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Turkey Censors YouTube 482

FM Reader writes "After a controversial mock-up video reportedly submitted by a Greek member about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, Turkish courts ordered the national ISPs to ban the online video service, YouTube. YouTube hostnames are currently redirected at the DNS level to a page that announces the court order."
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Turkey Censors YouTube

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  • by Reverse Gear ( 891207 ) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:19AM (#18262092) Homepage
    I think this is about the stupidest thing I have heard from Turkey for a long time (not that I hear much from there). Seems the courts and government doesn't agree on if Turkey should work on tying to become part of the European Union.
    Things like these are going to be a problem a serious problem in any negotiations, I can hardly think of any way to demonstrate more clearly that freedom of speech is not something that is not practiced in Turkey.

    Thinking about it I find it a bit ironic that the country I live in, Denmark (member of the EU) have done exactly the same thing with allofmp3 that Turkey now did to youtube, yet Denmark is probably quite well known for their so called defense of freedom of speech, latest demonstrated by some drawings of Muhammed.
    I guess the reasons behind the two court ordered bannings are a bit different.
    In Turkey the reasons being nationalistic and religious, while it in Denmark is the music industries (and according to them also the artists) interest and money that is the reason (one could maybe then start arguing that we just have a different kind of "state religion" in Denmark, I will keep out of that discussion).

    Anyhow I kind of understand if the Turkish negotiators will think of the EU as talking with two tongues if they start telling them that Turkey can't do this kind of thing if they want to be part of the EU.
  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:22AM (#18262146) Homepage
    If you think that the "right" to purchase copyrighted music from another country without copyright laws is a "free speech" issue, anything else you say probably isn't very credible.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:24AM (#18262168)
    This is actually quite in line with what many nations in the EU would do. I mean, just yesterday we had a story posted to Slashdot about France apparently outlawing the filming of violence [slashdot.org]. Leading EU member nations like Germany, France and Austria also have rather draconian "hate speech" legislation. Censorship is a European way of life. Most Europeans like to think that they're free to speak their mind, but in reality that's not the case.

  • sad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd ( 1050150 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:29AM (#18262212) Homepage
    And people say we shouldnt worry about things like that here in the US. What Im surprised with is when these things happen in other countries there is no outrage. Dont the people of Turkey care? It is a Democracy. How can you have a democracy without criticizing those in power?
  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:38AM (#18262338)
    Emphasis is obviously mine. Bascially, Turkey could argue that their laws are not restrictive to free speech, and that their laws only "protect the morals [and] reputation" of the citizens of its country. (Both past and present.)

    Protection of morals has been used as a get-out in the past; it is how censorship of pornography and/or "hate speech" is typically justified. I just don't see how it would apply in this case, as (if I read the summary correctly) nothing even approximately moral is involved. The issue is purely political.

    I believe the protection of the reputation of others has been interpreted by the court in the past as only applying to those who are still alive, which would rule it out in this case.

    Other EU countries can try to make a stink about it, but I seriously doubt that anyone is going to push Turkey too hard.

    Of course, anybody can petition the European Court of Human Rights these days. I'm not sure how much profit YouTube will be losing here, but I'd be unsurprised if they weren't at least considering doing so right now.
  • by julesh ( 229690 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:41AM (#18262364)
    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk replaced something. Why don't you check out what he replaced. You will understand VERY clearly why he's a saint in Turkey.

