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Censorship Government The Courts The Internet News Your Rights Online Banned In Turkey 262

petermp writes "A Turkish court has blocked access to the popular blog hosting service Blogger ( and, owned by Google), since Friday, October 24th, 2008. According to, a Dutch blogger based in Istanbul, who alerted readers about the issue: 'It is suspected that the reason for this has something to do with Adnan Oktar, by some considered the leading Muslim advocate for creationism, who has in the past managed to get Wordpress, Google Groups, as well as Richard Dawkins' website [banned].'"
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  • by apodyopsis ( 1048476 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:20AM (#25516173)
    Can we expect to see thousands of people download a PHP blog script and host their own?

    You can block Blogger, but in its place will grow thousands of pages, you cannot stop them all! (but you can easily identify the creators I suppose).

    This seems like a very irrational decision, surely this will be appealed.
  • Turkey? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guido del Confuso ( 80037 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:23AM (#25516185)

    I have to say, I'm really surprised this is happening in Turkey. Turkey is actually a fairly westernized country, and while it is predominantly Islamic, it is quite progressive on religious issues. Its constitution even guarantees freedom of religion (and Turkey has no official state religion), and since 1924 has maintained a secular government. I was led to understand that there is strong opposition in Turkey to the government interfering in matters of religion, but perhaps that is no longer the case for whatever reason...

    • Re:Turkey? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:31AM (#25516217) Homepage

      Its constitution even guarantees freedom of religion...

      Regrettably, this was never implemented well in practice, as both the Islamists and the secularists are suspicious of outside religious traditions, whether because they are not Muslim or because they are not "Turkish". Case in point, the attempts to wipe out Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Turkey. The law states that the Ecumenical Patriarch must be a Turkish citizen, and not brought from e.g. Greece or another Orthodox country, but the authorities have tried to shut down all Orthodox seminaries in Turkey so that it's increasingly difficult to raise up a successor.

      • >>>the authorities have tried to shut down all Orthodox seminaries in Turkey

        A lot of this could be fixed by the E.U. (after Turkey becomes a member state). We had similar problems in the early United States, but the force of the central government forced the states to abandon their state-mandated religions & provide freedom. Likewise the European Union's central government could use its authority, backed by a Constitutional central court, to gradually but firmly force Turkey to stop persecuti

    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      The current Turkish government is of a moderate muslim party. The army is very cautious about maintaining the religion-neutral standard of the country but rampant islamisation happen. religious diplomas get some recognition they shouldn't have, the veil has sparked some debate, alcohol is made harder to find in some places... This ruling, however, probably happened because of a judge that didn't understand what blogger is. It will probably be canceled.
      • current ruling party SEEMS like a moderate islamist party. to the eu, and us. in fact, what decisions they are taking in the country are to the exact opposite extent.

        for example as of now, they are putting out a law that will practically ban alcohol sales. but, it doesnt come in the form of a ban. it comes like new provisions to existing laws to such an extent that, it will be almost impossible to get a license and sell alcohol.

        this is called 'eastern cunning' here. much the way of islamists -> you
    • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:38AM (#25516475) Journal

      The modern western turkey was founded by Ataturk and is currently enforced by the military. The democracy part of Turkey ONLY exists as long as it does what the military wants and in the past the military HAS intefened several times when the elected leaders did NOT do what it wants.

      The sad and confusing thing is that from a WESTERN point of view it is the MILITARY that is right and the public/voter/elected leaders who are wrong. It is the MILITARY that wants a STRICT seperation of church and state, even going so far that Turkey is NOT an islamic nation. It has NO STATE RELIGION. There is equality, press freedom etc etc. Because the military says so.

      The voter however in recent years has been increasingly voting for religious parties. The reasons for this are complex. Part of the problem is that the current system works to well. In those cases people tend to forget what brings them their current prosperity. Turkey is doing amazingly well but it is a bit like the US where places like New York and LA are being outvoted by the people from the bible belt. So, right now the country is being torn. If the voter is allowed to elect religious leaders then that is the democracy that the EU wants in its members BUT it would also mean Turkey slides into an islamic nation the EU does NOT want on its borders. Allow the military to keep the current system and Turkey is dictatorship in all but name, something the EU could never allow a member to be.

