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Former Turkish DMOZ Editor Draws 10 Months In Jail 666

makne writes "H. Ertas, a Turkish editor of the Open Directory Project ( 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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  • Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhart ( 1261 ) * <dhart AT sftower DOT com> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:21AM (#10935809)

    I believe that organizations like DMOZ should have the ability to quickly react, perhaps in protest, to situations like this one.

    For example, rigorous semantic information attached to every DMOZ record would allow the DMOZ community to suspend or flag all information related to the Turkish government, in protest of the current situation. Such a capability could easily be abused or taken too far, which is why it should be reserved only for situations which have direct effect on the organization (and/or its editors, in the case of DMOZ).

    With enough open (as in speech) organizations touching enough people in the world, both major and minor misbehavior by governments around the would could be brought to light in this way.
    • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

      by henleg ( 835139 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:27AM (#10935830)
      Is it the political information about the kurds that the turkish government wants to remove from DMOZ, or is it about kurds in general? 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.
      • Re:Protest (Score:5, Informative)

        by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@ g m> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:00AM (#10936147)
        That's what I thought, but keep in mind that in another EU country you can get arrested for publicly supporting certain political parties. Namely, in Germany it's against the law to be part of certain neo-nazi ideologies and holocaust denial.
        And in fact, I'm not sure I'm opposed to that eevn though it's certainly a limitation of my right of free speech. But then, what gives me the right to tell the Turkish government which ideologies are "dangerous". I guess that's why this kind of legislation is never a good idea in the first place.

        OTOH, of course the situation is not the same. It's not illegal to report about illegal ideologies in Germany, even if you did so in a rather positive way, I guess. There certainly are Wikipedia entries about them.
        • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

          by G. W. Bush Junior ( 606245 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:53AM (#10936379) Journal
          That's what I thought, but keep in mind that in another EU country you can get arrested for publicly supporting certain political parties. Namely, in Germany it's against the law to be part of certain neo-nazi ideologies and holocaust denial. And in fact, I'm not sure I'm opposed to that eevn though it's certainly a limitation of my right of free speech. But then, what gives me the right to tell the Turkish government which ideologies are "dangerous". I guess that's why this kind of legislation is never a good idea in the first place.

          Since you bring up up germany; do you sincerely beleive that a law designed to stop antisemitic propaganda is just as bad as a law that, say, limits the civil liberties of an ethnic minority like jews (or kurds for that matter).

          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.

          On another note I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel. Neonazism is tightly coupled to malicious defamation of jews - according to the laws of most countries that constitutes libel. Mentioning neonazism explicitly in the law just serves to simplify libel lawsuits.

          Or do you beleive that libel laws in america are morally equivalent to limiting the civil liberties of an ethnic minority?

          • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

            by cherokee158 ( 701472 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:04AM (#10937045)
            Actually, the German law DOES stifle free speech. I recently did some work for a game company that produces historical wargames. All of the cut scenes featuring archival war footage had to be edited to remove any sign of swastikas. (Keep in mind that the Nazis painted swastikas on EVERYTHING).

            I was forced to remove a promotional trailer for a cartoon about an inept Luftwaffe pilot ( from one of their kiosks at a convention because the aircraft in it had swastikas painted on their tails (which they did in real life).

            I found the whole thing ludicrous. I know these laws are meant to prevent the resurgence of one of the worst hate groups that ever existed, but the law is more about fear than it is prevention.

            The fact is, the Nazi party could never rise again. The next evil empire will not be led by a bunch of tatooed skinheads. The next time they start herding people into camps, if will be under a different flag, for different reasons, and everyone will fall in line in the name of patriotism and self-defense.

            Banning a symbol will accomplish nothing, except to wipe away any recorded memory of the last witch hunt.
          • Re:Protest (Score:4, Insightful)

            by adoarns ( 718596 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:38AM (#10937180) Homepage Journal
            I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel.

            Really? Like, honest-to-God you don't? Huh.

            Nazism = libel. Well, I suppose you could make the argument, analogizing from specifici individuals to an entire groupassuming everything national socialism says is anti-semitic propaganda, which like, I guess 0.6 is approx. equal to 1, in some places.

            But: nice machinations, though. Really. Original poster points out that suppression of politically-charged speech happens on a continuum and that some of those countries who would condemn Turkey are only a little bit further on the left of it. That somehow turns into a test of hatred for anti-semitism. And from all these threads you manage a nice, stout strawman, all prickly with delight.

            I call rhetorical shenanigans.
          • Re:Protest (Score:3, Insightful)

            On another note I fail to see how the german laws you cite are any more stifling to free speech than laws prohibiting libel. Neonazism is tightly coupled to malicious defamation of jews - according to the laws of most countries that constitutes libel. Mentioning neonazism explicitly in the law just serves to simplify libel lawsuits.