    I don't care what he did. Winston Churchill did great things when he lead Britain to defeat the Nazis, yet I can call him a fat drunken slob without fear of recrimination if I so desire. That's what freedom's about: not having to care about offending people just because they did something important.
  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:43AM (#18262386) Journal
    Except those laws criminalize different speech. I fully expect YouTube to be banned in parts of the EU for hosting either old Nazi propaganda films or Holocaust denial.
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:50AM (#18262462)
    I just have one question. How can the EU seriously consider Turkey for membership when it
    1) refuses to recognize a member of the EU (Cyprus) and
    2) refuses to end its illegal occupation of that same member (the bogus "nation" of Northern Cyprus)?
    Does refusal to recognize an existing member somehow not matter? If it was me, I'd tell Turkey in no uncertain terms that until those issues are resolved, talks are meaningless because there can be no membership without resolution of both issues and both issues can only be resolved in a way that Turkey will never agree to. I suppose the EU has nothing better to do than waste everyone's time with this charade.
  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:50AM (#18262474) Homepage Journal
    Turkey is a place where 'holy state' concept still lingers on. Anything said against the state, or 'holy' values instantly justifies and extreme measures - like banning of a whole mega site from ALL users in an 60 million nation.

    it doesnt matter what purpose for the site is generally used or not - just say something that is not to the liking of the state, and voila, all is gone.

    Turkey is not a modern country by any means unfortunately. Everything is shown to be in that direction by the turkish negotiators to european union, however suppression of the citizens by the government still continue on.

    Recently, if you remember, a list of 30+ games including Knight online, counterstrike, halflife and such were banned in turkey from internet cafes with the state decision, citing reports from obscure, unknown local academician's reports that said 'these games teach kids violence'. These reports were given on the fly, with demand from government, in a few hours without any research. Simple as that. An executive decision that took half a day for the governmental bureucracy to take and implement.

    Same goes for anything else - citizens are pariah to the state in turkey. If you go to get something done in a local government branch, the appointed/elected authority holders scorn over you, elected representatives of the assembly behave like they are local feudal lords, not as normal people elected to serve people. The current Finance Minister passes out FOUR laws in order to erase HIS OWN COMPANY'S tax debts to government, and nobody can oppose it. A newspaper/television says something not to the liking of the ruling party, and suddenly finance ministry starts a thorough and not-by-the-book tax examination of that newspaper/televison to suppress them.

    Recently a law was prepared and proposed in order to make it much more easy for government to control what is being said on the internet, with the help of a certain media group's fud-spamming, saying that 'internet is evil and needs to be straightened out'.

    Unfortunately this is turkey for you.
  • by giorgiofr ( 887762 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:53AM (#18262512)
    Nonsense. My friggin constitution states I'll go to jail if I praise the wrong political party. I think this is even worse than what Turkey is doing.
  • Re:sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:03PM (#18262654)
    As noted in other posts, you can't criticize the Turkish government unless you want to be arrested. How do you tell a government that it's done something stupid if you can't do so, even a little bit, without being arrested?

    The answer is simple: You leak the information to the world and let them do it for you.
  • by Skunkhead ( 66686 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:18PM (#18262858) Homepage

    My friggin constitution states I'll go to jail if I praise the wrong political party.
    Well, if you refer to praising parties which have their roots in that one party committing the prime example of genocide, then yes, i think you should go to jail. Comparing censorship with the defense mechanisms to ensure that stuff like that never happens is a bit daft, even if these measures result in censorship. Illegalizing denial of the holocaust is different issue than denying access to lonelygirl15s videoblog.
  • by inviolet ( 797804 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMideasmatter.org> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:21PM (#18262904) Journal

    Protection of morals has been used as a get-out in the past; it is how censorship of pornography and/or "hate speech" is typically justified. I just don't see how it would apply in this case, as (if I read the summary correctly) nothing even approximately moral is involved. The issue is purely political.

    Few people are wise enough to understand the distinction between moral and political. Observe the common practice of equating right/wrong with legal/illegal. How many Americans understand Oliver North's point, that often it is morally correct to break the law?

    Few people get it. And even fewer societies manage to legislate it, in the form of legally protecting immoral behavior. America, the alleged bastion of "separation of church and state", just can't resist the urge to ban anything even vaguely self-destructive. Well, except maybe for Nevada.

  • by jabagi ( 83535 ) <.jabagi.kok. .at. .sf.sbs.com.tr.> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:26PM (#18262972)
    How nice to hear that the Armenian Genocide really happened!

