Why We’re Blocked in Turkey: Adnan Oktar

There’s been quite a discussion going on in my personal blog about the fact that all of WordPress.com has been blocked by Turkey.

Lots of people, including us, are confused and indignant about this wholesale censorship. Last night we received a letter from the person claiming to be responsible for the block, which in the interest of the community I’m going to publish in its entirety here:

Dear Sir,

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.

These defamation blogs contained slanders to some of my client’s friends as well. They also applied WordPress.com support with their official ID cards and a representative directed them to write to the legal department. So they did but again no response from legal.

So we have become obliged to apply to Turkish judicial courts to stop this defamation executed through your services. By the decision of Fatih 2nd Civil Court of First Instance, number 2007/195, access to WordPress.com has been blocked in Turkey.

The organization, which is led by Edip Yuksel, responsible for these defamation blogs in question are currently up for crimes such as “building an organization to commit crime” in Turkey. The sites of Edip Yuksel, http://www.yahyaharun.com, http://www.19.org, http://www.calinmisgenclik.com and also the blog under your site with the user name http://adnanoktar.wordpress.com have been blocked by Turkish judicial courts in Turkey before(by Gaziosmanpasa Civil Court of First Instance, dated 06.04.2007 and decision number 2007/130 D. Is) . We have also sent you the official documents on this judicial decision in one of our applications to you.

Since Edip Yuksel and his crime organization could easily start new blogs in your site, they had even launched a campaign in opening defamation blogs regarding my client and had explicitly expressed this organized endeavor in his defamation blogs:

“In order to make people hear our voice, let everyone start new blogs from websites such as http://blogcu.com or http://wordpress.com and let them copy the posts on those blogs and paste them to their own. You can start several at once, if possible. Please remember that the name you will give to the blogs, should be related to Adnan Oktar or Harun Yahya in order to find them quickly through Google search. If the names are already taken, you can solve this problem by using characters such as “_” (Adnan_Oktar) or numbers such as AdnanOktar100, Adnan_Oktar_50.”

The aim of all of these blogs that he and his organization starts, was to insult my client. All of them were completely full of slanderous statements. There are still some sites left open -not accessible from Turkey, but still accessible abroad – :

http://adnanoktar.wordpress.com

http://adnanoktarveislam.wordpress.com/

http://fitikado.wordpress.com

http://oktarbabuna.wordpress.com

http://adnancilar.wordpress.com/

http://adnanoktarveislam.wordpress.com/

http://whoisharunyahya.wordpress.com/

http://adnanoktargercekleri.wordpress.com/

http://quiestharunyahya.wordpress.com/

http://harunyahyaarabic.wordpress.com/

http://safsataciharunyahya.wordpress.com/

http://savsatalaracevap.wordpress.com/

The below are taken but still empty:

http://adnanzedeler.wordpress.com/

http://kodadiabi.wordpress.com/

As we have requested before:

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.

Yours sincerely,

Attorneys of Mr. Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya)
Atty. Kerim Kalkan / Atty. Ceyhun Gökdoğan (Istanbul Barr register number:
27405)

Address: Darulaceze caddesi, Bilal Is Merkezi, A Blok, D:5. Okmeydani Sisli
Istanbul
Telephone: 90 212 220 31 20
Fax: 90 212 220 74 21
E-mail: rotahukuk@rotahukuk.com
ceyhungokdogan@istanbulbarosu.org.tr

So there you have it.

I’m curious, particularly amoung our Turkish community, what do you think we should do about this? How should we respond?

Update: I have some new info from the offending lawyers on my blog.


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Matt

392 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. salamandrine

    that’s why this: http://irrepressible.info/

    exists

    freedom of speech is a right!

  2. patlican

    Oh I am sorry.I want to add something to my post.

    Don’t worry about banning wordpress.
    Because everyone start learn how to pass this blocking by using Treewalks. :)

    Please DON’T banned sites about Adnan Oktar.
    We want to see wordpress community’s support on our “Freedom of thought Struggle”

    As you know Turkey is the most modern Muslim (%99) country in the world.

    Please help us to overcome these taboo’s on freedom of thought!
    Please help us to show other undemocratic, undeveloped Muslim countries “ freedom of thought” can be live with Islamic values.
    Please Help us before it’s too late!

