkey joining the European Union. They simply have to get better, and it will be very interesting to see if the turkish government can do this before the set deadline.

    I spent some time in Turkey not too long ago. I heard nothing from the people I met there about Turks' issues with Kurds. Rather they were all convinced the reason Turkey wasn't a shoe-in to the EU its its economic status. Just a bit of info.



    Yes, I posted ananymously. So what?!
  • by Magickcat (768797) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:26AM (#10936056)
    My grandfather was an I.R.A. terrorist who fought in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) [wikipedia.org]. The Catholic Church excommunicated him for his allegianaces too. Oh and he certainly killed plenty of Black and Tans.

    Oh, but then the I.R.A. won the war, and he got a medal and a soldier's war pension, and the Catholic Church reinstated him. He never bothered with the Church again or with collecting his pension.

    Today's terrorist could be tommorow's war hero. The British government even today would have you think that my grandfather was a terrorist, but the Irish nation is living proof that it isn't always so clear cut. It's terribly important that people decide for themselves who are the terrorists and who are not. Governments that think that they can decide for their citizens are merely tyrants, and tyrants often fall when they become intolerable.
  • And so? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLink (130905) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:30AM (#10936065) Journal
    Well, you better be careful then - maybe you should have posted anonymously and taken the necessary precautions (proxies etc).

    After all your country might decide to put you in jail since you are providing information about them just like your fellow countryman who's going to prison for 10 months.

    Unless there is PROOF he is supporting those terrorist organizations, I don't see how he deserves to be jailed for 10 months.

    If there isn't any evidence, then your government is fascist, and by defending their actions you are supporting them.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gotih (167327) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:36AM (#10936080) Homepage
    dude, did you even bother to check the links? i can't read turkish but even i can tell from the category [dmoz.org] he posted in (Top: World: Türkçe: Toplum: Sorunlar: Terörizm: Terör Örgütleri) that he is calling this group a terror organization and is therefore agreeing with you. he has provided an appropriate categorization of the information.

    it seems to me that if you are agreeing with the sentence then you agree with the Turkish government -- that information should be censored. he didn't post anything new or even a radical opinion of the group. he called them terrorists and provided information. in my American eyes (perhaps Civilized eyes would be more appropriate considering...), this is not a crime.
  • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LucidBeast (601749) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:53AM (#10936129)

    I don't think it is time for Turkey to join EU.

    My Kurdish friend, who actually fought Saddam back in the eighties, and now lives here in Finland, told me that the Turkish policy towards Kurds is that they don't really exist as a ethnic group. I think the Kurd situation is the most important reason not to let Turkey into EU. I think one reason Turkey wasn't delighted about the removal of Mr. Hussein was that they didn't want to have independent Kurdishtan in the north of Iraq. Kurds like Palestinians got the short end of the deal when British Empire divied up the remains of the Ottoman empire in the begining of last century and because of this both are people without their own nation.

    I hope, that if something good comes out of the War in Iraq it is that the Kurds get an independent state.

  • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dunkelfalke (91624) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:56AM (#10936138)
    have you seen this site? this is the site where chechen terrorists brag about their "holy war" and where you can download videos on which the same chechen terrorists cut some russians their heads off. as far as i know snuffs are illegal.
  • Re:Whew! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bnenning (58349) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:10AM (#10936163)
    That's not a very good example. The raid was conducted at the request of other countries, and AFAIK no Americans were actually arrested. Now we can debate to what extent the FBI should be an instrument of foreign law enforcement agencies (wasn't multilaterism was supposed to be good?), but it's not a case of Bush and Ashcroft just throwing their opponents in prison.
  • Re:Protest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by henleg (835139) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:11AM (#10936167)
    I spent some time in Turkey not too long ago. I heard nothing from the people I met there about Turks' issues with Kurds. Rather they were all convinced the reason Turkey wasn't a shoe-in to the EU its its economic status. Just a bit of info.