      As for the individual Turk, well, there is of course no such thing. You might as well label all US slashdotters along with that comment in Oprah story yesterday where she was considered new age because she said there might be more then one way to heaven then through jesus. The religious right is on the rise. Turkey is struggling with its desire to be a democracy and the risk this would cause it to slide into a islamic dictatorship.

      It does raise the intresting question, if people elected their dictators, is it still a dictatorship? Make no mistake, the people who protest this bloggers ban are NOT intrested in democracy. They want to turn Turkey into an Islamic state where the islamic law rules. They just know that their best bet to get this is through the voting booth because any violent means to do this would be opposed harshly by the military.

      Westerners find this hard to understand. We are used to thinking of the military as the opressors. Not the guardians of freedom.

      • by lixee ( 863589 )
        "Equality"? "Press freedom"? Go tell that to the Kurds!
      • Make no mistake, the people who protest this bloggers ban are NOT intrested in democracy. They want to turn Turkey into an Islamic state where the islamic law rules.

        Why do you think that Islamic law contradicts democracy? A repressive, bloody tyranny-of-the-majority is still a democracy...

      • It does raise the intresting question, if people elected their dictators, is it still a dictatorship?

        You might recall that Hitler was elected by the German people. I don't think there's any question that he was still a dictator.

        • He wasn't. The elections that put Hitler in power were manipulated and crooked. If the election of hitler had been honest, could he really be called a dictator of the german people? At what point does the voter become responsible for the results of his vote?
      • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @11:56AM (#25517873) Homepage Journal
        military has never been dictatorial in turkey. in ALL the coups that have taken place in the last 40 years, military have acted to prevent country from going to an islamist or totalitarian dictatorship.

        first major coup was in 1960, against adnan menderes (who is, curiously and coincidentally, the first islamist leaning leader in turkish republic's history - the current islamist party comes from his party's roots). adnan menderes had increasingly become dictatorial in the late years of his reign -> he first censored all opposing papers, and then shut them down. then he shut down the opposition party. then his party moved to create a party organization called 'vatan cephesi' (motherland front) that you had to join. even so, they were naming people out of census registry in the radios each night, saying that these people joined the motherland front. situation was going out of hand. so, military intervened, and hanged the 3 political leaders of that party. that has set an example for all extremists in turkey -> they havent been able to find the courage to radically change the secular modern republic for 20 years.

        in 1980, things were out of hand again. extremism was abound, and extreme right and left organizations were killing each other, bystanders, anyone daily. the daily average death toll in the country was 200. yea, you heard that right, 200 people a day.

        politicians of the time were doing NOTHING. just bickering. a moderate party, an islamist party, a nationalist party, and a social democrat party. all bickering and nothing.

        things were going this way for the last 5 years. and military was warning about deteriorating security situation within the country for those last 5 years.

        all political leaders of that time were saying was 'it will be democratically solved, democracy is strong blah this bleh that'.

        nothing happened. they did nothing.

        and when in 1980, a huge throng of islamists have sat down during the national anthem and booed the national anthem in konya in 1980, declaring that they wanted an iranian style islamist government, within 2-3 weeks' time military had taken control of the country and locked up the extremist leaders, and put an interim government and called a group of experts to prepare a new constitution to prevent extremism from being able to change anything.

        1982 constituton was put to vote of the people. people were SO fed up with extremism and the chaos environment that it got a whopping 80% approval rate and was ratified. this is the constitution we have today, and this is the constitution that islamist party is trying to change so they can move ahead with islamist proceedings.

        just 1 years later, in 1983, elections were held and a technocrat, turgut ozal, a western style free market evangelist was elected with a whopping vote total. and he furthered the country until islamist elements got rise again.

        so today here we are. the islamist party is trying to get rid of the elements in constitution that prevent them from establishing islamist and pro-religion laws, saying that 'it is the will of the people' (only 38% first election, only 42% last, a lot of reactionary votes and a lot of election fraud).

        what is stupefying is that, european union SUPPORTS them. they are in the delusion that, if you let everything be in turkey, it will just become a country like belgium. but the last 40 years' history of turkey says otherwise.

        the going is not good. it is a cosmic joke that european union is supporting and harboring a party that wants to break turkey from all modern values and enlightenment ideals. leave aside being contradictory, its self damaging.
        • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @02:08PM (#25518859) Journal
          Excuse me, but doesn't what you're saying boil down to this: periodically, the people of Turkey elect leaders which campaign on a fundamentalist Islamic platform, who, once elected, start to push the country towards theocracy. At which point the Army intervenes. Which is pretty much what the GP was saying, no?
          • it wasnt at a crucial point.

            he summarized the issue correctly, but have portrayed as if the military was getting a dictator's role like as in the south american banana republics.

            military stays silent at the wake almost everything. yet, IF a situation that may develop to push the country to a theocracy occurs, it starts to intervene. if situation is averted, it falls silent.

            basically turkish army performs the function m.kemal and the first turkish assembly assigned it through initial laws in 1920s.
            • unbelievable. democracy doesnt 'just' happen. it needs to be guarded against totalitarianism. eu thinks that if you make turkey into a legal environment like belgium, it will just become a western country.

              Don't get me wrong. I do agree with you fully here - democracy is something that takes time to mature, and it is best if, while it does so, it is being guarded by some authoritarian means - so long as the latter are applied in the right direction. And this is the way I perceive the present situation in Tu

      • if people elected their dictators, is it still a dictatorship?

        Yes, like when people elected Hitler. It was a crooked election, there was a lot of political maneuvering involved, it's true, but it's still a fact that Hitler was elected, and, given the political situation in Germany at the time, he would probably be elected in an honest system as well.

        The definition of "democracy" isn't one of elected politicians only, that word has the connotation of a just and fair political system, one where the rights of

    • I was led to understand that there is strong opposition in Turkey to the government interfering in matters of religion, but perhaps that is no longer the case for whatever reason...

      For whatever reason? Have you been sleeping under a rock for the last 10 years? I guess you have, so let me get you up to speed: the majority in Turkey are conservative Muslims (of the 99.8% who are Muslim), and they can vote - and they have, indeed, voted in the traditionalist Muslim AKP that got 46.7% of the vote. The AKP had no problem forming a steamrolling government. The AKP has 340 out of 550 seats in parliament!

      So that's your "whatever reason". The AKP govt. has been dismantling the pillars of turki

    • by TheLink ( 130905 )
      Why surprised? It's practically inevitable.

      As you said: "it is predominantly Islamic"

      There is a big conflict between secularism + the near worship of Ataturk and actually following what the Koran says, based on very popular interpretations of Islam.

      The muslims in Turkey who think they can have secularism, "The Ataturk Way" etc are either ignorant about their own religion (which is very common) or in denial.

      If they really want to keep things as much as they are now, they are going to have to _actively_ work
    • first, the law requires banning of an entire site based on a single page content. it cant make the distinction.

      second, the banning are generally tied to (for now) court orders resulting from court cases. like adnan oktar's, his lawsuits are generally based on defamation charges. some other lawsuits (not oktar's) are based on copyright charges.

      so what happens is, a charge is filed in court, court decides, youtube, for example is banned. sometime passes. and that case is resolved, youtube is unbanned ag
    • by catxk ( 1086945 )
      I am not surprised, I find this rather expected. The power in Turkey seems to have misunderstood the concept of freedom of religion. It is about guaranteeing citizens the right to do what they wish concerning religion, it is not about safeguarding the citizens from religious influence. To me, the Turkish position is backwards and uneducated. What would surprise me is if they ever become accepted as an EU member, given their actions on religion (and secularism).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Its constitution even guarantees freedom of religion (and Turkey has no official state religion), and since 1924 has maintained a secular government.

      Since 1924, the educated and westernized upper classes in Turkey have maintained a secular government. But with the increasing education and prosperity of the middle classes, that is changing. Most people in Turkey want a religious government, not a secular one. There is always an assumption that education and prosperity will give rise to a decline in religion

  • Reality knocks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you have followed events in Turkey this does not come as a surprise. Let's hope they will never be allowed to join the EU.

    • Re:Reality knocks (Score:5, Insightful)

      by justleavealonemmmkay ( 1207142 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:49AM (#25516281)

      Let's hope they will never be allowed to join the EU.

      Let's hope they change their ways so that we wish them to join the EU.

      • Re:Reality knocks (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:57AM (#25516315)

        Let's hope they will never be allowed to join the EU.

        Let's hope they change their ways so that we wish them to join the EU.

        Like a German comedian of turkish descent once said:

        What are you talking about? We're already here.

  • by ionix5891 ( 1228718 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @06:56AM (#25516313)

    on this bus []

    fracking religion what good has it ever done


    • by ionix5891 ( 1228718 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:25AM (#25516415)

      btw the image is taken from this comment is free article []

      the article and the comments that followed make for an interesting sunday read

      • I followed the link you posted, those are truly interesting ideas they are raising.

        The most interesting point someone raised was this: if religion gets so many subsidies and tax breaks, shouldn't atheist organizations be entitled to the same treatment?

        • In the UK, the British Humanist Association, the Richard Dawkins Foundation and others do have charitable status; the latter also having similar status in the US. So they are indeed subject to tax breaks.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:19AM (#25516401)

    I'm from Turkey. As far as I know bans happen this way: If court decides that the content is illegal (attacking personal rights, advertising drugs etc.) they contact the owner of the site and demand the content to be removed. If the owner doesn't comply they ban the site. Previously bans happened by modifying DNS data of the de facto ISP monopoly in Turkey and redirecting sites to another page with legal information. This was easily circumvented by using another DNS. Then they started blocking IP addresses. Interesting thing is they don't block IP addresses of all banned sites. They only do this to popular sites and I believe courts are not deciding this. Someone outside courts decides that they must do IP blocking or not.
    The law which orders bans also have a precaution clause which permits getting a site banned before court decides that the content is illegal or not. Bad guys uses this legal loophole to ban web sites easily.

  • by unixmaster ( 573907 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @07:21AM (#25516409) Journal
    As a Turkey citizen all I can say is this sucks a lot, but does not surprise me a little. YouTube is banned for months and the ban won't seem to be lifted soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward


    As far i know,this has nothing to do with religious or scientific matters.

    Blogger was shut down due to copyright infrigement;Digiturk, a satellite tv provider, asked some blogs to remove their content but when this did not happen,they chose to shut down all the blogs.

    Which is admittedly an idiotic move...

    BTw,people please stop bringing up Eu at every subject about Turkey.

  • by Rumagent ( 86695 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:24AM (#25516709)

    And there are people who still argue that Turkey should be allowed to join the EU. We have enough problems as is, let us not compound them by giving (more) religious zealots power in Europe.

    • I have always been a big supporter for Turkey in the EU. Turkey's way forward is in the Union.

      However, they still have a lot of work to do, previously I thought that 2015 might be a reasonable timeframe, but this is clearly not the case.

      We are probably looking on a 2020-2030 date now (at least). But a lot can happen in that timeframe.

      I don't think I have met a single person who thinks that Turkey is eligible for joining the EU now, but the people supporting Turkey in the EU do this as a longterm goal. Becau

      • The problem with Turkey is that they're composed of a pro-Western ruling class and a pro-Islamic populace. The current state of affairs is a dictatorship on paper, but allowing more freedom would make it look more like Syria, Lebanon or Egypt. Then again, perhaps you can't impose the thirst for freedom into someone who doesn't want it.
    • We shouldn't be blaming Turkey as a whole for it, but the present-day pro-Islamic government.

      Turkey is pretty much the only Muslim-majority state which is actually a functional Western-style democracy (with its own troubles, such as ultra-nationalism, sure, but that's as close as it gets). If it falls, it will essentially mean the end of the "liberal democratic Islam" experiment. If it does not, it is something we can point at to the likes of Iran and Afghanistan as an example. I'd rather have the latter

  • First of all, no one knows why the site was banned. The article admits it's pure speculation. Secondly, if the article's hypothesis is correct then unlike what some comments are suggesting, it was not to crackdown on anti-Islamic views but the exact opposite. A prominent Muslim creationist has apparently been promoting his views on Blogger so it's been banned, like other sites he posted on before. That's the theory.

    And seriously, you're saying that Turkey shouldn't be allowed in the EU because it restricts

  • No it's not about Adnan Oktar, suprisingly. It's all about streaming soccer games and corporate stupidity. Some blogger blogs offer links to streaming media, so the corporation which has a monopoly on soccer game viewing access (yeah, bravo sierra is written all over it) gets pissed off and blocks whole nine yards of blogger. Greed is evil, wherever whenever.
  • by milo_a_wagner ( 1002274 ) <> on Sunday October 26, 2008 @08:45AM (#25516801) Homepage
    Some of us have been keeping an eye on this lunatic for some time: [] [] []

    He seems to have a stranglehold over the Turkish courts, and is gradually silencing any and all outlets of dissent under flawed defamation and libel law.

  • Reason of the ban... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:21AM (#25516977)

    The ban is not about Adnan Oktar or some religious subject but simply is about Digiturk which holds the right to broadcast the Turkish Football Super League.

    Digiturk claims that the bloggers illegally streams the matches (you have to buy a receiver and a special card in order to view the Turkish Super League) from internet via their blogs.

    Therefore they appeal to court and court bans the whole sites ending with abd Therefore the complete blogger has
    been banned.

    I admit that this is totally bullshit but not everything in Turkey is not about religion etc.

    Best regards,

    "anonymous coward".

  • by stikves ( 127823 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:53AM (#25517145) Homepage

    It's not a government ban, but actually caused vy a loophole in the law. (It has never been a government ban, nevertheless it's embarrassing).

    *Any* court can order the ban of *any* website in Turkey. It only takes a single prosecutor deeming the case worthy, and a judge accepting it.

    So for example, you can complain "google is infringing on my intellectual property", and if the prosecutor buys it, the judge can put in a preliminary motion to ban google. The ISPs can not do anything about it (except for going for an appeal).

    The related law is being questioned, and will probably be replaced soon. (Hopefully).

  • Oktar not like blogging. Oktar smash internet!
  • Why would a creationist try to have websites in the USA banned? Creationism is more popular here than anywhere else in the world! As for Moslem vs. Christian, I don't really see a whole lot of difference. Of course, Oktar might...
  • Let's not argue... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Spartz ( 1164699 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @12:42PM (#25518213) Homepage
    Let's work together instead of arguing on which country is better. The fact is, the situation sucks. Digiturk (not Oktar!) was able to get all of Blogger/Blogspot banned [] due to dated or poorly composed laws. It sucks, but it's the reality. What we need to do is spread the message, get it out in the open... A lot of media hasn't even picked up on it yet, I had to contact the media myself to get them to report on it (gave a short radio interview to radio 3FM in Holland this afternoon). Spread the news. Talk about it. Blog about it. Social bookmark it. Whatever you do. This is not just about Turkey and their laws, but the future of the internet. It cannot become acceptable that countries (or ISP's) block off parts of the internet on false pretenses. You can read the article on why exactly Blogger got banned in Turkey here: [] No more speculation.
  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @03:18PM (#25519463)

    Everyone is screaming censorship, but thats not it. They are saving themselves and the rest of the world. By Turkey not having access to blogger, all those people will no longer be made dumber by reading someones retarded online diary. The rest of the world will no longer have to be subjected to stupid blogs from Turkey.

    No one has blocked the 3 blogs on the Internet that are actually useful, the other 4 billion useless online diaries will not be noticed when they disappear by anyone other than the emo that posts to them, and possibly a other emo's that cry with them after school.

    We really do need to stop trying to shoehorn the censorship issue onto anything that we don't agree with. I can see how you might think this is censorship, but its not.

    Nothing of value was lost in this ban, move on.

  • UPDATE ON BAN (Score:5, Informative)

    by BountyX ( 1227176 ) on Sunday October 26, 2008 @09:02PM (#25522247)
    Heres the update on the situation: Itâ(TM)s now reported that it is not Oktar that got Blogger banned, but Digiturk, a subscription based digital TV platform that owns the rights to the live broadcasting of Turkish football league games. Apparently, Digiturk asked Blogger to take several blogs or blog entries down containing links to pirated transmissions of the live games. Blogger did nothing, Digiturk went to court and under Turkish intellectual property law, they managed to get Blogger banned completely, effectively banning millions of websites that have nothing to do with Turkish football or pirating. Leave it to turkey to ban an entire site becuase of soccer. *sigh

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