  3. Pingback: Harun Yahya Strikes Back? « RosenQueen Company
  4. Andhika Nugraha

    “In order to make people hear our voice, let everyone start new blogs from websites such as http://blogcu.com or http://wordpress.com and let them copy the posts on those blogs and paste them to their own. You can start several at once, if possible. Please remember that the name you will give to the blogs, should be related to Adnan Oktar or Harun Yahya in order to find them quickly through Google search. If the names are already taken, you can solve this problem by using characters such as “_” (Adnan_Oktar) or numbers such as AdnanOktar100, Adnan_Oktar_50.”

    I agree with Catholic Writer, that paragraph sounds like an invitation for people to make splogs, and that violates the ToS, does it not?

    CMIIW.

  5. Pingback: wordpress, firewall, block, site kapanma, adnan hoca | 6 Patlar Teknoloji
  6. Pethdan

    What a dangerous man !!
    First of all every word he says is completely iniquitous !! Have you seen his shit website ??? Just lies, spirit manipulation and… SELF WORSHIP !!!

    And what’s more, such a mad extremist has the power on Turkish government !!!

    Where goes the world ??

  7. Budi Rahardjo

    I’ll say this again (one more time), just to get it clear. (I’ve reread the note again. Please do so.) I thought the problem is using the NAME (ie. NAME.wordpress.com where NAME is variation of “Adnan Oktar”), not the content. That is, I can write anything about Adnan Oktar as long as I use my own (blog)name. I guess it is more into the domain name issues. Again, not the content.

    Technically, it would be difficult to do what they want automatically. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t do that. It should be a reactive and manual process. That is, you should receive the request first, investigate, then process (either close to blog or leave it open). Just because they are Turkish, you should ignore them. Treat everybody with respect, please.

    (I am not a lawyer, but I think there’s only limitation/restriction of using/abusing US president’s names in the US. But blog is a global one, isn’t it? So which law to choose?)

    Note: Although I am a Muslim (my religion is Islam), I am not a proponent or opponent of Adnan Oktar. So there you go. Also, there’s a misconception that Islam does not allow different opinions on many things. On the contrary, we debate constantly. As for creationist, there’s a lot of non-Muslim scientists in US that support the view.

    Me? I just want to blog … I hope you guys can solve this in an elegant manner. Good luck! Give us a shout if you need more help (ideas, support, etc.).

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  10. patlican

    Last thing that I want to say to Matt and Word Press community;

    If WordPress prohibits blogs about Adnan Oktar , then you will be the partner of his censorships.

    If his lawyer thinks that all of this blogs are illegal, then you have to suggest him and his lawyer to apply judicial courts in your counrty or European Court of Human Rights.

    His power enough only on judicial courts in third world countries, like our my counrty, Turkey.

    Matt don’t do anything about this censorship.

    Only wait.
    As you see he can’t do anything about these blogs.
    Also he knows this. Because of this he tried to solve this problem with contact directly to worldpress.
    He can’t do anything from now one.

  11. Emanuele Cipolla

    There’s no need to remove anything.
    Long live open proxies.

  12. Bug Girl

    I think that the creationist aspect is resonating with the many science bloggers here at wordpress, which is why it keeps coming up

    Perhaps the EFF would be willing to help wordpress with the legal stuff?

    I don’t think anything should be removed, and I definitely think alerting the EU would be useful. Blocking an entire domain because of one loony is just….loony.

