"The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it."
~ John Gilmore.
~ John Gilmore.
From the Censorship Department.
Ozgur Gundem has been shut down for one month by the Turkish government:
Gundem newspaper closed for one month.
Our newspaper has been shut down for one month by 13 Felony Court from today and on because of the news published between 4 to 7 March. As employees we are condemning the shut down punishment and we are calling all people to be sensitive to this.
When Ozgur Gundem refers to "news published between 4 to 7 March" it means it is being punished for publishing news of Ocalan's poisoning and the Kurdish reaction to it. This also means that Ozgur Gundem will be shut down during Newroz.
Interesting that there were a few non-Kurd related blogs talking about Ahmet Turk's latest sentence for referring to Apo as "Sayin" or "Mister" Ocalan.
From No Right Turn:
No matter what you think of Ocalan or his cause, this is ridiculous. Calling someone "Mr" - or conversely, failing to insult them every time you mention them - should not be any sort of crime. If Turkish law allows this, then the law has to go.
Brian at Primordial Blog likens the Turkish sentencing to a Monty Python flick:
It reminds me of the old Monty Python routine from the Life of Brian. Prosecutor: He is guilty of saying "Mr. Ocalan" - Whack! (rock hits him in the head). No, I didn't say Mr. I was just telling you that he said Mr. - Whack! Whack!
At A Stitch In Haste, the question goes to free expression rights and the EU:
MY TAKE: Making it a crime to respectfully call a colleague "Mister"? Remind me again how Turkey is less Islamofascist than Saudi Arabia? In any case, a while back many noted the irony that in France it is a crime to deny the Armenian Massacre while in Turkey it's a crime to acknowledge it. And these two nations hope to share a common membership in the European Union, complete with common principles of criminal law — and expressive freedom? Yeah right, good luck with that.
Okay, technically, this isn't an Islamofascist thing; it's just your plain, garden variety fascist thing. Secular Blasphemy touches on Turkey's "democratic ideas":
Those who had doubts about Turkey's commitments to democratic ideas just had them strengthened. [ . . . ] Turkey also bans the distribution of political material in any other language than Turkish. Kurdish political writings are banned by default.
From Graham's Grumbles:
Apparently its a crime to have respect for a Kurdish freedom fighter in Turkey. I don’t remember this happening anywhere else, but then, the way things are going in Britain, it might not be longer before we’re faced with such bizarre and draconian rules too.
Oh, yeah, baby: Britain's almost there, all right. From Blue Collar Heresy:
Is this really a country the EU wants on it’s members roll? [ . . . ] Welcome to Turkish democracy…
A Scottish blog takes the wider perspective:
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford reported that more than 50 DTP members of the pro-Kurdish DTP have been arrested and at least seven senior officials charged in under a fortnight.
DTP officials argue there is a sustained campaign of harassment and that the authorities are trying to close the party down before a general election later this year.
The party is viewed by Turkish nationalists as closely tied to the Kurdish separatist cause. DTP leaders say they want an end to violent conflict and support a united Turkey.
We cant shake of the feeling that Turkey is not yet quite ready for EU membership.
And with that, welcome to our world!
A report from the AP, carried on IHT mentions harassment of DTP as well:
The Democratic Society Party was founded in 2005 by a group of Kurdish activists, several of whom had spent a decade or more in prison. Its members are frequently put on trial and the government regularly accuses them of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.
The party has no representation in the 550-member Turkish parliament, but dozens of mayors in the Kurdish-majority southeast are members.
[ . . . ]
Former parliament member and current DTP member Sedat Yurttas said both convictions would be appealed, and that Turk would not go immediately to prison. He said the party had come under intense pressure lately, with frequent trials and police raids on party offices.
That "intense pressure" began last year during the Amed Serhildan and it's certainly connected to this year's elections, along with a refusal by Turkish parties to lower the ridiculous 10% threshold and the monkey games played by AKP with independent candidate laws.
The second item from the Censorship Department was brought to my attention by Samarkeolog, who has a pretty complete wrap-up of Youtube's banning by a Turkish court, so give it a browse if you want links.
This censorship ruling comes down because those darned Greeks were calling Ataturk a homosexual or something, which, in turn, caused Turkish users of Youtube to reply that Greece was the birthplace of homosexuality. Well, okay, Ataturk was born there, so maybe they have a point, but generally, Turks are very sensitive about this kind of thing, or of referring to Zubeyde Hanim as wearing combat boots, or whatever.
See, in Turkey, you can't refer to Ocalan as "Mister," nor can you call Ataturk "gay." Both are big no-nos.
It didn't matter that Youtube removed the videos which purported to prove Ataturk's sexual proclivities, the Ankara regime is determined to show them what happens to those who are impertinent enough to be the vehicle of such an outrageous insult to Turkishness. Next thing you know, they'll trot out good old Article 301, ready to slap it on any Youtube employee who dares to set foot within the "territorial integrity" of the heart of Greater Turan.
Of course, as we all know, it's not possible for a Kurd to upload any video to Youtube without drawing a blue streak of Turkish invective, one after the other, in the comments section to whatever Kurdish video there happens to be. Or we have the case of Turkish hackers going through Youtube's site, deleting Kurdish accounts and deleting Kurdish videos. I'm guessing that these are the same noble defenders of Ataturk's virginity, who are upset with the Greeks.
Looking on the bright side, perhaps now peace and calm will prevail at Youtube, sans pesky ethnic Turk adolescents based within the TC.
According to a Reuters report on Yahoo, there's some noise about the ban being lifted but no specifics as to when. Australia's The Age has an interview with one of the founders of the Internet, who weighs in on the topic of Internet censorship:
As a firm believer in the freedom of speech, he said he was opposed to the idea of tighter government regulation or censorship of web-based video content.
"Any time you seek censorship you introduce a very slippery slope because then it becomes a case of who decides what's acceptable and what isn't and how far do you go in this and does it become political and does it become religious, does it become mere opinion or ... ideology," he said. And is that the kind of society we want to live in?
No, but that's the kind of society that, in Turkey's case, is normal and it seems like it's getting to be the same way everywhere else.
Lastly, but not least, the Human Rights Association (IHD), Organization for Human Rights & Solidarity for Oppressed People (MAZLUMDER), and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) have issued a press release calling for an investigation of Ocalan's health conditions by an impartial, independent team of medical experts:
As human rights defenders, we underline that human rights should be provided for everyone under any circumstances. Rights of life and health are the basic human rights. The recent claims regarding with Ocalan s health condition is related with right of life/health and an important issue that might cause serious social-political incidents in society.
It is definite that issue is highly important and urgent one. It is necessary that claims should be investigated in a serious manner by State s all institutions particularly the Government. The public should be informed about this issue as soon as possible. Regarding with this issue; an independent, impartial committee, which will carry out investigations and explain its results to the public should be composed.
According to Turkish media, Ocalan's lawyers are now under investigation for the poisoning claims, but if the Ankara regime were innocent, it would have immediately called for an independent medical team from an international human rights organization, to conduct a new hair sample analysis and compare it with the original analysis and they would make the results public.
Put up or shut up.