Monday, April 13, 2009

Banned in Turkey, Pt. III

As previously mentioned in this blog here, and here, Turkey has some very strong -- and misguided -- internet censorship law. Google's YouTube and several other prominent websites are currently blocked in Turkey, mostly for carrying material that insults Ataturk, but also for other offenses, such as showing pornography. Turkish law allows the web to be attacked from all sides: individuals and organizations can petition almost any court to have a particular website shut down if they feel it insults them or the Turkish nation in some way, while the government has an agency that monitors websites and that can shut them down without going through the courts.

Now, according to recent reports, the nationalist Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD) has asked prosecutors to look into shutting down Google Sites, a free service run by the search engine giant that allows for the creation of websites. Apparently someone over at the ADD found some websites powered by Google Sites that contain material that insults Ataturk or "Turkishness." “For this reason, we request that an investigation be launched into the issue and necessary precautions be taken,” the organization's petition to the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office says. If the prosecutor decides to go ahead and take the case to court, the Google service could very well be blocked.

Although there might be a place for some controls over the internet and what it contains, it's clear that Turkey's law, as it is currently constructed, is allowing for the country to be cut off from useful internet tools. That could ultimately affect the country's development, which certainly doesn't seem to be in line with Ataturk's vision for Turkey.

[UPDATE -- You can check out a new Freedom House report on Turkey's internet laws here.]

6 comments:

Turan Tankgirl said...

Can I promote the restoration of the eastern caliphate even if I am a kemalist ?

Yigal Schleifer said...

Please explain?

turkey-traveller said...

@ Turan Tankgirl, only if your really really confused....

@ Yigal Schleifer a kemalist is someone who upholds the ideas of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who abolished the caliphate in 1923 in favour of a secular society.

turkey-traveller said...

@ Yigal Schleifer Ha ha I just realised this your blog so I guess you knew that already my bad....

Turan Tankgirl said...

He also represents a moderate approach to Islam. "If the caliphate were restored," Zeynep said, referring to the sultan's traditional role as the leader of Sunni Muslims, "the world would be a better place."Sooner or later there will be, even in Turkey, a separation between Church and State. A carefully chosen member of the Ottoman dynasty would be a perfect caliphe of most Sunni muslims in my humble opinion.

Internation Musing said...

All those idiot laws are an insult for my intellect.)
kindest
hans