WP blocked in Turkey

Tuesday, August 21, 2007 at 22:06 | Posted in Bloggers' rights, Blogosphere, censorship, WordPress | 1 Comment
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This post can not be seen in Turkey at the moment, nor any other post published at WordPress.com. Matt publishes a letter he received from two lawyers in Istanbul, Kerim Kalkan and Ceyhun Gökdoğan, representing islam creationist and holocaust denier Adnan Oktar. The lawyers write that all of WordPress.com has been blocked in Turkey by order of Gaziosmanpasa Civil Court of First Instance.

The reason of the measure seems to be this blog and others allegedly created at WordPress.com and elsewhere by Edip Yuksel. The lawyers claim that they contacted WordPress.com on several occasions before seeking the court order:

We have applied to you to remove the unlawful statements regarding my client Mr. Adnan Oktar (who is the author of the books written under the pen name Harun Yahya) in your blogs. The number of our attempts to inform and warn you regarding these defamation blogs must have been at least twenty, many times through your support page, a couple of times to your legal department and we even sent a regular mail to Mr. Matt Mullenweg. Most of our attempts were unanswered.

Since I do not understand a word of Turkish I am in no position to judge whether or not the targeted blog (or this one or this one for that matter) are defamatory or not as the lawyers suggest. The little I have learned about the ideas of their client Mr. Adnan Oktar does not motivate holding a high opinion about him. In fact, I find his ideas most disgusting.

Defamatory or not, blocking a large blogging platform because of a handful of blogs is out of every proportion. This incident reminds me of the Indian government’s ill-adviced operation last year to censor all blogs hosted by Blogspot.com. A number of tools and proxy servers were set up to provide access to the blogs.

Since WordPress.com is far from the only, albeit a very large, free blogging platform in the World, this attempt of censorship is a failure from the very beginning. Trying to shut up a million plus bloggers does certainly not promote Turkey’s bid to integrate with EU. Not that I would have given it much hope anyway.

Edit: The lawyers finish their letter to Matt as follows:

WE DEMAND YOU TO REMOVE AND PROHIBIT ANY BLOGS IN YOUR SITE THAT CONTAIN MY CLIENT’S NAME ADNAN OKTAR OR HIS PEN NAME HARUN YAHYA OR VARIOUS COMBINATION OF THESE 4 NAMES.

Gosh, do they not know that screaming is extremely impolite? I guess that makes this blog their target as well. I am going to write about Adnan Oktar whatever I like although I am not in the least interested in him. And I am certainly going to oppose any demands to close my blog.

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