  13. Keith

    Edezu:
    I served in liaison capacity with NATO HQ LSE in Izmir, Turkey, (4.5 years) and this circumstance or person (and his lawyers) does not represent the people of the Republic of Turkey – unless they have changed greatly since 1990 when I left there to be assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona (and subsequently shipped to the Middle East to participate in Operations Desert Storm/Sword/Calm).
    Thanks for the information concerning this. My capability of speaking Turkish was basic and could not read the sites listed, except making out a word or two.
    While living there among the people of Turkey I have had the pleasure to befriend folks at the local museum, an archaeologist working on a temple site in Izmir (Smyrna), an educated friend by the name of Mustafa (who served in the Turkish army during the Korean War as part of the NATO alliance), who spent many hours at my apartment discussing philosophy and other topics of interest. In my opinion, Turkey should be a prime role model for the Middle Eastern nations in efforts of balancing democracy with the religion of Islam. The people of Turkey have had a bumpy road since the days of Ataturk, the first president of Turkey (looked upon as we do George Washington) and continue their efforts to become part of the European Union and not just the geographical “gateway between the East and the West”. The history of Turkey/Anatolia is rich and extremely ancient – including a site that is considered the oldest village of civilization that dates to about 35,000 years ago, et cetera.
    Apparently this person and his lawyers believe that because someone disagrees with them or even questions their authority and/or sources of information and conjecture that it constitutes “defamation” … and there are people like this everywhere, even in the United States.
    Thanks again, Edezu for your enlightening comments. I agree with another commentator that if a blog breaks the rules of WordPress that is one thing, but the opinion from just one blogger is not substantial enough to cause blocking, officially or non-officially, in any circumstance where freedom of speech is expressed. However, if one believes all or in part concerning the Darwinian Theory, it is sad that people cannot discuss such things intellectually and without malice towards those who disagree; and one must also note that freedom of speech does not give anyone the right to be incorrect or spread false “truths” be it under the name of religion or whatever ideology it represents.

  14. Pingback: mediawatchwatch.org.uk » Wordpress blocked in Turkey - creationist responsible
  15. Baroness Tapuzina

    Under no cirmcumstance should you do anything other than ask the Turkish government to drop this ridiculous block (but more politely than I just wrote it ;-). This man is a holocaust denier and a religious zealot, and should not have the power to shut down WordPress.

  16. Brendan

    Normally I would say to make them contact the owners of the blogs, but this is different. As far as I’m concerned, every blog made like that is spam. To simply multiply posts made on one blog by making possibly hundreds of others is a misuse of the service provided by wordpress.com, and to be honest, it can’t be good for your servers. So I say just delete all the blogs that are simply a copy of the original, and tell Mr. Oktar’s attorneys to contact Turkey’s government and remove the block. If they find it absolutely necessary, put a block on the original blog. Myself, I believe in free speech. I think that Oktar should just press charges of slander against the owner of the original blog.

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  19. danalingga

    Oh man what a pity, cos we just do blog. ;)

  20. thedarwinexception

    edezu wrote:
    “Adnan Oktar is a religious zealot who launched a campaign against the Darwinian theory of evolution, maybe a decade ago.”

    Well, crap, I guess I’m blocked in Turkey then, too.

    I would not shut down *any* blog simply for “insulting” someone. Every blog on WordPress could be said to be insulting to someone, or someone’s beliefs. As long as blogs comply with the terms of service of the host, to shut down anyone at the behest of someone else simply because they do not subscribe to the bloggist’s views is dangerous, and borders on censorship. There are laws in the US that protect free speech for a reason. Everyones view is valid, whether or not eveyone else agrees with it.

    And since I can google this person’s name and come up with thousands of hits, I suppose their next step will be to ban google in Turkey, then ban all private ISP’s who host pages or blogs dedicated to differing views on this person, then Wiki will be next, since there’s a page there, and can usenet be far behind?…..Where does it stop? Soon the internet in Turkey will be nothing but Disney pages and pr0n sites.

    Kim

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  22. suhang

    Also writing from Turkey.

    Adnan Oktar is a person who used religion as means of gaining personal advantage. He has gathered groups which were mainly consisting young and rich boys and they were provided with models and all other sexually crooked relations. He was sentenced for his abuse.

    Now he is trying to gain power in Europe with his books. Infact, he has gained an important foothold in France and Germany already. His, so named, books that combine science and religion are freely distributed in schools. He even featured in the Economist as a threat. The reason his lawyer is pushing with these censorship issues is that he wants to clear his image now. Otherwise when there truths come out, he will be unreliable as he has always been in reality.

    His lawyer has done the same in the biggest democratic internet platform in Turkey, namely Eksi Sozluk. Eksi Sozluk was shut down without any prior warning and later on the ruling was reversed.

    There are liars and abusers like him and there always will be. The gaps in the Turkish laws regarding Internet privacy is still extremely open to abuses like this. Unfortunately there are righteous people who are being silenced. However Internet is a limitless space. The more they try to block it, the more people will react and the harder people will tell the truth about his real self.

  23. Lady

    It doesn’t seem to really be so important that they block WordPress, because all the people are going to do is get on MySpace or BlogSpot or anyplace like that and do the exact same thing. Is the Turkish government going to block all of these sites if that is the case?