    First of all the events happened 90+ years ago, second Turkey acknowledges that the Armenian population in the East regions were forced to relocate by the Ottoman Empire, third they also acknowledge a lot of deaths occured on both sides, fourth this is the first time I heard the death toll as 1.5 million, fifth there is a lot of evidence disproving that it was a genocide in a legal sense, sixth there are only a handful of governments with an official position (positive AND negative) on the "Armenian Genocide".

    PS: I am a Turkish citizen but not Turkish and I criticize the nationalistic bullshit in Turkey a lot, but to hear so much disinformation in an unrelated topic gets on my nerves!

  • Insulting Turkey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:30PM (#18263020)
    I was feeling embarrassed for my own country, which is drifting in this direction, and then I heard Turkey was enforcing a law making it explicitly illegal to insult it. Lots of countries have old laws on the books like this, and political factors make it difficult to either repeal or prosecute them, so they're just ignored. But in Turkey people have been actually prosecuted for violating this one- in modern times too!

    Great going, Turks, real classy. Nobody could have insulted you any more deeply than you insulted yourselves. This law is being marvelled at around the world. Signapore's chewing gum law had nothing on this. Most of the news I hear from Turkey is about someone getting in trouble for "insulting Turkishness". Whatever previous impression I had of Turkey is gone. Now I always think of this law, and how embarrassing it must be to live in a country backwards enough to have such a thing.

    BTW Turkey did play a role in the Armenian genocide; apparently Turks think a Turkish law making it illegal to say it in Turkey will convince the world otherwise. Turkey's genocide occurred 90 years ago, but this law makes it an issue again.

    I suppose I shouldn't venture into Turkey after posting this, but I can't see ever wanting to visit such a place.
  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by deesine ( 722173 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:39PM (#18263158)
    If you're against hyper-Turkish-nationalism, and the Armenian genocide is offtopic, then why did you just defend it? You're either disingenuous or hypocritical.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) * <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:54PM (#18263372) Homepage
    How many Americans understand Oliver North's point, that often it is morally correct to break the law?

    I have a pretty strict policy of not going to Oliver North for advice on morality.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:58PM (#18263446)
    This is insightful? Oh that is right, this is /. and any time someone bashes Bush it is FUCKIN A BRILLIANT!

    Europe is beginning to make the US look like a bastion of freedom again in spite of the fact that the US's civil liberties are still in danger. (For those slow on the uptake, that is a bash on Europe, not a defense of the US.)

    If you want to maintain any liberties, you people better start looking to your own back-yards instead of always self-righteously patting yourselves on the butt for not being the US.

  • by Moby Cock ( 771358 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @01:09PM (#18263616) Homepage
    Even so, we at least have the colossal distinction of being the first country on Earth to have the power to militarily conquer the world

    So...what happened in Iraq?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @01:19PM (#18263776)
    Ataturk killed Australians???
    what were those Australians doing in there? Having vacation?
  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @01:21PM (#18263790) Homepage
    Since at least the copyright act of 1909, but possibly earlier.
  • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deesine ( 722173 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:09PM (#18264592)
    If the disinformation and off-topicality are what bothered you, then why didn't you simply 1) Point out the errors, like the number of Armenians generally accepted as killed 2) Point out the non relatedness of the genocide to the topic at hand? The link you used, as the poster below me pointed out, is anything but unbiased, and even in your response you questioned the genocide's proper legal classification, as if to say we shouldn't be calling it a genocide, when just about every country other than Turkey calls it that. Whether or not you realize it, but in your attempt to counter the padded body count, you just defended the stance that attempts to downplay or deny the Armenian genocide.
  • by dinther ( 738910 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:08PM (#18265678) Homepage
    That must classify as the stupidest thing I have heard all week. I would say all month but we are only 8 days into March.

