Blocked in Turkey

People trying to visit WordPress.com from Turkey are seeing this message: “Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance.” I didn’t realize Turkey had a great firewall like China. This is really unfortunate because we have a really passionate Turkish community that gets about 12 million pageviews a month. Any good tips for people to get around the block? Update: This comment has the story and resolution. We’re back Update 2: It appears we’re still blocked, here is more info.

189 thoughts on “Blocked in Turkey

  1. I’m a wordpress user/developer from Turkey and we are still in shock because of this. The weird thing is nobody knows the reason :( I hope this is just a temporary prevention.

  2. Depends of the way they blocked the site. If it’s DNS-based, one could use alternative DNS servers. Unfortunately, this is not a solution for everybody. I would wish that there was some browser plugin (at least for FF and IE) allowing users to use alternative DNS servers instead of their provider’s.

    If it’s IP based, it would be much harder. One could set up mirrors or attach other IP addresses to the servers, but it’s only a matter of time until these are also blocked.

    Another important aspect are the political implications, e.g. the question what happens to users who try to circumvent the censorship.

    Also interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_Turkey (especially the attached links)

  3. Youtube.com has been banned also, but it came back in 2 days after the Google’s forced communication.
    Wordpress can deal with this issue unless you’re in need of source.

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  5. I did blog about the situation as well. For those who still not know how to get around: just configure your DNS as 4.2.2.1; that’s it.

  6. It is definitely a DNS based block. I’ve been using OpenDNS, and because of that I didn’t realize it was blocked until a friend using the regular Turk Telecom DNS’s told me she couldn’t reach any wordpress.com site.

    We won’t know until Monday why it was blocked, but the best guess is that a blog writer wrote something against Turkey, or Ataturk –and since they can do it, they just block the site instead of dealing with it. If a deal can be made with you guys to remove that post that started this mess, WordPress.com will probably be up-and-running in Turkey just like it used to.

  7. Well if the alternative to being blocked in Turkey is censoring the free speech of our users there, I’d rather stay blocked even though it’s going to hurt us traffic-wise.

  8. If we’d knew the exact reason, we’d comment about it. But it’s obvious that the banning is because of an insulting or a contemning blog article about someone. (Who I guess is Harun Yahya which known as Adnan Oktar) http://wordpress.com/tag/adnan-oktar/

    This person is related with previous banning of the popular sites like Eksisozluk and Antoloji in Turkey.

  9. I was shocked as every Turk who uses wordpress.com from Turkey when I tried to login to my account today.

    I think the same with Little Snitch, and yes YouTube.com was also blocked some time ago, however it only took 2 days.

    It’s a pity that our government still cannot find better solutions to get over the problems rather than closing eyes.

    I hope this problem will also be solved soon as YouTube issue, and with interest of wordpress.com

    And thanks to Mark from wordpress for his interest on my questions.

  10. Hello!

    I am often accessing WordPress.com via the anonymity network Tor. Mostly it works fine, but it is very slowly. Perhaps this is a chance for the people from Turkey. I have tested this, it is possible but not comfortable to visit your WordPress.com administration panel using Tor. Sometimes there can be an error message. If this is the case, I wait 10 or 20 minutes, and then I try again.

    Defend your freedom of speech in Turkey! Thank you guys from WordPress.com for supporting free speech around the globe. Your work is highly appreciated.

  11. Hi Matt,

    Whenever a court block a web site in Turkey they just put domain to the blacklist of ISP to prevent direct access but not an ip number. I am sure Turkish users can easily access via IP address ie. http://72.232.101.41

    I am pretty sure that they will permit to access wordpress.com very soon. There are even wordpress evangelists in the country and service is very well known amongst the millions of Turkish internet users. Make sure that there will be strong reactions.

    Unfortunatelly we had such kind of temporary problems in the past due to the insufficient knowledge of some of law makers to understand distiction between a website and content provider.

  12. No, i am sure, %99,9999999 users from turkey are not happy about this decision. I’m sure that the only happy one is prosecutor.

    What a pity. What a shame. My country should not act like this.

  13. It has nothing to do with democracy or free speech, its just law enforcers can’t see the need to change laws regarding online content because they are 60 year olds who don’t use internet except for mailing and reading newspapers so they just keep massive web sites with thousands of users responsible for their user created content.

  14. Hi,

    As we have stated here in Turkish:

    http://www.fazlamesai.net/?a=article&cmode=nested&sid=4674#30986

    the issue is about some government officer (military related) spreading some information. This critical situation led to a fast court order and the district attorney issued a written order to TTNet, the main Internet and ADSL service provider of Turkey. They had to obey this legal order but some inexperienced technical employee blocked the whole wordpress.com domain in the DNS servers which led to this mess. In a few minutes a techical middle manager realized the situation and took required action. Within a few hours the wordpress.com domain was available (except the problematic blog which is still being blocked due to legal orders). The inexperienced employee is about to leave the job.

    This is the situation now, provided FYI.

  15. Dear Ozkan,
    Are you telling that because of one person his article they banned wordpress. (People get quick insulted down here)
    It’s a court decision, and I am pondering why they don’t give a reason.
    kindest

  16. If a card counter is found to be cheating at blackjack, Las Vegas doesn’t shut the game down, especially if millions play (and some actually lose), but instead, he’s encouraged to learn a new game where cards are not involved, like slots (where some people actually lose too).

    Maybe WordPress should offer a lifetime free membership to the Turkish Government’s official .org site, as a matter of courtesy extended, free of all banner ads claiming that real ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy’ and the ‘freedom of (insert bank here)’ does not exist in Turkey!!!

  17. WordPress.com is back. I’m sure every user will be able to log on the site after all TTNet DNS servers are getting refreshed.

  18. I wonder if the people in TurkTelekom think they can do anything they want, they can stop us to log in to the sites we want ..
    What a shameful block it is!
    The same thing went to YouTube just a while ago and now WordPress! I wonder what the next will be, Google?!

    4.2.2.1 works quite fine by the way.
    And I hope they’ll come to mind, so we won’t have to try to find different solutions for such restrictions that are not reasoned by the authorities.

  19. Matt’ında dediÄŸi gibi gerçekten inanılmaz bir ÅŸey bu. Yahu kendi kendini böyle rezil eden ülke olmaktan bıktım artık.

  20. Don’t bother clicking on my name… because as far as I can tell, wordpess is still blocked in Turkey. I can’t log onto my own page or to any other wordpress page

  21. Fatih Simsek said:

    > i think that just a mistake. law court said “close
    > xxx.wordpress.com” but Turk Telekom closed wordpress.com

    Yes, the situation is very similar to that.

  22. What a shame!
    We are getting tired of these activities!
    It is like Ostrich’s behaviour of hiding its head in the sand when the first sign of danger. :)
    What is the differences between them?
    I think nothing!

    Everyone can learn how to reach these banned sites by using (freedom) DNS servers. ( Use Treewalk DNS servers)

    Matt,
    I think that you don’t need to be suprised because of banning.
    All of us (Turkish citizens) were experienced blocking of youtube web site. :)

    Siteye eriÅŸemeyen kiÅŸiler lütfen google’da TREEWALK kelimesini aratın. Kurulumunu anlatan bir çok Türkçe kaynak çıkacak. Kendinizi daha fazla yormayın ve de üzmeyin.
    Yine rezil olduk gerçektende.

  23. Hello That’s not a problem. We can change our DNS number.
    Ps: Turkish Telecom managers really stupid because they haven’t got a brain.
    Ps2: China’s firewall better than Turkey. Turkey firewall is the worst firewall of all.

  24. it’s now Sunday, 17.50, and wordpress is so not back… where is Emre Sevinç getting his information from… we couldn’t find anything in Turkish or English on the ‘Net about this. what’s your source Emre?

  25. Why can’t WordPress SUE the Turkish Government in the International Court for banning of free speech? Then take the proceeds and spread it amongst its Turkish subscribers. Maybe it would act as a great marketing campaign.

    How about a reality show in Turkey called, “Embarrassment Idol” where the rank-and-file contestants (protectors of secularism for the sake of democracy) try to out-embarrass one another.

    Tragic . . .

  26. I honestly think this is ridiculous. I have hundreds of Turkish raters and none of them have access to my website anymore. Now do I to which over to another block?
    I am used to wordpress, and now this?.. I am very angry at this.. this is an embarassment to our country.
    I am hoping that worpress will find a solution with the turkish government or else i am going to have no choice but to find another block.

  27. well, it’s 22.38 here in Istanbul and it’s still not unblocked!! are we confusing wordpress.com with wordpress.org? because there’s no prob with the latter..but definitely still blocked at .com.

    and again, where is Emre Sevinc getting his info from? the link he gives is to what looks like an open source site (fazlamesai.net)… not a news site, or anything to do with Turk Telekom, TTNet or anything official. and his kindly posted message is just a direct translation of the Turkish he links to on fazlamesai.net. and, as he puts at the start, “As we have stated here in Turkish…” — who is “WE” Emre, and how do YOU know??

    i wouldn’t be asking all this if wordpress.com was not blocked, BUT IT STILL IS!! regardless of what others above are saying!

  28. Matt – I am translating the gist of the letter you received from Turkey to Turkish below message. I am putting down the address and phone numbers of the lawyers in your letter so that people can bombard them with mails, phones and faxes to protest this appaling decisoin and idiocracy.

    I will also be sending this to major media outlets in Turkey and I hope others will follow suit so the whole country can hear what a shameful act this is, which is damaging the image of Turkey in rest of the world. I am sure vast majority of Turkish population will be ashamed and outraged by this decision.

    My suggestion to you, NOT to accept their demands! There will soon be a major outcry and if anything should result in major publicity in Turkey and elsewhere for WordPress. I would at least wait for few days to see what happens.

  29. Don’t harass anyone, it’s counter-productive and no better than what they’re doing. Just stick to the facts.

    It just occurred to me that people won’t be able to get to the letter if it’s hosted on WordPress.com, so feel free to mirror it other places.

  30. Matt – In case you were wondering who the hell is Adnan Oktar or a.k.a. Harun Yahya. Here is the wikipedia link that details the biography of this major creationist, anti-semitic, cult leader charlatan: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harun_Yahya

    What is so incredibly ironic is that Adnan Oktar has written a book claiming Holocaust never happened and that death of Jews during world war II was because of a typhus plague! He has accuse jews to be racist and evolution as evil manifestation of buddhism.

    AND, this guy and his organization has spearheaded an effort to attack and defame severel prominent Turkish academics, through harassment, threat and slander fliers. In 1999. In fact, 6 of these Turkish professors have won a civil court case against Adnan Oktar’s organization for defamation. The court has decided that ” severe and unjust attack was perpetrated on the plaintiffs’ personal rights, by listing the names of the scientists defending the theory of evolution and describing them as communists and separatists on the flyers distributed by the foundation.”

    I find it unbelievable that his lawyers send you a letter accusing WordPress not stopping defamation and slander of their clien, whose organization has been convicted by court for defamation!

    Don’t let them intimidate you or WordPress. I think obtaining some advice on International Law that may govern this sort of situations may be a good action. This may be the first but surely won’t be the last such case, as popularity of WordPress grows you may want to be ready for situations like this with law behind you.

  31. It is terrible, but world pressure seems to work on the Turkish Cadre more than it does here in China on the Party…

    At least you have not been blocked from having an after-life: We now have to ask permission to reincarnate…

    I hope the blockade ends soon…

  32. The whole site banned because of some sites were unleashing the facts behind Harun Yahya (a.k.a. Adnan Oktar) and his criminal organisation.

  33. This explain a lot about the angry e-mails I’ve got from people in Turkey some time ago. A few of these blogs are using a theme that I have made the original design for, and at some point some people thought that the theme design credits meant that I was writing some of these blogs…

    The mistake was of course quickly sorted out after a simple explanation, but it was obvious that the entire situation was larger than the typical theme credit misunderstandings that happen every now and then. I’m happy to finally understand why, but at the same time it is a scary story. The e-mails were not very nice, lots of threats for legal action and citing of different laws. I hope it all turns out well, censorship is never good!

    If you want to know more about my point of view, write me an e-mail and I’ll share the details…

  34. This act of “burning ther blankert to kill a flea” is to be condemned for sure. Thus, I share the sentimernts expressed by the others commenters in that respect.

    I , however take issue with those holding Harun Yahya solely responsible. This time Hatrun Yahya, last time Kemalist state ideology , nez time someone else. I can empathize with someone who feels he she) was slandered or defamed. It is the responsibility of the legislators and the juducial system to balance out the individual rights and the public’s rights as a whole. I am not privy to the specifics of what transpired btween the two zealots , i.e. Harun Yahya and Edip Yuksel, nor do care to be. A surgical solution in tjis inmstance would be very easy to achierve technologically. I do not think it is the laws that forced judge’sc hand. Because I seriously doubt that the laws pertainin to the freedom of information and communication is so fine tuned as to differentiate a blog and a SP hosting such; that leaves a lot of discretion to the judge. And he (she) uses his immense ignorance reaching such emabarrasing decree. That is my take on it.

  35. This is now news at the front page of one of the top newspapers in Turkey.

    http://www.sabah.com.tr/haber,47DFF3C3297F480784372C02E5BE96AD.html

    The article mentions that there is a major outcry to this block at Turkey. They are also mentioning about Matt’s announcement on the letter he received from Oktar’s lawyers. We are hoping this will greatly help spread this news throughout Turkey and hopefully other national media outlets will also pick it up. Ironically, this will cause many more people at Turkey to know about WordPress, who have not heard about it before.