    And on top of that, the guys behind the slander can always just waste a couple of bucks and keep on buying domains to piss them off even more. Then they’ll just have to keep going to court, blocking sites, and it’ll get way out of hand.

    They should have stopped and thought about this from a different point-of-view. Why not press the courts and sue that man (or organization) for damages to the name and possible damage to book sales. That would have made more sense.

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  26. semams

    Adnan Oktar is a political figure and as such he is prone to criticism like any other politician
    (there is an incredible amount of negative publicity around George Bush); the fact that he is not accepting any shows us his ego.

  27. cuestionarte

    People only have the power you give them – if the response is a total ban, it is in the end because they do not have the imagination to think of a better way of dealing with what is, in fact, their problem. As the saying goes, if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. Ignore them.

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  31. lunartalks

    Your tormentor (or one of his acolytes) has his own WordPress blog puffing his crapfestuous Atlas of Creation.

    http://atlasofcreation.wordpress.com/2007/08/13/the-truth-that-fossils-reveal-about-living-things-creation/

    Very civil of you to leave it there, given Mr Oktar’s snittiness. My email’s on the way to the Turkish Embassy in London.

  32. doganbey

    I am from Turkey. I accessed the blocked WordPress by using an online proxy server (http://proxytr.com). I wanted to access my blog hosted on WordPress and found this smart way. I don’t know if I violate legislation by doing this, but I am happy to read the comments and people’s reaction to the ban.

    Many people believe it is against freedom of expression. However, there is an ironic fact that the court has ruled to ban access to WordPress to protect Adnan Oktar’s (Harun Yahya) interest, not to ban anybody’s right to express self. Adnan Oktar violates Turkish law by engaging into criminal act and establishing religious sacts that are considered to be a threat on general public. It is not the Turkish judiciary which wanted to turn Oktar’s voice down. Actually it is Oktar’s attorney who passed a decision from the court to ban WordPress to turn the the protestors’ voice down.

    It is interesting to know that any individual has such a power to issue jurisdiction that affect’s the interest of other millions of people. This means, if I don’t like a web site, I can post nasty messages under different accounts/names and ask the court to ban it for that reason. This way I can even affect the business of many Turkish blogging and community web sites. How funny.

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  34. Daniel Trezub

    Is it legal to void million’s right just in benefit of one individual? Man, lawyers sux…

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  37. axewielderx

    I thought this was rather clear to me. This is america… you know the rest.

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  40. Louisa

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you so much for supplying us with this information. My friend has a WordPress blog that he writes from Albania (at the moment) and they also get access through Turkey. As you can imagine it is extremely frustrating for him not to be able to post at the moment and he has asked me to make this comment here on his behalf.

    His link is Passport Thrasher. We all hope that this gets resolved as soon as possible! Here is a link to the post he did about not being able to access WordPress at all: I am denied.

    Please keep us updated…
    Thank you.

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  42. panderson1979

    As a few other people have mentioned, EU membership is the key lever.

    You don’t want to get bogged down in fighting a judicial case in Turkey, nor in the European Court of Human Rights.

    HOWEVER…

    Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe, and a full signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. This action is drastic overkill, even assuming that the content of the named blogs was indeed libelous (which has not been proven in any court of law). As such, the actions of the Turkish courts are in violation of Article 10 of the Convention, and so Turkey could find the decision overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.

    Perhaps a letter, from your legal department, to Oktar’s lawyers AND the Turkish government, pointing out that this is in violation of the Convention Rights. Since adherence to the Convention is the yardstick by which all candidates for membership of the EU are judged, and since Turkey are desperate to become EU members, this might provide the leverage to get the ban lifted.

  43. Pingback: Turkish Court Censors 1 Million+ Blogs « Nate Nelson
  44. Kopral Geddoe

    Defamation is another story, but for anyone to block the entire WordPress.com, that’s just something that cannot be justified whatsoever.

    And yes, whether he’s a creationist isn’t really relevant. What matters is that he’s not open for criticism. If Attaturk was still alive, perhaps he would smack this cult leader’s head very hard. That’s plain arrogance.

    Though, I *do* recommend cautious approach.

    Good luck.

  45. Koen

    The prophet always said: tell the truth, even if it’s bitter.
    Do we believe in science? Spread it. Do we believe in freedom of expression? Defend it.
    Just stand on your principles.

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  47. The Canadian Cinephile

    There goes my target audience.

  48. rugosa

    Hi!
    I’d like to congratulate edezu about his post. That’s so unbelievable that Turkey court would decide to ban a site due to the fact that people want to use their right for free speech about a person who actually has a critical position in the world. I think this ban has a hidden goal as to advertise more about the concerned person! I really don’t see any reason why the blogs should be blocked. Where has the freedom of speech gone?

  49. pasobordo

    here is my comments, (i know turkish) adnan oktar – besides publishing anti-evolutionary books- also runs a religious sect and commands a circle in the rich parts of Turkey. – it really resembles scientology in this view.. adnanoktar.wordpress.com is taken and operated by the opposite group, who declare themselves as former members of his sect, with the aim of “revealing” some facts about his past and organization. this “revealings” made you receive that letter from his lawyers.

    I am not a lawyer but as far as I know, when a lawyer applies to a Turkish court pertaining to a publication that is believed to contain an insult to his & her client, court may decide to “stop” that publication. In the old days you just sent police forces to collect the books from the stores, but how would you do that in the digital world? By blocking it. This could be the reason behind the scene.

    Similar situation happened to youtube in Turkey, it has been blocked several times for hosting allegedly “harmful” videos. (It is amazing that some lawmakers might be thinking in Turkey that they are pushing websites to a point -by closing them- where it is hoped they will lose their customers!)

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  51. Nita

    Personally I feel that if anyone writes lies, he should be reprimanded, but certainly the blog should not be banned. But I guess its not a practical idea to do this. How is it possible to monitor all blogs? But perhaps you can give out guidelines to tell people not to tell lies about other people…ofcourse I am not talking of this particular case because I don’t know anything about it.

    Very important – do you guys know that WordPress is not easily accessible in China? I know for certain because I have regular reader from there and he told me its very difficult to get through to wordpress as its blocked on public computers, cyber cafes etc. Also in certain cities.

  52. qodam

    Anna Mikkola
    August 20th, 2007 at 8:21 am Whether the guy is a creationist or not isn’t really relevant, I think. I think the point is if someone wants to publically say his ideas suck, they should be free to do so. I think there’s a larger crisis about freedom of expression, democracy, modernisation and religion in Turkey, and see no reason why wordpress should really say anything to it. WordPress is really not part of the problem, as some would obviously have it, and I think it would be foolish to get mixed in this and in a way admit to being just that.

    The only thing I wonder about is the blog http://adnanoktar.wordpress.com. I can’t read Turkish, so I can’t say what’s going on, but isn’t someone there basically blogging in
    someone else’s name?

    If so, then that is a problem.

    ————————————————–

    Pity to those who are not gentle enough to use their own name as their flag to practice freedom of speech as their movement.

    how would you react, if you do something that part of community agree with and part don’t. problem was, those who didnt like what you’re doing, against your action by raping your name instead of using their own name to fight against! if they believe in freedom of speech, they should use their own IDs, not doing silly things under other’s name!

    if you dont like a person, so hate him. but be brave to admit if he was telling the truth.. admit what he was saying as a truth!

  53. Pingback: Turkish creationist in ‘is a twat’ non-shocker « Back off, man; I’m a scientist.
  54. KJS

    This is a bit OT, but technically his opponents would be engaging in “libel”, as they are written words. Slander usually refers to spoken attacks, at least in English/American law. Maybe Turkish law uses different terms.

    Armchair lawyering aside, that is messed up. Keep fighting the good fight and don’t back down. Guess he’s a bit cranky about the whole fact that our government doesn’t force us to censor speech that offends his delicate sensibilities, as long as it doesn’t advocate violence.

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  56. ibrahimdemir

    Hi Matt;

    Here a question comes to you. This letter claims that you did not care what was reported to you. But as a wordpress user whenever I use support forum I get an ansewer. So it is hard to believe that you did not respond. So can you tell us if you got a report about that site and you did not care?

    Your

  57. pentacle

    Hello people,

    I’m living in Turkey and this domain is available using different methods like proxies or opendns etc.

    In order to remove the ban, I think the government wants blogs to be made unavailable globally. It’s very ridiculous and the lawyer contacting wordpress.com has a client that uses silly statements to change people’s mind about things like evolution.

    WordPress.com shouldn’t even take them serious. It’s important for Turkish community. Because if it would be successful to remove the blogs, this thing will end up with more people going court for this kind of things.

    Please don’t forget the decision made here will effect Turkish people’s freedom in internet.

    Please understand these blogs are only freedom of speech.

    Regards.

  58. Pingback: BEN GEÇERKEN… [A Blog by İbrahim DEMİR ] CEVABI KİM BİLİYOR? «
  59. sutterkane

    As a Turk, I know that Turkish laws are very backwards when it comes to Internet usage. People like Harun Yahya, which is a very dangerous cult leader ( proven schizophrenic by mental reports ) possessing crap load of money and power in Turkey. He can go buy a so called ” IT expert “, bring him in front of the court, deceive the judge and get the whole domain blocked . There is nothing to stop it, but to duplicate; mirror and publish the blocked content in every possible corner of Internet.

    Don’t remove the blogs, make us proud.

  60. perplexityshe

    Many famous people are written of in a negative way on the Internet. Even if one can feel that there is a difference between an expression of thoughts and just straight slander. Censorship is wrong to my opinion unless it’s things such as child pornography, terrorism, rape, etc, in that class. But if they ask for it why not include the name in a word filter (name filer)? It seems to be the proper procedure.

    My quarter/ Lola.

  61. Saldıray

    Hi Matt,
    I plead you not to remove the blogs that criticize Adnan Oktar. If you suspend these blogs, you will have made a business decision. But if you stand up to these ludicrous claims, maybe, just maybe there will be enough popular dissent in Turkey and something might change for the better.

    And if even for a second you think that this Adnan Oktar guy might have a point, just think… There a millions of blogs on wordpress, and this is the only guy that felt threatened enough to try to shut down access to the site. Something smells fishy there.

    By the way, Adnan Oktar is a known anti-semite cult leader. It is sad that he seeks to block the very freedom of speech that has kept him out of jail.

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  63. plnelson

    Above, somone said – “I would say that the right to free speech does not constitute the right to defame another person, or to tarnish his or her reputation… ”

    Whether it’s slander or libel, or just the expression of free speech is not a matter for WordPress to decide. WordPress is just a medium; it’s not their job to judge or censor the content of blogs that use their technology. If the Turkish government has a problem with some bloggers they can sue those individual bloggers.

    Censoring WordPress makes no sense anyway because there are a ZILLION hosting companies out there that these bloggers could put their messages on. I agree with others that this action should be publicized as broadly as possible. WRT to Turkey’s EU membership – that’s been in doubt for awhile now so it’s not clear whether this will have much further impact.

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  66. legoless

    is that bad? :???:

  67. rod.

    Are they going to block Google cached pages too? If they are not, then good luck to them.

    There’s always a loophole that can be exploited..

  68. Ryan Deschamps

    I basically back the TOS ideas. The googled results for the name did seem to suggest that someone was out there accusing this guy of sexual misconduct which could constitute libel and could be worth a block via TOS rules (you don’t let folks say falsehoods about people do you?)

    Otherwise, let them block away. It’s a shame, but there’s nothing you can do about it really. You could look to see if there is an international free-speech advocacy agency willing to take up your cause in Turkey though. I imagine that you don’t want to spend lots of lawyer fees yourself trying to challenge this ruling.

  69. Michel

    Interesting…

    So Turkey blocks WordPress.com while my blog was investigated by the Bulgarian police (and Bulgaria is even a member of the European Union)?

    Are the Balkan Peninsula countries going back in time (Bulgaria, Turkey), while the rest of Europe is heading forward?… Hmmm…
    :-/

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  74. mani

    Well Matt, I am an Iranian and Internet Censorship is much worse than Turkey here.

    First of all, I must describe the method of Censorship here.

    There is a Black List full of forbidden sites URLs and a robot who crawls the web and block new sites based on keywords or links. It’s true! even linking to a blocked site causes a website to get blacklisted.

    http://fa.wordpress.com & http://themes.wordpress.net are both blocked inside Iran because of the silly algorithm!

    I do encourage you not to block any site on WordPress.com based on such emails or requests. blogs are now the cutting-edges of the freedom of speech movement in the world.

    I face to Internet Censorship everyday. It’s an awful feeling.

    Please do not help them extend the censorship. Please resist on your users’ “Freedom of Speech” rights.

    PS. I know such resistance causes a lot of problem for Turkish people.

  75. salahudin

    I say you should respond by encouraging more Turkish people to join wordpress.com!

    Getting THEIR dissident opinions on wordpress will help aid liberalization and encourage pluralism in the political sphere which currently seems to be dominated by intolerant PRICKS in Turkey!

  76. overwhelm4ever

    Hi Matt,

    I am Turkish . I head wordpress’s name with this event, I just came and opened and account. I wanted to warn you about some stuff.
    It looks like you guys dont have the full perspective here.

    First things first, you should know by now, you are dealing with a religious evil mastermind, who knows every single gap in Turkish law, has a lot of money and a big attitude. He is just like it is in films. He is living in his hyper-lux house just like a lord, trying to spread his influence over Europe. He has a cult and he is supported by some religious groups. And as far as my knowledge goes, in the last decade,he was all about establishing cults to gain more power and money and he always goes for the poor and uneducated. And if you were in Turkey he would have contacted you in other ways.

    On the other hand, I dont know if he is poorly criticised on your website, in the blogs or not. Since this person is not taking your site as a joke, I would recommend you to check it. Check if the articles have some serious evidences or are they spam-like hate mails? You should know some thing, things are a little bit complicated here. He is not a good guy, but the people who are writing against him are also doing it in a defaming campaign. Most of them are not natural responses, or not from some default people. They are boosted with propaganda against this guy. Looks like some accounts have been opened just to badmouth this particular person. Since it is an influence war, you should know, there are some other power players in the game. And you , and your site are just being used. Used for propaganda under the excuse of free speech. Which is a perfect shield. And also lame points for you letting it happen.

    I mean you can say,” I dont care, anyone can write anything”. But than wordpress wouldnt be a free blog site, considering the amount of political and religious propaganda around these days, it would be a reckless pile of words or crap mostly, with some users trying to be decent bloggers in it. Youtube and myspace took the same route, and we are seeing the amount of crap there now.

    In addition, dont think that a country like Turkey is supporting this guy. Or government is behind him. Turkey has laws that is respectful to freedom of speech, but if you can prove that you are insulted in public in the court, you can get something banned very easily. If you were in Turkey the court would have contacted you just to remove specific blogs due to the judgement of the court, but since you are not and they are not really able to communicate with you, they just blocked your whole site. And dont imagine it like a fuming angry guy cutting wires, they probably didnt even care enough to think what is wordpress . They just pressed a button and said “whatever”.

    I have been reading some of the answers here, and some guys just suddenly blamed it on the whole country . It is just like blaming whole America for George Bush ‘s terrorism in middle east although only 35 percent of population voted for him in states. Every country has problem makers to deal with. The same thing goes for Turkey. Turkey is fighting this guy. But he always pops up from somewhere, now from your blog site. He has many opponents and supporters. Making a bad image again.

    If I were you Matt, I would make sure people use my site for the sake of blogging . not as an influence war ground. Because I believe, if this guy seriously needs reaction, people will give him a reaction naturally, through their daily blogging manner based on their own experience which no court would ever ban you for. This is a test for wordpress to prove what kind of site it is,and at the end of the day, people will not give a damn about Adnan Oktar or Turkey, there are a million blog sites out there and you will lose users because they cant reach you if you dont resolve this issue wisely.

    have a nice day.

  77. dovetails

    Hi Matt,
    I find this interesting because I have several Turkish readers. I do not write about politics or the international scene, and I hate to lose even one reader, but I would rather lose readers than give up the right to express a point of view.

    What was said, or written that was found to be so objectionable does not seem terribly relevant to me. To me this appears to be just another example of someone with an extreme point of view who is determined to get what he wants at all costs. I hope you are able to prevail.

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  80. faidzul

    Adnan Oktar (Harun Yahya), Orhan Pamuk, Abdullah Gul, Turgut Ozal, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Adnan Menderes, Deniz Baykal, Ahmet Necdet Sezer…

    Try to figure out who’s good and who’s bad in the list. Can’t solve it? Need an expert?
    Well Turkey can’t block me (and I’m not telling where I am).

    Adnan Oktar a.k.a. Harun Yahya was a good guy before they “worked” on his mind in prison. And now he sells cheap ideas via expensively designed books. Sad but true…

    I firmly believe that Islam Channel (UK) should stop advertising his works for one good reason; its not consistent with normal moderate scholar-accepted Quranic way (Deen). I’m not saying Adnan Oktar is a bad person, he’s just a bad expert. And yeah, they do poison good guys in Turkey. And they probably did posion Adnan Oktar.

    Enjoy another Turkish show! They never stop surprising the world…

  81. Root

    In some circumstances – I would think that recourse to the European Courts established under the Vienna Convention for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms to which inter alia Turkey are signatories, could be a very satisfying, low risk, and relatively inexpensive exercise. But unfortunately it is a necessary precondition that domestic remedies have been exhausted. That means the Midnight Express of the Turkish courts. Best avoided.

  82. Root

    Plus IMHO at least one US Govt spook has already posted in this thread. They are everywhere.

  83. alison73

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ali_eteraz/2007/08/shooting_the_messenger.html

    The Guardian is very forthcoming and totally with WordPress on this one.

    I’ve been telling all my friends who use other blogging systems to post links to this post. After all he’s only a creationist and they’ve been wrong for years.

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  85. suppose

    Turkey is now in political chaos and Islamic radicals are trying to take Turkey back to a previously Islamic state, pre-Ataturk, who brought freedom to Turkey and brought some Western culture to modernize Turkey. This disruption in Turkey has set back Globalization for their State and any economic advantages that may accrue.

  86. echenard

    I’ve written many articles and have had some rather sharp critic over the years. I’ve taken the position that if I really believe in my position and what I’m doing about it, then all critic is welcome. This guy in Turkey probably has something to hide, sorry but a real scolar does not demand critics be silenced, they publish their work for peer review and open critic of their findings and motives of those findings.

    Since Turkey is trying to become a full member of the EU, how can they justify this action and claim to be an open society? Don’t back down to bullies and thugs! Raising more questions of their motives and actions is the way to go, shine some light on these guys and they will probably run. Blocking millions of people’s voice is just wrong, no matter what the reason is.

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  89. burock

    Hi folks,

    As a Turk blogger, am also ashamed that there is another ban on freedom of speech in Turkey. I dont know if you guys remember at all, but Turkey also banned youtube once for a week.

    BTW, I always get support from wordpress team whenever i send messages and they even took action upon some blogs which i ve complaint due to intellectual copyrights.

    However, this issue does not seem to me anything about copyrigths but about freedom of speech.

    And what are the faults of other turk wordpress bloggers? [I guess our fault is 'using wordpress' =)] Can’t they only ban the blogs that are in conflict with the laws?!!!

    PS: My blog’s rating has dropped to 3 vistors from 150 a day as a result of the ban = /.

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  95. homesweethome

    I hope that some Turkish offical takes reads the comments here and takes note of a few facts:

    Ban one blog site= lots of publicity that presents Turkey with a very negative image
    Ban one blog site= internal problems become international public news (If they are not familiar with the items that are enclosed with [...] I would like to point out that is other blogs who have picked up the story and it is spreading over the web.)
    Ban one blog site= places questions about Turkish attitudes about human rights
    Ban one blog site= based on the wishes of a man who is being prosecuted for the same type of crime, leaves a question on who is running the country- the officials or the criminals?

  96. raincoaster

    Ali Eteraz, a WordPress.com blogger ( http://eteraz.wordpress.com ) has written a long piece in the Guardian’s Comment is Free on this. Still waiting for the other people I emailed to speak out…
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ali_eteraz/2007/08/shooting_the_messenger.html

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  100. transformedia

    Spent a month in Turkey this spring, and traveled extensively throughout its regions and learned this most salient fact ; The Turkish people are almost a race unto themselves, complete with eccentricities, habits and attitudes that are found in no other geographical group. Strange, but wonderful, they are not to be underestimated or overly judged.
    My research on the man Adnan Oktar show that he is a “kook”, may be dangerous, and is probably an asshole, has many enemies in Turkey, and not without good reason.
    I would say that being banned in Turkey might not be so bad. After all, it is their country and trust me when I tell you that they will do as they please and the rest of the world can go and hang fire. Best to just get over it.

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