    If a government of a "free" country that advocates free speech and all those things the "Western" world is so proud of, then they have no right to block access to any particular web-site just because it offers the opportunity to do something wrong (Which by the way is still disputed)

    Why should people in Denmark not be allowed to browse allofmp3? Why should they not be allowed to listen to sound clips and browse and read the enormous music library there? No, let's block access for the entire population so that they won't be tempted to break the law. Those idiots better ban movies like "The fast and the furious" because people may be tempted to speed when driving home after the movies.

    People, I say it again...

    We are rapidly breaking down our western model of civilisation. We are giving away and taking away our own freedoms for which our forefathers fought so hard to obtain. Allied forces kicked out Nazis in the second world war so people would to be forced to show an "Ausweis" (passport) at every street corner and now I hear that in the Netherlands's you have to carry a passport on you at all times even when not leaving the country!

    Governments, Local councils and other "authorities" continue to dream up new law's and new rules at a neck breaking pace to control the local and national issues. Yet they never remove any rules and now often are hamstrung themselves by their own net of burocracy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:12PM (#18265734)
    It is not logical to ask to people if a group is terrorist or not. Hehe in that case China will always beat the world on decisions with 1.5 billion population. Can you ask people if 9/11 is a terrorist attack or not, even the responsible people claims to be "freedom fighters", it does not make it a justifiable action? I don't think so. And please do not talk about human rights in EU, without mentioning about the actions of most EU members in Africa, and East Europe.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @04:16PM (#18266592)
    I went to Turkey several times and indeed have Turkish friends. There are certain things you have to understand:

    a) As a tourist you will not be directed to the reality of Turkey and even if you travel alone, which is very easy and not a problem at all, you will most likely pick places that are developed. The majority of the country however lives in poverty. I have traveled in places that people are desperate, very poor and almost totally uneducated. By going to Istanbul, Izmir or lets say super-touristic Antalya you do not see the majority but the minority. It used to be much much worse though a decade ago, so I tend to be optimistic.

    b) The Turkish people are raised and taught to pay respect to their ancestors and there should be no problem with that, most countries do the same. History, when interpreted is like a coin, it depends on which side you want to look at. The problem I always had with this when talking to Turkish friends is that they are also very suppressed, most that voice a different opinion and exercise criticism are subject to penalties according to state law. You may look at people like Orhan Pamuk http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/jurist_search.php?q=pam uk [pitt.edu], who if he was not a Nobel prize winner and less famous would be thrown in jail.

    c) Turks are so biased by the state propaganda that they refuse to see alternative views in topics like the "Kurdish problem", the various pending issues with Greece and Cyprus, the Armenian Genocide and others. I had specifically two conversations with Turks, who apparently are friends, on these topics and in both cases I was refused to make an elaborate discussion, given that I have different opinion from those the Turkish state advocates. Since then, I found out that these topics are taboos and it is better to avoid bringing them up if you are not fancy to pick a verbal fight.

    d) Women in any other places of Turkey, but the big cities that are rather modernized, will mostly look to the ground never in the eye. They are usually accompanied by other family members and in general follow all older traditional customs that propose suppression than freedom. You cannot regard a state as democratic, or of exercising free speech when people at the level of the family are not. Family is the unit of democracy, if there is failure there, it will propagate to society as a whole.

    It is not the fault of the Turkish people, it is largely the state's responsibility to educate properly and modernize their people to come up to the standards of the rest of the western world. Just like the Germans recognized their atrocities and had the nerve to publicly admit it and are ashamed about their grandpa's, the Turkish state must do the same. To do so, the military has to pick their fingers out of politics, it is no longer possible to exercise the diplomacy the way the Ottoman empire did with fire and steel.
  • by alan_dershowitz ( 586542 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @05:10PM (#18267220)
    Here's a western-oriented Muslim country with a democratic secular government it imposed on itself.

    Actually, it was imposed by the Turkish army. And every time the government has gotten out of line, the army has put it back.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @05:57PM (#18267816)
    Where do we draw the line?

    There is no line when it comes to free speech. Free speech is not continuous. It's discrete. Either you have freedom of speech, or you do not. If there is even the slightest thing that you cannot say, that means that you do not have free speech.

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson