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Turkish Assembly Votes For Censoring of Web Sites 247

Posted by Zonk
from the we're-actually-really-nice-out-here-guys dept.
unity100 writes "CNN has some news about a recent development in Turkey where the Turkish assembly, totally out of line with Turkey's commitment to EU membership, has voted to have sites that 'insult to the founder of modern Turkey' censored from entire Turkish population. This, just about a month after the decision to censor YouTube was reached by the Turkish courts. 'On Thursday, lawmakers in the commission also debated whether the proposal should be widened to allow the Turkish Telecommunications Board to block access to any sites that question the principles of the Turkish secular system or the unity of the Turkish state -- a reference to Web sites with information on Kurdish rebels in Turkey.'"
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Turkish Assembly Votes For Censoring of Web Sites

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  • Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EvilGoodGuy (811015) on Friday April 06, 2007 @07:55PM (#18642117)
    Let's see how the EU responds to this. I wonder if they will do anything at all, or if they will be activ eabout it. I haven't follwed their actions much at all since I live in America, but I have hopes for it.
    • Though Turkey is a secular state, the majority of Turks subscribe to Islam. Since Turkey is a democracy, the laws reflect the will of the Turks and, in particular, the Turkish Muslims.

      We should respect the right of Turks to build their society in whatever way that they wish. The Turks are entitled to reject Western values, just as both the Chinese and the Indians have rejected Western values.

      At the same time, we should terminate the current talks that will lead to Turkey becoming a member of the Europ

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I find it highly ironic you are bashing Turkey for being the pinnacle of Islam when the laws they are taking about are to protect a man who wanted to emulate the West as much as possible and lessen the influence of Islam in their government.

        Your issue appears to be ignorance. The country of Turkey is imbued with Western values and a desire to emulate the West in many ways. Ever wonder why Turkey, especially Istanbul is referred to as a place where East meets West? Probably not, since you obviously don't
        • there is no such thing. In istanbul east meets east.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sita (71217)
            There used to be such a thing. But the west left Istanbul in the twenties.
          • there is no such thing. In istanbul east meets east.

            It's a sad thing that the "moderators" seem to be chosen for their ignorance. Your post said absolutely nothing, it's so empty of meaning that it's not even wrong [wikipedia.org].

            OTOH, the grandparent post was quite informative on the real issues regarding Turkey. The laws mentioned in the article are actually trying to protect Turkey from Islam extremism. Although it may seem that censorship is not exactly the best way to protect freedom, that was the intention of the T

            • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @07:41AM (#18645423) Homepage Journal
              they say "dont sell cress [wikipedia.org] to a cress seller" in turkey.

              i AM turkish. i am living in turkey for my whole life. i KNOW what it is like here.

              there no such thing as "east meets west" exist. it was invented by government in order to make tourism advertisements abroad, and also put turkey's cause forward in european union application back in 1986-1987. Turgut Ozal, was the prime minister then.

              again, there is no such thing, and in istanbul east meets east. nobody but the turkish believe in such a thing that "east meets west" exists. its just a hype make-believe.
        • by WombatDeath (681651) on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:50PM (#18642867)
          the laws they are taking about are to protect a man who wanted to emulate the West as much as possible

          One of those laws being that we in the west are free to criticise and ridicule individuals as we see fit. No doubt the man in question would be the first to insist that no law should be enacted to protect him from such criticism.
        • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @04:47AM (#18644723) Journal

          Well, you don't seem to know much about turkey either. Turkey is probably one of the few countries were you will find the "liberals" siding along with the military powers.

          Yes, Turkey is indeed secular and extremely western (depends a bit on what part of the west you compare it to) "thanks" to the efforts of the man who would be come known as ataturk, father turk, for his efforts to turn unite Turkey and turn it into a modern nation.

          The problem is this, Turkey is NOT a united country by itself. One turk is NOT the same as another. This is one of the biggest problems with for instance immigration to the west. Those people that are looked down upon in western europe are looked down upon in Turkey as well. It is roughly like how a Hillbilly will be frowned upon in Amsterdam by the locals AND by any visiting New Yorkers.

          Turkey however so far has remain united thanks to its military leadership that comes down like a ton of bricks on anyone who dares to take Turkey in an undesired direction. The EU problem is that the Turkey that has the most change to join is also in a very real sense a military dictatorship. If as the EU insists the military reduces its influence then Turkey might very well become an islamic state.

          Remember the riots in France about banning headscarfs? Similar stuff happens all over europe usually at the level of should headscarfs be allowed to be worn by public officials, like for instance in the courtsmthe legal system should be impartial, and at least in most european countries judges and other officials are therefore NOT allowed to show any signs of religion or politics. Muslims being allowed to wear headscarfs is therefore a direct attack on western traditions. So what is the case in Turkey? Well, they are banned and the military makes sue that that remains to be the way because they know what secular means.

          So yes, turkey is a modern secular state, BUT what the grandparent might have been referring too is that it seems that IF the people in Turkey had a choice that might not remain the case.

          Turkey is a democracy, but only so long as the people vote for the "correct" path as laid down by the military. It therefore is also very much a dictarorship, just that in some peoples eyes, that the dictatorships policies are desirable.

          Turkey is like a man standing behind you with a gun, forcing you to make love to beautifull sexy women for a living. Yes, you might like making love to beautifull sexy women for a living BUT there is still a man with a gun behind you telling you what to do.

          Say that this case was true for an entire nation, would you therefore conclude that this nation is entirely hetero OR might that country go homosexual the moment the man with the gun is removed.

          EU efforts might very well result in them creating another muslim nation right on their doorstep.

          The US has a city called philidelphia (or something) wich I believe is usually regarded as the most liberal of cities, (by US standards). Imagine this as Istanbul. Now imagine that phili is the capitol of the US and that the pentagon is making sure that phili politics are US politics. The US would seem to be far more "modern" then it really is, it might even allow gay marriages and such.

          BUT the US ain't really that modern, there is the backward Bible Belt.

          The father of all turks was a great man, BUT his rule is enforced through force. The question is what would happen when you remove that force.

          Tell me, do americans in places like New York or LA etc feel that gay marriages should be outlawed? Nonetheless they are. Same with Turkey, just because Istanbul is the face of Turkey doesn't mean the body agrees with it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by PeeAitchPee (712652)

            The US has a city called philidelphia (or something) wich I believe is usually regarded as the most liberal of cities

            You misspelled "San Francisco."

      • by halivar (535827) <bfelger.gmail@com> on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:38PM (#18642777) Homepage

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

        If there is so much as one Turk who chafes at the yolk of censorship, then they are wrong and we do not have to respect them (same goes for our own government, or any other form of majority-rule).

        Of course, Thomas Jefferson doesn't go for much around here, any more, so take that as you will.
        • by chill (34294) on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:58PM (#18643209) Journal
          Close, but not cigar.

          Thomas Jefferson, statesman that he was, signed off on the document that decreed slaves were not people, but property and would count only as 2/3rds of a person for the purposes of representation. Never mind that the slaves, not being people, weren't represented anyway.

          Jefferson knew that the time was not yet right. Had the U.S. Constitution mandated the end of slavery and full rights for ex-slaves, the Republic would have fallen apart and the Revolution would have been for naught. However, the seeds were sewn for that phrase you quoted to come to fruition when the time was ripe. In the case of slavery, it was almost a century later.

          The time is not right in Turkey, or many other nations, for full freedom of speech. Like it or not, there are some very heated passions in that part of the world. They are forcibly integrating peoples and ethnic groups who don't want to be integrated, and that will take time. Generations, maybe centuries, will pass but to see thru their development as a modern, peaceful, enlightened, secular and democratic nation they believe the vision of the Ataturk is the best path. That vision is still young and fragile.

          Formal membership in the E.U. will, I believe, shorten their transition time. Embrace and extend, if you like. Disintegration into separate ethnic and religious States is not in the best interest of the peoples of Turkey, nor in the best interests of Europe.

          Push too hard, too soon and Turkey will break. Does Europe truly want a theocracy sitting on their doorstep?
          • Does Europe truly want a theocracy sitting on their doorstep?

            I think Europe would prefer a theocracy on their doorstep, then in their living room.

            • by vague_ascetic (755456) <va.impietease@com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:24AM (#18644391) Homepage Journal

              Just what do you base this claim upon? Turkey is a democracy. It has its shortcomings. Care to get into an argument about a two-party stranglehold's effect on democratic processes?

              Turkey is vehemently opposed to being forced to admit to Armenian genocide a century ago. At the same time, as many Turkish journalists have pointed out, France's stand against Turkey's admission into the EU because of this is certainly lest than virtuous, given that they have never owned up to their own more recent history in Algeria [turkishweekly.net].

              The PKK is a group recognised by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. After its leader Abdullah Ocalan, was captured by Turkish Special Forces in Kenya, many governments and groups protested his trial as unfair. The main reasons for this was that the trial was held in the Ankara State Security Court, which is ruled by a three judge panel in which a military officer is included as one judge, and that after his arrest, Ocalan was unable to be reached by attorneys for ten days. Compare and contrast these judicial flaws with the obscene US treatment of detainees, and the Guantanamo Show Trials in which any defendant allegations of torture are considered classified information?

              In regards to the YouTube incident mentioned; it was quickly ruled as an unconstitutional act by a Turkish court, and its import was greatly inflated in the Western media. Read a Turkish editorial on the matter:

              Barin Kayaoglu, "Defending YouTube or Defending Atatürk? [turkishweekly.net]", Journal of Turkish Weekly, 17 March 2007

              Try expanding your knowledge, instead of depending upon others' prejudices for you bigotry.

          • by bogjobber (880402) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:30AM (#18643957)

            I'm American, so I don't really have a horse in the race, and I disagree (mostly). You are probably correct that Turkey is not ready for full freedom of speech, religion, etc. It doesn't seem to be an issue that most Turks support strongly. I may be wrong on that, but that's certainly how it seems to me. However, the European Union must not under any circumstances budge in any of these instances.

            The fact is that the EU already exists. It doesn't have to make the same decisions that the US had to make in order to ensure the survival of the government. They have dealt with insane countries at their border before (i.e. USSR, Yugoslavia, North Africa) and they can do so again. There is absolutely no need to make such a large compromise here, the EU is much better off without Turkey than Turkey without the EU. If it wants admittance, it must play by the rules completely. If that doesn't happen, then it doesn't happen. But this is an issue so important that the EU absolutely can't bend. If it takes fifty or a hundred years for Turkey to accept, then so be it. What's the point of even having freedoms spelled out in a constitution (or treaties, whatever it is that makes up EU law) if you're just going to write them off for a relatively small political and economic gain?

            I'm foremost a pragmatist, but do you really want to undermine the very things the EU is supposed to protect? What really is the worth of having Turkey in the EU if it means giving up some of your own rights (nominally, sure but still)? What if EU laws concerning free expression of religion in Turkey actually causes radical Islam to *increase* its influence? It's not a given that membership in the EU will affect positive change in Turkey.

            • by killjoe (766577)
              I think at one time Turkey wanted to be in the EU but I don't think that's true anymore. I think Turkey now realizes that EU does not want a muslims country in their club and that they would be better of trying to form some sort of a union with other turkic countries in the region most of whom have cultural ties (and oil).
            • by chill (34294) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @08:14AM (#18645589) Journal
              The difference is, if the E.U. has a setback -- like not getting their Constitution passed -- they will work it out without much fuss. Europe has evolved their civilization to a point where there really is little threat of one peoples exploding forth in a ravenous orgy of violence. World War II seems to have cured them of that.

              If Turkey fails, it won't disintegrate, it will explode and the result will be a regional war and instability for more than a generation. Think what would happen if Turkey split into rival groups of Kurds, Armenians, Islamist Turks and Secular Turks. That can't be allowed to happen.

              Europe isn't compromising any of their values. They would be guiding a member along the path, knowing the long term benefit of brining Turkey into the fold outweighs the short term benefits of holding the hard line on their "convictions".

              This isn't without precedent in the E.U. There are nations who haven't fully aligned subsidies, trade policies, tariffs and other laws fully. But, progress is being made and the E.U. is thinking long term. Patience is a virtue.
          • by sita (71217)
            The time is not right in Turkey, or many other nations, for full freedom of speech. Like it or not, there are some very heated passions in that part of the world. They are forcibly integrating peoples and ethnic groups who don't want to be integrated, and that will take time. Generations, maybe centuries, will pass but to see thru their development as a modern, peaceful, enlightened, secular and democratic nation they believe the vision of the Ataturk is the best path. That vision is still young and fragile
      • by Perseid (660451)
        Many EU countries censor as well. Try to release an unedited Wolfenstein game in Germany and see how far you get.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Alinabi (464689)
          Every country censors. For example, in the US the authorities get an attack of apoplexy when they see boobies on TV...
        • You're right that the EU can't criticise Turkey without feeling a bit uncomfortable. It's incredible that it's actually illegal to deny the holocaust in some EU member states.

          France's law that makes it illegal to deny the Armenian holocaust is just as pointless and oppressive as this law being proposed in Turkey.
      • by alexjohnc3 (915701) on Friday April 06, 2007 @10:29PM (#18643063) Homepage
        The issue is not bigotry. The issue is respect. The Turks expect us to respect how they suppress human rights (by, for example, censoring web sites). We should respect them.

        You've got to be kidding me. For some reason I think the majority screwing over the minority and abusing their human rights isn't something that should be tolerated, much less respected. Human suffering is almost never acceptable and just because the majority of Turkey may not care about the rights of others who live in the country doesn't mean we shouldn't pressure Turkey into accepting "our Western values." If by "Western values" you mean respecting people's civil and human rights, then, yes, we should try to push those values on Turkey as much as possible.
        • none of our business (Score:4, Informative)

          by keeboo (724305) on Friday April 06, 2007 @11:06PM (#18643251)
          For some reason I think the majority screwing over the minority and abusing their human rights isn't something that should be tolerated, much less respected.

          Well (and that's an example, no country is a saint in this matter), the USA have been preaching on freedom and human rights for decades. It didn't prevent them to install and maintain bloody dictatorships in South America. And that, way before the USA "turned evil" and bashing the US became an olympic sport.

          I do not think we (well, the West) have any right at all to interfere in Turkey or any other country.
          Personally I don't think Turkey belongs to EU, and that's a matter for EU and Turkey, and no one else.
          The rest, the internal Turkey matters as long as they stay out of EU, are their business and we have no right to mess with.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        What? Being a muslim Turkish, I know this thing has nothing to do with muslims in Turkey. It is just the Turkish constitution that this law is based on. In fact, the constitution is based on western ideologies anyways.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by bittis (980078)

        A very strong statement I have to say. Turkey is a country which is undergoing a lot of changes the last few years. It is torn between the Islamic fundamentalists and the military and its followers which follow the dream Mustafa Kemal Atatürk for a European Turkey. Turkey is also a 100 million people market which means that Europe needs its market. Washington pushes for Turkey to enter the European Union, firstly because they realise that if it happens, the dream of the European Union wont have much ho

      • by pla (258480)
        The issue is not bigotry. The issue is respect. The Turks expect us to respect how they suppress human rights (by, for example, censoring web sites). We should respect them.

        Wow, dude - Truly beautiful troll there! You even got modded UP to +5 insightful!

        I couldn't disagree more with what you've said, but you have my admiration for saying it so well. Kudos!
    • This looks like Turkey voting themselves out of the EU.
      A few more of these and it wont be just the French telling them to bug off.

    • by killjoe (766577)
      How would they respond? Everybody knows they weren't going to let turkey in anyway. What are they going to do say "now we are really not going to in, whereas before we merely not going to let you in"
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Friday April 06, 2007 @07:56PM (#18642121) Journal
    ..question the principles of the Turkish secular system, and the unity of the Turkish state.

    And I think the founder of modern Turkey is a turkey haha

    Freedom of speech is pretty cool

    I also question the principles of the American secular system, and i pretty much question the fuck out of everybody I see.
    • by Tackhead (54550)
      >> ..question the principles of the Turkish secular system, and the unity of the Turkish state.

      And I, for one...

      (1999/2000 version) KISS YOU!

      (1994/1995 version) ...sign you up for Serdar Argic's [wikipedia.org] HOWLING THROUGH THE WIRES [google.com], USENET World Tour!

      Shit, I see we've already got a subthread on the Armenian Whathefuckevercide. Serdar still HOWLS!

      Turkey is the source of two of the weirdest memes to ever hit the Internets. The Hungarians come in a close second with the Chuck Norris / Stephen Colbert [wikipedia.org]

    • by Perseid (660451)
      Hey, man. Don't question the fuck out of ME. I want to keep my fuck. I may use it someday.
  • by Chmcginn (201645) on Friday April 06, 2007 @07:56PM (#18642125) Journal
    It seems from a lot of Turkey's actions that they're not particularly committed to being a part of the EU. I'm sure they would like the trade benefits... Hell, China & the US would probably like the trade benefits, too. But that doesn't mean they really want the whole package.

    Actually, I take that back. China & the US would like to have free trade going into Europe, but not coming out. That would be silly.

  • Attaturk (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wytcld (179112) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:01PM (#18642157) Homepage
    Attaturk seems to have been one cool dude. What other nation of Muslims has in its Constitution that Islam must be kept out of the government? They owe that constitution to the man.
    • Armenians!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bstadil (7110)
      Yes Way cool to kill 900.000 Armenians, lest we forget. I would rather have a few extra mosques.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by Cheapy (809643)
      Indeed they have kept Islam out of the government, but they replaced it with the Religion of Attaturk.
    • by Plutonite (999141)
      What other nation of Muslims has in its Constitution that Islam must be kept out of the government? They owe that constitution to the man.

      First, you seem to be under the impression that Muslims in general have accepted this seperation-of-state-and-faith as much as the Christians in Europe. The hard fact is that in every event that even REMOTELY resembles free elections, religious groups truimph (read Egypt, Palestine). The Muslim culture evolves around faith in many aspects, and as someone who has lived in
    • As someone who has actually lived in Turkey for several months, I find it really really strange the way the Turks treat Attaturk.

      He's basically a demigod over there.
  • by daeg (828071) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:02PM (#18642159)
    I know the US has some problems with free speech, but what the hell is wrong with Europe lately? For instance, Germany will soon be attempting to reintroduce legislation into the EU banning swastikas and Holocaust denial (Source: BBC [bbc.co.uk]). You can't have selective free speech!

    People are getting confused. You should tolerate the idea of free speech; you don't have to like what people say, you don't even have to listen. It's the right to speak, not the right to be heard or listened to.

    These laws, including the Turkish positions, would be like if the US suddenly enacted laws saying that no one can speak of the Confederacy in a positive light and made it illegal to say the Confederacy actually won. Everyone knows they didn't, but people still say it. Everyone with an IQ over 20 just laughs at them, though. I'd just laugh & ignore at anyone who denied the Holocaust -- you should too, Europe (Germany, Turkey, et all).

    Surprisingly, at least in the Holocaust issue, England is one of the few countries that put up a fuss last time it came up (2005). The same England that's hell bent on monitoring every street corner. C'est bizarre.
    • by Itninja (937614)
      I don't think I would want to live in a society that *didn't* understand why free speech cannot be absolute. If your speech poses a direct danger to someone, like yelling fire in a crowded theater, it should be illegal.

      I understand that's not really what were talking about with Germany here, but a society can (and really must) have selective free speech.
    • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:38PM (#18642421)
      Armenian genocide [wikipedia.org]

      The Turkish government really, really doesn't want to talk about this. Bring it up too forcefully in Turkey and it can get you killed [wikipedia.org]. So the subject is censored in Turkey, effectively enough that most of today's generation of Turks just can't believe that their great grandparents could have done anything so vile. I'd imagine that today's generation of Germans would have the same reaction if Germany hadn't been forced to face up to what the National Socialist German Workers Party did.

      PBS did a pretty impressive special on the subject, available on DVD [shoppbs.org].

      So... it's likely that the Turkish government will keep on censoring away. It's not like anyone's going to do anything effective about it. Sure, eventually they'll figure out that censoring the 'net is a fool's errand, but they'll kick that can down the road as long as they can. And even then, will enough Turkish citizens care enough to look?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bibi-pov (819943)
        I guess that when your government starts to commemorate the hero of the nation during the "youth and sports day" using means only found in USSR ( only [flickr.com] pictures [flickr.com] I found that partially describe what I've seen when I was there, think times 100 for a more accurate representation), if you think a bit about it: you're worried... Or you could just celebrate by going to the nearest stadium to see one of the many big shows the state organize with all the kids of the schools parading in matching colors. Only word that
      • I once had a very passionate debate with a friend of Turkish origin on the Illiad. She kept on insisting the author's name should be spelt Omar, and that he was Turkish.

        Don't get me wrong, I _love_ Turkish culture and have a great amount of respect for Turkish traditions (and am still friends with that girl; will drop by her place when I'm in Istanbul), but it takes quite a bit of false history to change the ethnicity of a classical Greek poet. The current generation is, of course, worldy-wise and mostly o

    • Guys,

      Europe has just different frame, we had a problem with nazi and see their followers are a danger that worth a bit of lmitation of free speach.

      I dont think lot of people would be allow to praise the 911 terrorists in US, encourage killing americans and soldiers, spitting of the victims of 911.

      but i can be wrong
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Perseid (660451)
        Any American can do those things, with the possible exception of #2. A person stating something does not inherently make someone else believe this. There are in fact 911-deniers - people who think the US government was involved in the attack. Those people are allowed to say these things on commercial radio and they do so. Is our country worse off for it? Nope.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by phantomlord (38815)
        I dont think lot of people would be allow to praise the 911 terrorists in US, encourage killing americans and soldiers, spitting of the victims of 911.

        It isn't exactly the most popular sentiment but there are plenty of people in the US who express exactly those ideas. The solution isn't to shut them up because that just makes it look like their idea of the "truth" is being hidden from the public. The solution is to debate them and thoroughly debunk them to prove them for the fools they are. Check out War

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kresa (62873)
      Incitement to hatred is not protected under the free speech in any democracy.

      Freedoms are weighted against each other.

      For example,
      If I try to brainwash my children and try to incite them to kill you,
      and there is a small but reasonable probability that you will get killed as a result, the protection of human life trumps the freedom of speech.

      If it was only a matter of academic blabber on holocaust denial
      and drawing swastikas in an art exhibition it would not be a problem.
      However it is associated with rise in
      • by Shihar (153932)
        Incitement to hatred is not protected under the free speech in any democracy.

        That simply is not true. In the US it absolutely is legal to 'incite hate'. Neo-nazi's, KKK, and all other manner of crazy fringe groups are allowed to freely distribute literature (calling it 'literature' might be a stretch) declaring that you should hate all the Jews, blacks, and Catholics. The only real line in the US is actively advocating murder. Even then, you need to be blatant. You can call for revolution without getti
    • by westlake (615356) on Friday April 06, 2007 @09:23PM (#18642691)
      but what the hell is wrong with Europe lately? For instance, Germany will soon be attempting to reintroduce legislation into the EU banning swastikas and Holocaust denial (Source: BBC). You can't have selective free speech!

      Of course you can.

      The meaning of "Free Speech" can't be understood outside its historical, social and legal context.

      In the U.S. it begins with open political debate without governmental interference -- or, more narrowly, without prior censorship. That didn't mean you weren't answerable in court later for language that could be taken as slanderous or seditious.

      The rules evolve over time and they are not the same in every society.

      • by SQL Error (16383)
        Right. The concept of prior restraint is very important. That you are free to say whatever you want under the constitution doesn't mean that you can't be sued or prosecuted for events resulting from what you say. What it means is that the government can't pass any law that forbids you from saying anything.
    • by Bogtha (906264)

      what the hell is wrong with Europe lately?

      Since when do you judge an entire continent based on a single country (that is barely even on that continent)? Why aren't you saying "What's wrong with the Middle East" or "What's wrong with Asia?"? Turkey is in those regions just as much as it is in Europe. And Turkey are pretty out of sync with the rest of Europe when it comes to things like this, which is part of the reason why they are having such a hard time getting into the EU.

      You can't have selec

      • by chill (34294)
        Previously Nazi-occupied countries are over-sensitive about the swastika, but the rest of Europe isn't.

        Ummm...wow. Entertaining statement.

        You do realize that "the rest of Europe" in this context includes Iceland, the U.K., Ireland and... well, that is about it. Okay, Spain was run by Franco who was Hitler's bitch, and Albania was occupied by Italy -- again Hitler's bitch. Sweden and Switzerland were "neutral", but still, your statement is so fucked up it boggles the mind.
    • I totally agree -- laws against free speech are improper in the EU, and as such, Turkey should be kept out. However, at least the EU nations are making laws against *denying* a genocide as a way of healing and reconciliation, where as Turkey is making laws against *acknowledging* a genocide as a way of covering up its brutal past. Of all the crap being tossed around about East vs West, this is, to me, the biggest issue. The defining moment for Europe was WW2 and the genocide within. If Turkey can't come to
  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:04PM (#18642173) Homepage
    I know it'd be really hard to perform an unbiased study on the subject, but I'd really like to know, once and for all, if censorship is a good thing for humanity. Such a study should, of course, be targetted at all sorts of facets of the basic question and not just the one; questions such as "at what point is censorship good and where is it bad for society."

    In "free society" we generally abhor censorship. What people are afraid if is pretty obvious: that people will form opinions in opposition to current leadership. But are there societal health benefits? Is there something actually good about it?
    • by EvilGoodGuy (811015) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:14PM (#18642245)
      It would be interesting indeed. Reminds me of a debate I had in a class recently about gun control laws. (From what I recall) Guns in Japan are difficult to find, and crime rates are pretty low. But at the same time Nearly everyone in Switzerland has a gun, and crime rates are also low. I think culture, and expectations of the government hold a large part in what the public of an area need or want censorship wise.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by digitig (1056110)

        Guns in Japan are difficult to find, and crime rates are pretty low. But at the same time Nearly everyone in Switzerland has a gun, and crime rates are also low. I think culture, and expectations of the government hold a large part in what the public of an area need or want censorship wise.
        I always put it down to the chocolate.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        But at the same time Nearly everyone in Switzerland has a gun, and crime rates are also low.

        We own tons of guns here in Canada too... but they are LONG guns, not hand guns... mostly for hunting gophers etc. on farms. High levels of gun ownership in Switzerland is due to the small standing army and the reliance on militia which requires most men to maintain weapons at home. Unlike the United States however, there are strict gun control laws in Switzerland which mean that all these guns are registered and have strict conditions on their storage etc. They just aren't generally on hand for the heat-

      • I suspect that the Japanese wouldn't have much gun crime even if they were allowed to have them. I'll have to research it, but I wonder if the gun policy goes back to why non-samurai weren't allowed to have swords. IIRC, it was a way for the governments of that era to prevent government overthrow. I'm pretty sure overthrow attempts in Japan aren't really even a marginal threat anymore.
    • by MobyDisk (75490)
      Ironically, it would be difficult to perform such a study if you had censorship. You would never know if you had looked at all aspects of it. It seems to me that science and reason cannot exist in a world where certain ideas are off limits. It would be like trying to mathematically prove the sum of the first 10 whole numbers while simultaenously banning the number 3.
  • I actually wouldn't have a problem with this if international emmigration were within the means of the average Turk, and as long as the government is honest about their censoring. Then, if people want to live in a country with such pride that insulting sites are censored, great, move to Turkey, but if you find government censoring onerous, fine move elsewhere. A global version of the US idea of "states rights" . Of course freedom of travel and emmigration is the troublesome key factor.
  • Mustafa Kemal (ataturk) was a man who was sending youngsters who have stood up to him in any matter political or social, to get university education abroad in europe, out of his own pocket.
  • by Parallax Blue (836836) on Friday April 06, 2007 @08:36PM (#18642411)
    They already deny genocide against Armenians, and jail anyone who protests, etc. Compared to that, this is minor.

    Another point to consider is that there is growing dissatisfaction with the idea of joining the EU. Basically Turkey has made major, major changes to the law and its government in an effort to get into the EU, but so far the process has been stalled by EU member states who are understandably wary (for a number of reasons) about letting Turkey in. Because of this, many Turkish citizens are now increasingly adopting a "kiss off" attitude towards EU membership and the EU itself. Perhaps this move is another sign of the frustration... a defiant gesture, if you will.

    -PxB
    • i agree with your assessment. i'm engaged to a turk and was in turkey last summer. while i don't follow politics as closely as i should, it's pretty clear that the turks were trying pretty hard to get into the eu and the eu is basically turning away from them. as a result, turks feel like they are being rejected outright and they're not too happy about it. i think these recent stories are an indication that they're reacting to being shunned. they're about to elect their very religious PM into presidency.
      • by unity100 (970058)
        "they" arent electing their religious pm into presidency - the islamic majority party who grabbed 95% of the seats in parliament with only 38% of the votes ( and a good half of them undecideds) is doing it.
  • Where are all of the comments about how we just don't understand Turkish "customs" and "traditions" if we don't agree with their government's stance with regard to censorship? I'm sensing a bit of a double standard here. Where exactly is the contrast between the two? It makes no difference how lax on the whole one government is when compared to another if they are in effect doing the exact same thing. At least in this case there was a vote of some sort, though that certainly does not make the decision amiab
  • While I'm no fan of censorship in any form, I have to say that part of me cheers any effort by a secular Islamic state to protect its secularism.
    • by unity100 (970058)
      it is actually a precursor move from an islamic government in order to make public accept censorship as normal and then move on to censoring stuff "non-islamic".
  • the internet should refuse a connection to any country that doesn't promote free speech.
    • by unity100 (970058)
      thats an idea that is occuring to me also latelay.
    • by vidarh (309115)
      "The Internet" isn't an entity. The only way of achieving that would be by refusing connectivity to anyone not agreeing to be just as restrictive as you, which would leave you pretty much alone, and with the rest of the world operating their own network.
  • The EU regularly makes it clear that they have no interest in bringing Turkey into the EU. So I would expect Turkey to recoil the other direction and become less secular and more middle eastern in its orientation.

    On top of that the EU regularly censors web material for a variety of reasons.
  • Does anyone honestly believe Turkey belongs in the European Union? I mean, come on, it doesn't matter if you're in a current EU nation or currently in Turkey -- you gotta side with what you believe. If you're in Turkey and truly believe in censorship/fascism for the good of the nation, then stop pretending you're European. They dealt with that mid 20th century and rejected it. STAND UP for your belief in a bigotry and intolerance! STAND UP for censorship! Acknowledge it and embrace it! STAND UP for revisio
  • by denoir (960304) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @03:38AM (#18644455)
    Turkey is a secular state with the military having the responsibility of keeping it that way. On the other side you have the population that yearn for an Islamic theocracy. Nationalism is sort of a compromise solution - something that appeals to the masses but doesn't threaten the secular system of the country.

    Without draconian measures such as this censorship, the gap between the religious people and the guardians of secularism would rapidly increase to the point where you could expect an Islamic revolution like the one in Iran.

    People forget how Ataturk made the country secular - by excessive bloodshed and repression. The majority of the Turks never wanted to be secular and are still very much opposed to it. The relevant question is: do you allow your democracy to self-implode? Do you allow the election of a party that will eliminate democracy completely - not to mention freedom of speech, secularism etc

    So don't judge too harshly - they are in a tight spot.

    Of course their whole arrangement makes joining the EU any time soon very unlikely. This in turn gives them a sense of rejection which pushes the country towards Islamic government. If on the other hand the EU supports their fight for secularism, which takes from as limits on civil liberties, it is betraying its own principles. Not an entirely trivial situation.

    • The majority of the Turks never wanted to be secular and are still very much opposed to it.

      Which just goes to show how stupid religious people are.

      Turkey has an economy that - despite its flaws - is the envy of the Muslim world, with comparatively high standard of living. And they are free to practice their religion, with the exception of forcing their daughters and wives to cover their sinful female faces while in government schools and jobs.

      Yet there are millions in Turkey who would gladly throw away

  • Turkish assembly did not vote for censoring web sites. There are many groups in the Turkish National Assembly who can propose voting on something. This is one of those. It is not a new law, it is not a new policy; it is just a stupid proposal for one.
    • by unity100 (970058)
      There is no need to vote. turkish courts are already censoring many websites easily with the current law. check www.megaupload.com . its censored in turkey. entire site. there are at least 320 sites of TURKISH origin that were censored totally because they had contained sexual content, even mildly.
  • should germany be banned from the EU for banning swastikas and nazi propaganda? that's essentially what this law in turkey is about--preventing more extremist elements from gaining sway. yes, it's not the strict interpretation of free speech we think of here in america, but america's not exactly a bastion of that sort of free speech nowadays anyway, what with 'free speech zones' and other offenses.

    so in sum it seems less like people are really objecting less to the offense to the ideal of absolute free sp
  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:01AM (#18645819) Homepage Journal
    First, not the majority of turkish people want islamic state. The percentage that wants it is around 20% of the voters, and rather an inflated number that is (due to election frauds in islamic locales), and that would probably translate to the entirety of the population (including non-voters) as kinda maybe 25%-30% at the most.

    rest are divided among major groups like kemalists (ataturk nationalists), west supporters, (liberals, which generally have many stuff in common with kemalists, except in nationalistic matters like ataturk is a taboo or not, and freedom of speech related to that issue), a good deal of social democrats (which generally are almost transient with kemalists, since most of ataturk's proposed ideas and guidelines curiously coincides with social democracy, and the party he founded, chp, is a social democrat party for over around, say 70 or so years), extreme nationalists, which are basically right wing radicals, which are very considerable in numbers, but not on majority over any of the above groups.

    the biggest groups are named "undecideds" in turkey.

    these are people of mild composition, they dont want to mess with anybody or anything, want matters to be good and life normal, no crises, no stampede, economy in rails etc and such. they are generally approving of european values, becuse of humanitarian approaches (we are not talking about stupid extreme left wing idiots here, were talking Danton, Erasmus, Voltaire, Rousseau humanism & liberalism - though this population rarely knows these writers's names), quality of life in europe in particular. (thinking that europeans must be doing some things right). and they want in in european union, nomatter who says what. extreme right wing nationalists, islamic groups, and even portion of the kemalists who are disullisioned with europe and dont want to get into euo anymore dont even add up to the number of this "silent crowd".

    these "undecideds", ironically, are the people whose votes decide who gets in power at any given time.

    in the last elections, they were extremely disillusioned by the corruption earlier parties and governments exhibited, and some were impressed with the seemingly considerable work that was done by the people in municipial duties (who founded the akp later, and tayyip erdogan, current pm was the mayor of istanbul, islamic), so they said exactly like this; "lets try those islamists this time".

    this was a sentence which was actually said by those people in debates, among family, friends and such.

    and they voted for them. and voila, 38% votes for islamic party, and thanks to the election system that twists the votes SO absurd, they get 95% of the chairs in the assembly.

    curiously, islamists also want to get into the eu. many fragments of islamic community thinks that it will be much too easier to spread islamic influence when turkey is in eu. and they are right, from what we see from the proceedings of a minority islamic population is able to succeed in netherlands, even in this state.

    hence when in power, islamic party (akp) have pushed for eu reforms with unseen vigor in any prior government. and passed many laws to eu guidelines. as in all matters that comes too fast, too low a number of these laws are actually being practiced.

    ah, i forgot one segment. that is the military.

    it is a MAJOR segment of the population. in that it holds armed power, and also in that there are explicit items in constitution that ordains the army "guardianship of secular democratic regime".

    and for the last 80 years, they have been EXACTLY doing that.

    back around 1960, an islamically inclined prime minister, Adnan Menderes, and his then center-right and extreme-right composured party (demokrat parti, which is curiously the party that the roots and many members of the akp or other right/islamically inclined parties come from), have gone rather awkward, started censoring the media in the wake of increasing critisizm for failure, BANNE

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