    Where in Turkey did you go? (I'm only curious! :-))

    Living in a country in the EU, I can tell that both the economical AND the humanitarian issues are high on the list of issues taken in consideration. Another issue is border control.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:13AM (#10936176)
    the prima donna example is of the Allies during the war: fire-bombing German cities not to directly disrupt their war effort, but to terrorise the populous and kill factory workers. Not only did it not work, but few think of it as terrorism even today as the victims were so dehumanised.
  • Re:Guys please! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by krymsin01 (700838) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:23AM (#10936196) Homepage Journal
    Should he recieve punishment for editing a collection of links to information that other people wrote? In my opinion, and most sane people's I would think, would be No. To say that he should recieve punishment for an action like that would be to say that the all librarians and bookstores should be shut down because they give people access to Mein Kampf or The Satanic Verses.
  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:34AM (#10936216)
    About a year and a bit ago, Sherman Austin was arrested and ended up doing about a year for providing a link on a website to another website with info on making molotov cocktails.

    When Ashcrofts boys leant on him and threatened him with charges of terrorism, he made a plea bargain that would get him a coupla months jail. The judge ignored the bargain and gave him a year.

    Groups like the EFF have basically said if he didnt do the plea bargain , he probably would of been released on grounds of first amendment, but he plead thinking he'd only be in a short stay. Effectively the judge denied him the chance for a real defence against a long sentence.

    In australia ,years ago, a guy did a long sentence for providing information on how to legally avoid voting (compulsary voting in australia).

    And in britain, the servers of journalist group indymedia where siezed without explaination or warning , and now it seems without legal grounds.

    Journalists are arrested *daily* around the world for writing articles that offend governments.

    Turkey aint the only ones up to this sort of crap.
  • by burns210 (572621) <maburns@gmail.com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:38AM (#10936221) Homepage Journal
    Good point.

    To go a step further back, the Revolutionary War was, to my knowledge, among the first instances of guerilla warfare and terrorism. The fouding fathers were leading the populous in a war against the occupying nation(then the world's most powerful nation) and used any means necesary, including the stories of farmers with rifles picking off british soldiers as they marched on the road.

    PS: Not to troll, but there could EASILY be made ties to presnet day conflicts in that sentence, and in the sense of the revolutionary war, be FULLY justified 50 years from now, depending on the timeline of events.
  • by br00tus (528477) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:40AM (#10936228)
    Unfortunately as a US taxpayer, I have to finance US military aid to Turkey to the tune of billions of dollars. Locking up people who write about the Kurds in Turkey is small potatos, the Turks have been massacring Kurds for years. If anyone remembers, they even invaded Iraq (which the US administration didn't want) just to kill Kurds that were in Iraq. This is the thing that Saddam Hussein was lambasted for - gassing Kurds (although the US sent him helicopters after he did that of course too). Yet the Turks have been doing it, are doing it, and will be doing it. This never appears on the US corporate media of course, just the tragedy that a candidate not on the privatization fast track might win the Ukranian election.
  • by Astarté (17542) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:55AM (#10936253)

    ...and this is a beautiful country with a wonderfully rich culture. The Islamic Selçuk/Ottoman/Turkish culture was arguably the world's highest culture during times that Euope was wallowing in the filth of its own Dark and Middle Ages. Don't believe me? Pick up a history book. Remember: they were the ones that finally ended the Roman Empire (1453).

    An amazing thing about Turkey is its attitude to foreigners: it's warm, caring and hospitable. No where else in the world in my rather extensive travels have I met this level of friendliness and courtesy -- especially not in Europe. Foreigners are treated here with respect and with great interest.

    Turkey is also a country bordered by aggressor nations: Iran, Iraq, Syria. In addition, it has an internal population that is not just separatist, it's terrorist. Israel is in the same boat and is much harsher on its opposing poplulation -- and yet Israel has international support.

    I have watched the changes the Turkish government is making to enter the EU. You can't imagine how much pride they're swallowing to have their history and honor stepped on by Belgian chocolatiers, French pastry-chefs, German schnitzel-makers, English fish-and-chips vendors... There is NO WAY that any of you would tolerate such treatment in your own countries. Further -- the rank-and-file Turk doesn't want EU membership.

    Nobody seems to complain about the Turks when they're assisting US/NATO military operations, disallowing the transit through their waters of former Soviet aircraft carriers on their way to the Red Chinese military, managing the flow of Iraqi oil to the West...

    I am saddened by all your ignorance. Your education on Turkey has come from watching "Baron Munchausen" and "Midnight Express" too many times ("Midnight Express" is a hugely FALLACIOUS piece of shit, btw).
  • by tetromino (807969) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:14AM (#10936299)
    Sure, Turkey is a great country. However, this discussion is not about whether Turks are nice people or whether Turkey is a good place to live. The point of this discussion is that it is silly to arrest someone just for collecting (potentially) terrorist propaganda. If the guy was making bombs, or doing intelligence work for the PPK - sure, he deserves jail time. But arresting him just for managing a website?

    Turkey's criminal justice system is quite good by, say, the standards of North Africa (there, Coskun would just "disappear"). However, it's clearly not good enough by the standards of EU...
  • Re:Politics (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:37AM (#10936341)
    That's not correct but first names is a different issue. I've known people called Alex, living in Istanbul but many times I heard stories about Kurdish families not being able to give the name they wanted to their children because it is not Turkish. In many cases it is the registrar who is creating the problem and Kurds usually bow to the oppression. On the other hand, I also know many people with perfect Kurdish names which they use everywhere, without any problem.

    Basicly you cannot give a name which is not pronouncable or would incite hatred (oh I hate that term). I don't think you can name your children Hitlet in Germany, can you?

  • Re:Guys please! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:53AM (#10936378)
    I'm %50 kurd in blood, most of my life was spent living in Turkey. My dad is a Kurd and he is reasonably well off. Every one in my family went to a university and they are all very successful in their lives, ended up being reasonably rich, compared to the average middle class.
    No one tried to annilihate me. No one stopped me going to a good high school, later a very good university and getting a perfect education. No one stopped me getting a high paid job in IT. No one stopped me moving out of Turkey when I wanted to (I am also a British citizen).
    It is true Kurdish villages and cities in the east are not treated evenly compared to the Turks, in the west. If you look at the Turkish villages and cities in the east, they are in deep shit as good as the Kurds.
    Turkish Nationalism (or to be blunt, any kind of Nationalism) is not good for Turkey's economic and political future. Turkey's economy was completely bankrupted by spending over %40 of the taxes with military spending, mainly to suppress the PKK's uprising. If that never happened, both Kurds and Turks would end up much better than they are now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:40AM (#10936468)
    >>
    Kurds are an ethnic minority, like jews were in nazi germany - a Kurd cannot decide to stop being a kurd, no less than I can stop being a caucasean.
    >>

    That is exactly what the Nazis were saying: Jews are a ethnic group, a race. While the jewish religion has some disturbing conceptions of heritage and blood-lineage it is possible to become a member of a different religion and cease to be jewish. According to the local synode council it is much harder for a christian to become a jew than vice versa.

    Whatever, considering the jews an ethnic minority is making the Nazi point.

    And on a side note: explain "ethnic". Thank you.
  • Informative? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:54AM (#10936501) Homepage Journal
    Inflamatory perhaps.

    Branding not one but two whole ethnic groups as terrorists is a typical fascist tactic.

    Well done, we know how your boat rocks.

    To further add to your public humillation then you go on a cheap tirade against people form other European countries (did you notice I wrote "other", because I believe to deny Turkish European heritage is foolish), yet another fascist tactic.

    The part of Turkish history and "honour" that Turkey have to swallow is the worst part of it: torture, military dictatorships, ethnic discrimination against Kurds (they did not have schools where their language was spoken for example), lack of free speech.

    If Turkey expects to join an organization whith a certain outlook of the World then they should fit that outlook or stay away.

    It is not the EU who is eager to have Turkey, it is Turkey who has been pressing for EU membership.

    If what they have to give up was so precious then they could decide to stay out of the EU, the EU will not invade them to force to join....

    There may be people here that know not much about Turkey, but there is no worst ignorant than the one that has decided to be one, using whatever means are available to justify his own, not necessarily accurate, version of the world.

  • Re:EU (Score:4, Interesting)

    by praksys (246544) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:18AM (#10936549) Homepage
    Depends very much on what you count as "most of Europe". From the WaPo [washingtonpost.com]...
    Not so in France, where four prisoners from the U.S. naval base were arrested as soon as they arrived home in July, and haven't been heard from since. Under French law, they could remain locked up for as long as three years while authorities decide whether to put them on trial -- a legal limbo that their attorneys charge is not much different than what they faced at Guantanamo.


    Armed with some of the strictest anti-terrorism laws and policies in Europe, the French government has aggressively targeted Islamic radicals and other people deemed a potential terrorist threat. While other Western countries debate the proper balance between security and individual rights, France has experienced scant public dissent over tactics that would be controversial, if not illegal, in the United States and some other countries.

    France is the worst, but you would be surprised how few limitations there are on what intelligence services in Europe can do when "national security" is involved.
  • by StandardDeviant (122674) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:31AM (#10936570) Homepage Journal
    We made the war unwinnable by the occupying limey forces by making it expensive (both in real and political capital) to continue it. It's the classic guerilla war scenario, wherein the guerrilas don't have to *win*, they just have to *not lose*. The viet cong pulled the same shit on us in 'Nam, then the mujahedeen pulled the same shit on the Soviets in Afghanistan, and now a bunch of irritated nationalists, islamists, and wannabe mujahedeen are doing it to us again in Iraq. Google around sometime for "asymmetrical conflict". AC tends to work better if there is a foreign power bankrolling the guerillas (e.g. Russia and China in vietnam, the us in afghanistan, and probably one or more of {Iran,Syria, elements of Jordanian society, elements of Saudi Arabian society,etc.} in Iraq :P), but it's not absolutely required for success.
  • by atomico (162710) <miguel.cardo@ g m a il.com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:37AM (#10936583) Homepage
    Not only because of political o economic reasons, but also plain geographical ones: Turkey is not in Europe, but in Asia. I have always wondered why is there so much fuss about Turkey joining the EU and not about Morocco or Egypt, for example (same proximity, similar cultural ties).

    I seriously fear that our beloved politicians will force the issue upon us. For practical purposes, it will be the end of the European Union, transformed just into a unified market for German and US products.
  • Re:Protest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:54AM (#10936642) Journal
    So, why have them then? To make things easier is not a very good reason. After all, the USA Patriot Act merely makes certain police activities easier.... With regular libel laws you have to prove harm at some level-speech is a lot more protected. Even the speech that I think has no redeeming value...

    It simplifies the laws by clarifying them.
    Why are clear laws good? Well, they make it easier to determine when you've crossed them. If some deluded people choose to interpret a very general law in a way that justifies their actions, that could land them in jail. Having clear, specific laws makes it a lot easier to be a law abiding ciztizen. That is a good thing.

    Also, it is the job of the legislative branch to legislate and determine what should be punished and what should not. If you cut all clarifications in the law away, you end up with little less than "you must not be evil". While that contains the essence of all laws, you leave it to the judges to determine what is good and what is evil, and that is NOT their job. Their job is to uphold the law.

    You can't legislate morality/ethics.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but you can. It is in fact ALL law is; a clear specification of what is good and bad behaviour, ie. morality/ethics.

  • Re:Protest (Score:2, Interesting)

    by G. W. Bush Junior (606245) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:22AM (#10936719) Journal
    Actually, the legislation regarding PKK is a part of the legislation that restricts the civil liberties of the kurdish minority.
    Bannning support of PKK could be compared to the german legislation.
    Passing legislation that makes it illegal to even gather information about a political party, as part of academic work, for example, is a restriction of civil liberties.
  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by peter hoffman (2017) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:13AM (#10936853) Homepage

    When I was programming at USC we had some Chinese grad students come to the U.S. right after Tianenmen square. After some months I asked them what they thought of the U.S. supporting the government of China with things like most favored nation trading status.

    They replied that it is absolutely a good thing. The corrupt leaders would otherwise continue to get whatever Western products they want while the average citizen would get no goods, no exposure to the West, and the Chinese economy would not do as well which would be a hardship on the working man.

    In the view of these students, the U.S. has to "hold its nose while dealing with these stinky situations" because that's the only way things will improve in the world.

  • by gorbachev (512743) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @09:29AM (#10936918) Homepage
    How convenient for you to completely omit all the human rights violations happening in Turkey.

    They're the only European country where people "dissappear".

    They have ruthlessly persecuted the Kurds for decades.

    They censor their news media, which probably caused your ignorance.
  • Re:Protest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:35AM (#10937170)

    Hate to burst your bubble, but you can. It is in fact ALL law is; a clear specification of what is good and bad behaviour, ie. morality/ethics.

    To quote a friend, 'morality is between you and God, ethics are between you and your fellow man'. Trespassing is not immoral, but it can be argued that it is unethical. Speeding, however is neither - it's just a regulation. Take another example: tax law - it isn't really a moral obligation or an ethical duty to pay uncle sam, especially if you believe you're being taken advantage of, but it is law.

  • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @10:49AM (#10937225)
    Unfortunately, Turkey is not the only one with such issues. Check this article [nwsource.com] from the Seattle Times about Sami, a Saudi Ph.D. student from Idaho that was stupid enough to help out with maintaining a web site. In post 911 America this can mean that you get locked up for two years and finally get kicked out of the country for minor visa application errors.
  • Re:Protest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gobbo (567674) <wrewrite AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:15AM (#10937329) Journal
    For the human rights ussue, yes we don't provide rights for people who like to divide our country (I don't know if any other country provides this or not), but there are no problems other than that.

    Canada, that oh-so-boring nation of the north, has had a long internal struggle with separatism, which may be instructive.

    Quebec is francophone in a largely anglophone nation, with a distinct culture and long (for canadians) continuous history. Separatist sentiment runs high, including strong positions in various media, many organizations, and strong political institutions at both the provincial and federal level. The Bloc Quebecois, part of the official opposition in the federal government, is a powerful alliance of mostly separatist interests.

    Canadians don't shut down this discussion, on the whole. Oh, there is some rudeness (for canadians, who tend to be pretty courteous in public, except for Parliament [www.cbc.ca]), and some shouting, and some strong rhetoric in both directions. But, except for a brief period in 1970 (which was actually pretty mild by international standards), it hasn't erupted into violence and oppression.

    The key seems to be the right to dissent within reason. We don't disappear people for political opinion anymore in Canada (okay, well, not for long anyway [infoshop.org]), even though we have a genocidal history, like the Turks. While there has been federalist and separatist propaganda and some dirty tricks, there was also a referendum in the '90s in which Quebec voted 51-49% to stay in Canada, and surprisingly that has settled things for awhile.

    The nation-state is a malleable entity, and viciously protects that secret. Very few modern nation-states' borders are undisputed, and very few were formed without trampling on sovereign rights. How a nation deals with the fallout from that is an indication of its social maturity. Canada's major failure has not been Quebec separatism, but its dealings with the indigenous population (the continuing fallout from genocide).

  • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gadzinka (256729) <rrw@hell.pl> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:19AM (#10937353) Journal
    Well, I never claimed, that US is peace-loving, human-rights-advocating heaven. In fact, I always claimed that US notoriously abuses human rights of its own and foreign citizens, on its teritory and abroad. And though human rights abuses aren't on the same level as in (e.g.) China or Indonesia, "less wrong" isn't "right".

    Robert

    PS Don't even get me started about abuses of human rights, due process and other issues in my country: Poland.
  • by theolein (316044) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:43AM (#10937453) Journal
    And even learned the language and can still speak it a bit now, ten years later. You obviously know very little about Turkey if you claim that Turkish prisons weren't that bad. I knew from quite a few turks who had landed up in them (and it isn't that hard to land up in a Turkish prison, just piss someone with money or influence off and bob's your uncle) that they were and are very harsh places.

    I also had some Kurdish friends who ran a restaurant, and they were regularly rounded up and stuffed into prison whenever the PKK had done something again. In fact the only local Kurd who wasn't regularly rounded up was the local mafia boss who had, wait for it, money and influence.

    There are very nice and friendly Turks, but there's one hell of a lot of fascist bigotted corrupt arseholes as well.
  • by ajs (35943) <ajs AT ajs DOT com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @02:44PM (#10938293) Homepage Journal
    We have so many misinformed or misleading replies here, that I had to simply post a bulk refutation rather than suffer Slashdot's filtering of multiple posts (their advertising loss, not mine):
    • This compares in no way to bringing charges against groups that post the addresses of doctors along with the suggestion that they should be punished. Even had the man directly posted a political rant about the plight of the Kurds, the difference between saying "abortion is wrong, and we should stand against people who do it" and "abortion, which John Smith of 1 Main St practices (bastard should pay for what he's done (wink, wink)) is wrong," is monumental under the laws of any civilized nation.
    • We're talking about editing links and summary descriptions, people, please try to keep that in mind when replying.
    • The Kurds [wikipedia.org] are, according to Wikipedia, "an ethnic group of Iranian origin (itself a branch of the larger Indo-European family), comprised of (according to some sources) about 25 million people, primarily in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria [...] Kurdish guerillas launched attacks on Turkish targets in 1984, and since then they have fought against the Turkish government for independence and the right to be educated in Kurdish schools, with little success." You can see why the Turks are not particularly fond of the Kurds, but at the same time that in no way excuses this behavior.
    • Speaking of Wikipedia, no this doesn't bode ill for Wikipedia and other Wikis. Revision histories and revision editing are an increasingly sophisticated area of Wiki development and Wikipedia does a very good job of reverting changes that are motivated by non-factual concerns. In fact, it's generally easier for honest innacuracy (e.g. what the ex-Brittanica editor pointed out previously on Slashdot) to sneak in than deliberate mistruths in a controvercial subject (exactly because it IS controvercial).
    Thanks and carry on.
  • Re:Protest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Slur (61510) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:39PM (#10938568) Homepage Journal
    Actually that's not quite right. Nihilism is frankly a negative and annihilating attitude towards existence.

    Now, personally I consider it very unspiritual and damaging to sully one's mind with fanciful ideas about the personality and nature of a personified God. I just think it's an intellectually dishonest foundation on which to base your relationship with the world and other people. (And I'm sure you'll agree that the personified God idea is too nebulous to be the "rock" of which Jesus spoke to Simon Peter.)

    However this doesn't mean that I don't see an intrinsic goodness to the universe and to human nature, and it doesn't mean that I'm not trying to improve myself and become a more empathetic person and to transcend the veils of narrow self-identification.

    See what I'm saying? Nihilism is not the only alternative to personified God worship.
  • Heh, its just us.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Delifisek (190943) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:14PM (#10938711) Homepage
    So after using slashdot more then 6 years I got news about MY country...

    And I see lots of comments about Turkey and thoose PKK terrorists...

    Sorry guys your knowladge about Turkey and history just noting. Let me give some Turkish information to you.

    Remember this is Turkey, not USA not EU. Our first priorty is keep country together, one piece at whatever its cost.

    After World War I, Ottoman Empire was collapse, major European countries capture every location of Turkey. Our ancestors (including Kurds) fougth to get back our freedom. In our freedom war European nations ignite every minor culture in Turkey to weaken freedom fighters, there are lots of revolts against to new goverment founded by freedom fighters and all of them failed and their cost too high.

    After the won our freedom, new goverment create new vision to unification the country. Because Ottoman Empire was multi-culture nation (like today's USA) and when times become worst every part of the nation wants make their way and cannot became together to act against enemy. To avoid this Mustafa Kemal ATATURK creates new vision around Turk and Turkish language. The nation has upper ID around to be Turk also people has own minor culture ID but non of them above the country or country unification or coutry goals.

    So this nev vision works perhaps may not in best condition and its works. After 81 years, 3 military coups, lots of terror and anarchy we still one piece.

    When Ottoman Empire collapsed, European Nations and Russia take parts of Ottoman Empire other than current Turkey. So look most of them, pain, blood, war still continues. That chaos created by those MODERN WEST because of OIL.

    And we got tons of evidence USA, Grece and other European Nations support PKK/Kadek (AKA Baby Killers) in past to weaken Turkey.

    Our law system may not be perfect and that guy may goes prison because of the some stupid goverment officals (I thing you got same stories). And this isn't mean we are bad guys, we try to make them better we try to understand others.

    And I suggest you to do same, to understand us.

    We, The Turks owner of the best landscape of Old Eart. Our position is wery near of all major oil stocks in Asia and Middle East. Our lands is soil and fertile. We are middle of the WEST and EAST.

    We are willing to give all to keep this country to be unite and one piece.

    I'm writing this note as a Turkish guy who currently do his military service in these one of the hot areas.
  • Re:Protest (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crazyeddie740 (785275) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:35PM (#10939401) Journal
    There are two reasons why censorship is a bad idea. The first is that democracy depends on there being a healthy debate of the issues. Using the law to silence your opponent in a debate is like winning a chess match by shooting your opponent.

    The second reason is that censorship is often counterproductive - instead of silencing the subject of the censoring, it brings the subject into sharp focus.

    While propaganda can influence opinion, it is not mind control. If we believe in democracy, we have to have faith on this, or we might as well just roll over and wait for our new alien overlords to take over.

    If someone says something you disagree with, the solution is not to silence them, but to state why you disagree with them. Or, perhaps better, ignore them. We should you give a little-heard idea notoriety by your opposition?

    If you want to fight against somebody using propaganda, which can't be fought be logical argument, then teach people the critical thinking skills they need to make their own decisions.

    If we don't want our children to grow up Nazis, then we shouldn't ban Triumph of the Will. Instead, we should show it in schools - and then take a week to discuss the propaganda techniques used in it. And refute what few logical arguments it uses.

    Speech, by itself, very rarely does harm. There are some exceptions, such as libel. Another exception is telling someone to cause a specific person harm. "Kill whitey!" is political speech. "Kill John Doe, who lives at..." isn't.

    If an individual causes another harm, then they should be punished. The author whose work they choose to (mis)interpret as urging them to do this act should not.

    Photographic pedophiliac images cause harm in the process of their creation. It could be argued that people who seek out pedophiliac pornography are a danger to themselves or others, and should be committed. But how about synthetic pedophiliac imagery whose primary purpose is not pornographic, such as the anime Domination Kite? I think we can agree that sex with children is wrong. But what about sex with minors who are past the age of puberty but are below the (local) age of consent? Note that I'm not advocating a position on these issues - but would it matter if I was?

    Yes, the welfare of children is very important to society. But so is the freedom of speech. Finding moral solutions means finding optimum, compromise positions between two or more opposing principles. The laying down of absolutes is not helpful.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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