Jillian C. York

Jillian C. York is a writer and activist.

Let’s just ban the internet, k?

From the files of the absolutely ludicrous…

Turkey just blocked the official site of Richard Dawkins, a prominent evolutionist and author.  Given how frequently Turkey seems to block sites, this doesn’t seem all that ridiculous on the surface.  Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find something far more nefarious.

Turkey banned Dawkins’ site at the request of Adnan Oktar, aka Harun Yahya, aka Islam’s most prominent creationist.  Oktar, incidentally, is also a sex offender, prosecuted in May and sentenced to three years in prison (he has appealed and has not yet been incarcerated).

What seems like a case of Turkey kowtowing to a religious nut gets even worse when you look at Oktar’s history with censorship.  In August 2007, Oktar managed to get WordPress.com banned in Turkey after finding WordPress blogs that contained insults directed at him (that blocking was later overturned), and later successfully got Google Groups blocked (the filter remains on one Turkish ISP).

Something’s fishy in Turkey.  Why is it that Oktar can say whatever wacky anti-science bull he wants, but the second someone insults him he’s against freedom of speech?  And why is the Turkish government so complicit in this?

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  1. Why is it that Oktar can say whatever wacky anti-science bull he wants, but the second someone insults him he’s against freedom of speech?

    Maybe because he has the right contacts, paid up with the right people! Doesn’t seem like anything else might be at play for this heavy bias in his favour!

  2. The whole situation is ridiculous. What annoys me about this debate is that it quickly turns to an informed attack on the current AK party government.

    I had written about this previously when WordPress was blocked – Turkey, WordPress and a little bit of honesty, please

  3. Heh, I hadn’t known of this which reminds me of the 1994-ish argument of the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, American Library Association, and other groups against the U.S. Congress leading to the Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of the Communications Decency Act, which thankfully was rejected.

    Thanks for writing about Turkey’s problems, Jillian.

  4. My Turkish friends just came back from getting married and they said that on tv beer bottles and cigarettes are blurred out. Quite a change from when he was growing up in the 70s and 80s and could not watch tv because they showed porn on it. That is the most remarkable aspect–how quickly things have changed.

    On another subject, I would like to invite your readers that are familiar with the Blogoma to participate in my survey. The links to it can be found on my website: http://blogomaresearch.blogspot.com/

    Thanks in advance to those who participate! The survey is also available in French.

  5. @Mohamed – Thanks for that link; it’s absolutely not about Turkey’s politics, it’s the fact that they haven’t bothered to create specific Internet-related laws and are thus relying on an ancient press code to deal with these issues. A friend pointed out that most Turks consider Oktar a bit of a nutjob as well.

  6. Next time you’ll write about the Turkish soap opera craze in the Arab world. Won’t you, Jill?


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