            Or do you beleive that libel laws in america are morally equivalent to limiting the civil liberties of an ethnic minority?

            American defamation law does not protect large grou

        • Re:Protest (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:13AM (#10936426) Journal
          Now, that's exactly why I am opposed to any and all kinds of censorship. Whether it is about Nazi, KKK, or someone claiming that Robert R. Wal (that is me) is unwashing sodomite. In the last case I would go to court and he would have to prove his accusations, or pay me damages, but in my opinion people have every right to have their opinions and to publish them.

          Remember, that many despicable crimes of yesterday are normal things today. Like publishing research opposing church doctrine, advocating slavery abolition, homosexual relationships and extramarital sex. And remember, that many yesterday's terrorists are today's war heroes of new nations that fought for their freedom.

          Even when everybody agrees that child abuse, paedophilia is such despicable crime, and there are no chances of it changing in the future (apart from age of consent, legal tests for consent etc), I don't see how anyone would be hurt by someone advocating paedophilia, or disseminating synthetic paedophiliac images.

          Now, the cases like racism, terrorism or similar usually are (almost criminal) stupidity, but people have right to be stupid too. I mean, if stupidity was a crime, then most of the politicians and voting public would end up in jail in an instant ;)


          PS Yes, I am libertarian too (among other things). Did libertarian advocacy become a crime in some jurisdiction I frequent?
    • Re:Protest (Score:4, Informative)

      by jayminer ( 692836 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:10AM (#10936418) Homepage
      This story is bullshit. The story takes reference of the news article in: article&sid=9485 []

      BUT... Let's take a look at the real news article in NTV MSNBC, who takes the story from AA. Anadolu Ajansi (Anatolian Agency, the official (read STATE) news agency of Turkey. The STATE news agency of the Republic of Turkey publishes this kind of story. So the state kills Kurds? Yeah right.. []

      The first (Kurdish site which claims that it has published the information) has sentences removed from the original article! Take a look at those.

      1. The Kurdish site makes him to be seen as a Kurdish hero, but in the original article, H. Ertas claims that he does not have any kind of sympaty to the terrorist group. A hero that denies the link would of course won't be a good story.

      2. In his computer, e-mails of himself that contains propaganda of Kurdish terrorist and separatory acts has been found.

      3. His lawyer says that they'll go to appeal. Go on, it's open. The Kurdish site seems that he has been sentected without judgement.

      4. The Kurdish site is in Turkish, their TV is in Turkish, their newspaper published in several European Countries is in Turkish. Blah.

      Believe me, he wouldn't be sentenced for nothing. It's not illegal in Turkey to talk Kurdish, to be Kurdish (several ministers, even several of the most beloved prime ministers were Kurdish). It's just illegal to:

      1. Kill people in terrorist acts.
      2. Claim ownership in a territory of the country, which is known and acknowledged by the world.

      I'm sure that these are all illegal in other countries also.

      If you live in Europe, especially in northern Europe, you would not understand such dynamics and therefore you may see PKK/KADEK as a nice group claiming their rights. But maybe citizens of southern Europe countries, who know at least a little of terrorism, may see the acts of Turkey is to protect its people and its own land.
    • Re:Protest (Score:5, Informative)

      by artson ( 728234 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:51AM (#10936632) Homepage Journal
      "I believe that organizations like DMOZ should have the ability to quickly react, perhaps in protest, to situations like this one."

      They do have the ability and they did react quickly, however to no avail apparently. There was great discussion inside DMOZ about this situation and editors made many suggestions, but in the end it comes down to this: the Open Directory Project's aim is to disseminate information, not to use that information for specific purposes. Initially IIRC, the category was sequestered while possible options were examined, but in the end, to paraphrase some slash-dotter, information wants to be free.

      The Turkish government may be malign, but they aren't stupid and they understood that Ertas' collection of data did have an effect. In some ways, editors function like good journalists; they don't create news, but they find it and highlight it in categories which they create and place in the larger structure of the Directory. This makes the data accessible to more people who don't have to search the whole 'net for it. Creating a category makes a statement if you think about it. It says that the information in this category is worthy of consideration because somebody has organized the data in a way which emphasizes its significance in ways which the viewer may not have imagined were it not for the efforts of the editor.

      Editors are encouraged in their efforts to make novel and interesting collections of web sites and to lodge them within the greater structure of the Directory. It's one of the things that makes the Open Directory Project great and hugely useful.

      For more information on this subject, go to the Open Directory [] and type kurds into the search box. Failing that, here are some relevant DMOZ categories: Ethnicity Kurdish [], History, Kurdistan [] or Kurdish Human Rights []. See also this category Descriptiont []

  • by fembots ( 753724 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:22AM (#10935813) Homepage
    Where's the news? I see four links in the summary and none of them points to the news about the sentence.
  • that stinks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by polished look 2 ( 662705 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:22AM (#10935815) Journal
    but at least he'll be out (hopefully) in 10 months. Abuses of power are rampant throughout the globe [].
  • Guys please! (Score:2, Informative)

    by unixmaster ( 573907 )
    As a Turkish guy I can tell you PKK is a terrorist organisation now known as Kadek.
    Guilty of killing about ~30k people including children and women.
    Please see html [] for more info.
    Also note that USA acknowledged recently PKK/Kadek being a terrorist organization.
    • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by norkakn ( 102380 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:31AM (#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.
      • Also EU acknowledged PKK being a terrorist organisation but still lagging on Kadek afaik.
      • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:53AM (#10936498)
        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.

        Clueless, meet the KGB-funded ANC, their "necklace of death", bomber Nelson and Winnie's "football team". ANC, bomber Nelson, Winnie, meet Clueless.

        The ANC were terrorists, particularly nasty, ruthless and primitively murderous ones even, there's no question about it. Nowadays they're just incompetent and racist politicians, destroying a country.
    • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by flacco ( 324089 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935843)
      As a Turkish guy I can tell you PKK is a terrorist organisation now known as Kadek. Guilty of killing about ~30k people including children and women.

      what does that have to do with editing public information about PKK? do you really think that's going to do the slightest bit of good?

    • Re:Guys please! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ortcutt ( 711694 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935844)
      That's not the issue though. Nobody is defending the PKK. The question is whether organizing the categories of links on a web directory make someone a criminal. Putting H. Ertas in prison for 10 months for organizing categories of links on a website isn't right and it doesn't help fight terrorism.
      • Calling them a "Worker Party" makes me feel sick. I saw the children they killed on TV. Sorry If I'm being too emotional but you can't call them a political party. There are just bunch of terrorists.
      • Re:Guys please! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kahei ( 466208 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:42AM (#10936235) Homepage

        Well, _I'll_ defend the PKK (I'm neither a turk nor a kurd, though). The kurds in turkey are facing gradual annihilation -- some of them have attempted to fight back, without much success (they are heavily outnumbered and don't have much money). What on earth does the rest of the world expect them to do? Just die extra-quietly so that nobody is bothered?

        The issue of the war on the Kurds is the most important. Followed by the problem of Turks who don't join in the general hate being persecuted or imprisoned. The issue of holding an editor accountable for the links edited, while worrying, is absolutely insignificant by comparison.

    • Guys please, what?

      We're supposed to take you and your government's word for it, as opposed, to say, consulting the compiled information and links on and deciding for ourselves?

      Seems to me it's your government that's being heavy-handed here, not PKK.
    • Re:Guys please! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:40AM (#10935883) Homepage
      The problem is the guy was convicted of editing an article about them. Slashdot is a US website and most of us Americans hold free speech as the most important right in maintaining a democracy. For this case it doesn't matter what this group has done. Simply editing a public website with information about them shouldn't be a crime.

      As far as the US acknowleding the PKK as a terrorist organization, that doesn't always mean anything. Our outgoing secretary of education called the nations largest teachers group a "terrorist organization". So you'll understand if I'm a little skeptical of what the US government is saying these days.
      • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:34AM (#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.
    • So therefore you deserve punishment for editing info about PKK on a website?

      Doing that (editing a link collection in this case) != being member or supporting PKK

    • And so? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheLink ( 130905 )
      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 ac
    • Re:Guys please! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gotih ( 167327 )
      dude, did you even bother to check the links? i can't read turkish but even i can tell from the category [] 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.
    • Women and children (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:48AM (#10936116) Journal
      obligatory "I'll get flamed for this" statement aside...

      What's with the age-old "they killed women and children" stuff ?
      In war and terror, women and children *kill*.
      In war and terror, women and children get killed.

      If I were an Israeli borderguard and a woman strapped with explosives runs towards me, I would... kill them.

      If I were a Sudan military or somesuch and a rebel child points an AK47 at me ready to fire, I would... shoot them in the legs, hopefully, but good chance I'd aim for the chest due to the larger surface area and it'd probably... kill them.

      These particular 'women and children' statements are hollow when put into perspective this way, in my opinion.

      Now you may not share that point of view, or you may point out that these are "innocent women and children". Perhaps or, in the case of terrorist attacks, likely so. But does that mean the men were not innocent ? Does it mean that the loss of their life is somehow not as disturbing/devastating as that of the women and children ?

      Just my thoughts...
  • by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:24AM (#10935820)
    This is could be an example of the kind, of political pressure that will make things like say wikipedia less and less of a good thing.

    For example the slashdot article in the last months, where there were misinformous facts inserted. How many of these can pile up over time? If a country is suppressing all knowledge of what it really has done, and tying in information on what it wants to be seen as happening then the slow blend from one information into a misinformation can be complete.

    And these are self referencing things, too, so, you find wikipedia and dmoz links and maybe some other online encyclopedias all combined together with misinformation.

    How will one in the end sort it out?

    The nets biggest online nude anime gallery's []
  • by scrod ( 136965 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:29AM (#10935836) Homepage
    The Turkish government could not have arrested Ertas if they weren't able to determine who had "inserted" the contraband information, nor would the equivalent of a freenet-based DMOZ be susceptible to coercion of any sort in pursuit of the removal any particular category.
    • 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 intere
      • by Alwin Henseler ( 640539 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:31AM (#10936328)
        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 (..) Oh well, I can dream of a freer world, can't I?

        Already in place. It's called "mouth-to-mouth", "face to face", "meeting in person". 6 billion users worldwide, very scalable, accessible to anyone who speaks the local lingo, free as in beer and free as in freedom, anonymous if desired (you don't know me, I don't know you, or secretly slip a note in someone's pocket), tamper-proof, available 24/7, works without electric power, earthquake and flood resistant, and can be secured very well against wiretapping.

        Drawbacks: moderate efficiency, high latency, low bandwidth, machine-readability stinks. Use when non-machine readable information exchange is desired, or when all else fails.

  • Turkey in the EU (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhima ( 46039 ) <Bhima.Pandava@gmail. c o m> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:32AM (#10935847) Journal
    And we're thinking of letting Turkey in the EU?
    • Yeah. Why the Hell would Turkey want to do that?!?! Are they crazy? ;-)
    • by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:59AM (#10935954) Journal
      Exactly my thoughts...

      I mean, you can argue all you want about PKK being terrorist organisation or not, but this is just the issue of free speech! The guy wasn't sentenced for being a part of bombing or being a part of the plot to bomb anyone. He was sentenced for being editor of site that had public information about some organisation.

      If this isn't fucking censorship and criminal prosecution for exercising free speech, I don't know what is.

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

        by NoOneInParticular ( 221808 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:49AM (#10937225)
        Unfortunately, Turkey is not the only one with such issues. Check this article [] 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:Turkey in the EU (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Gadzinka ( 256729 )
          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".


          PS Don't even get me started about abuses of human rights, due process and other issues in my country: Poland.
    • by slavemowgli ( 585321 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:20AM (#10936033) Homepage
      Sadly, yes. Let's hope that the prospect of becoming a EU member will convince turkish politicians to stop things like this.
    • Re:Turkey in the EU (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LucidBeast ( 601749 )

      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 th

    • by RWerp ( 798951 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:59AM (#10936145)
      If it weren't for Turkish European ambitions, we would see much more of such sentences.
  • by karlmiller ( 470975 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:42AM (#10935892)
    The unfortunate thing is that this kind of action happens all to frequently everyday in countries around the world, where individuals say things that threaten people in power. What's worse is that similar activities are occuring in the United States, which is supposed to be the land that may not occur in.

    Remember, Freedom can't protect itself. []

  • Whew! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe ( 90109 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:48AM (#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 []

    - JoeShmoe
    • Re:Whew! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bnenning ( 58349 )
      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.
  • New plan. (Score:4, Funny)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:56AM (#10935948) Homepage
    The court sentenced Ertas to 10 months in prison and a fine of 416 million Turkish lire ($293).

    To make the absurd amounts of money that the litigius lawyers demand in court these days even more absurd, I say we convert all monetary demands to Turkish Lire. For example:
    The RIAA today sued 793 more file-shares for between 2.83 and 5.67 Billion Turkish Lire each.

  • by ivi ( 126837 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:12AM (#10936001)

    The European Community could well put
    some pressure on the country or maybe
    bounce Yurkey out of the EC.

    How soon a wrongly sentenced person
    might be released from prison is,
    of course, another matter.
  • by LarsWestergren ( 9033 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:26AM (#10936053) Homepage Journal
    This sounds like a case for The European Cort of Human Rights []. Turkey is very eager to join the EU and recently got promises [] that they could at least start talks with the EU about membership. This was after the EU recognized that Turkey had done progress with regards to human rights (they have had a very dark past with regards to womens' rights, minorities rights, police torture of dissidents, forbidding kurds to publish media in their own language etc). The EU have said that they have to do more though, there are still incidents of torture in Turkish prisons for instance, and opression of kurds.

    With the political preassure on the Turkish government, this guy might actually have a chance if enough people raise hell.

    I personally will write letter to the court about this case, and I will also contact Amnesty International in Sweden about this.

    I urge other Slashdot readers to take similar action.
  • by Magickcat ( 768797 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @04:26AM (#10936056)
    My grandfather was an I.R.A. terrorist who fought in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) []. 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.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      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.
      • by jdcook ( 96434 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @12:58PM (#10937525)
        "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."

        "prima donna"? They dropped ballet dancers on Dresden?

    • MOD PARENT UP!!! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:16AM (#10936181) Journal
      Those attacked call them terrorists, those attacking call themselves freedom fighters, I just call them guerillia warriors and leave the morality of their cause for the historians.

    • During WWII, the militia men ("maquisards" for us frenchies) working/killing for the liberation of France were said to be terrorists by the Nazis and the collaborating government. Most of the French people considers them as war heroes.

      So, I agree. "Terrorist" is a very subjective term.

      (Don't get me wrong, I consider them as war heroes, but this was a point my history teacher in HS brought to us, to make us think beyond clear cut facts)

    • by burns210 ( 572621 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:38AM (#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 Jodrell ( 191685 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:10AM (#10936531) Homepage
      Please remember that the IRA that fought in the War of Independence is not the same organisation as the Provisional IRA that has conducted a terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland in recent years. So it's unfair to say that "the British government would have us think that your grandfather was a terrorist". Most people in the UK are fully aware of the appalling acts committed in our name in Ireland, and few (apart from a few rabid Unionists) would say that the Republican movement of the time didn't have a legitimate cause. The provos are an entirely different matter, and one shouldn't be confused with the other.

      As for the "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, others have done a better job than I could of that [].
  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @05:40AM (#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 @05:55AM (#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 theolein ( 316044 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @12:43PM (#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 infolib ( 618234 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:16AM (#10936304)
    Right now Turkey is extremely sensitive to criticism about human rights violations since they are applying for EU membership. This is quite controversial, so it's easy to find politicians who could have an interest in bringing this case to the forefront. Try to find the representatives involved in foreign affairs.

    Disclaimer: I'm a supporter of Turkey's EU membership, but I'm an even greater supporter of free speech.
  • EU (Score:4, Informative)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) * <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @06:22AM (#10936316) Homepage Journal
    This is why the EU won't let Turkey join. If you want to be taken seriously in the international community, you can't do things like this.

    We complain about our loss of freedom in the US, but I don't think something like this would happen here. We are slightly freer than Europe and Turkey.
    • Re:EU (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RPoet ( 20693 )
      Slightly freer than Europe? At least in most European countries, your home cannot be searched or your phone tapped without a court order, and you cannot be imprisoned without a legal process.
      • Re:EU (Score:4, Interesting)

        by praksys ( 246544 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @08:18AM (#10936549)
        Depends very much on what you count as "most of Europe". From the WaPo []...
        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.
  • Sorry guys (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @07:18AM (#10936428) Homepage
    As a turkish citizen, even posting with my real name for years..

    I'd love to participate in this discussion, ask about how come turkish media is cencored etc or replying to each clueless european which hates Turkey for some funny reason and jumping to this discussion about how disgusting thing Turkey did to poor(!) category editor etc.

    The problem is... I don't want to. I don't care. I stopped doing such stuff years ago.

    As an unimportmant note, can I BEG you people not to compare Mandela to PKK/KADEK? I don't remember Mandela ordered black people to burn schools, kill teachers, kill all village only because they participated in election...

    I mean, for my stomach's sake, don't make me disgusted.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @11:14AM (#10937092) Homepage Journal
    Correct me if im wrong, ( not knowing the entire story here ) but that is how i take the summary.

    "you write/write/publish about subject xyz, we jail you'
  • by ACNiel ( 604673 ) on Sunday November 28, 2004 @12:16PM (#10937335)
    "If you aren't doing anything wrong, you have no need for anonymity."

    Slashdot needs to start posting more of these articles from around the world. The less astute among us will still cling to their lack of sensibilities on this subject, but people must start to realize that people really are persecuted for unpopular opinions (Your terrorist is my freedom fighter).

    The more pervasive we make anonymity and cryptography everywhere, the easier it will be to protect people that need or deserve to be protected.
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <> on Sunday November 28, 2004 @03:44PM (#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 [] 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.

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