  36. The comments left here are a microcosm of how things in general are handled in Turkey. A lot of confusion, the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is not doing, and a whole lot of a comedy of errors. And actually fixing things to make them worse when they are broken. Embarrassing is an understatement. Tragic?

  37. Can Matt or someone else update us on what is the latest about this situation?

    Has there been any contacts with Turkish authorities to resolve the matter? Any suggestions from lawyers familiar with international internet laws perhaps?

    Is it true as stated in the letters from the lawyers that WordPress has been contacted numerous times but has not responded? While the person in question is clearly not someone who can be defended in any way, it seems that any accusations of defamation should be taken seriously, regardless who the person is. What is the policy on this here?

    This is a very unfortunate situation and we hope it is resolved so that millions from Turkey can have access to WordPress blogs again. It would be great to get some answers as to what is your plan of action or if you guys have made any decisions on this matter yet.

  38. Matt, can you update us on what is going on with this block? Many of the Turkish bloggers at WordPress are discussing of moving their blogs to another location and are currently kept in dark on what will really happen or happening. Will this block be permanent? Is there some discussion with Turkish authorities to unblock it? Do you need help from the Turkish community for lawyers at Turkey or simple translations?

    You asked about what to do about this in your other post but haven’t really updated on what you guys have decided to do, have you given up even? It seems to me that there should at least be some explanation at this point to thousands of people who have trusted WordPress to be accessible from Turkey.

    When many of the sites here seen as restricted by law from Turkey, to most people who don’t know the real situation, it is giving the impression the bystander sites have been involved in some illegal activity. This in my opinion is damaging the reputation of thousands of bloggers here in the eyes of people accessing the site from Turkey. Is this a reason for class action against the Turkish courts? What is the plan? Can you please provide some answers to us?

  39. You can also access wordpress from Turkey going first http://www.kproxy.com and then entering http://www.wordpress.com (or any other site) in their window.

    I spoke with one of Oktar’s attorney’s… he claimed that Turk Telekom didn’t have the technology to block only one or two sites, or to block sites that use Oktar’s name, etc. WordPress is also not the only site blocked. All of Edip Yuksel’s sites are also blocked (www.19.org, http://www.yahyaharun.com, http://www.yuksel.org). He is emerging as something of a hero and victim in this situtation, but he is extremely antagonistic toward Christians, for example.

  40. I think that it’s TIME we support these people. Freedom of expression is an individual right and every THINKING person has a right to it. It’s sad that Turkish authorities think that censorship of the internet would “help”. It will only exacerbate the “want” of people to access more information. I say UPHOLD FREE EXPRESSION in the planet!

  41. Yes, there are some bigotry religious people in Turkey and they don’t like being criticized for “thinking people”. This is only lack of knowledge of lawyers about “what is internet”…

  42. Turkish government has a new law about blocking the sites -which has not been started to be practiced yet- for these kind of court decisions.

    Firstly: The site (related to the decision) must be noticed about the decision.

    Second, the site will be blocked (particularly -subdomain-) after a reasonable time.

    So there is a very new presidency about this and they are still researching stages about judicial blocking without censorship.

    I am not interested in Adnan Oktar but if there is a court decision, it must be executed with reasonable ways. Not by blocking the whole site without warning, of course.

    BUT from now on the WordPress should want a copy of the court decision, – as YouTube did once, just like in Brasil or in a local Australian court decisions – then block that page only… The users problem is not with the WordPress’ but with Turkey’s internal laws and also other international laws which Turkey accepted.

    Temporarily, this is the right thing to do, I think, as Youtube did with its law dep. in Turkey a few months ago…

  43. This wont stop the problem, i hear this also is happening in China, as i said this wont stop the problem at all.

    Also do Turkish people know they can use proxy services? :D

  44. Can we see a copy of the court decision? I have seen several court decisions, and the courts never closes a domain altogether. There must be a mistake. I would be interested to obtain a copy, if available.

  45. I was not aware of this until I recently tried to view CNN’s Political Ticker section. I got the usual access has been suspended message and could not believe my eyes. I wrote to a corporate lawyer in Turk Telekom and he replied explaining the ban on WordPress. CNN Political Ticker uses WordPress too so same ban applies. This is unbelievably stupid and makes me so ashamed of my country. Saddest part is that the guy in question is a well known hoax, a false prophet who feeds on wealthy youngsters. I doubt anything written about him was false to begin with. Even if it were, it makes no sense at all to shutdown the entire site. I have no idea how this works, but it seems to me that, once you are banned, you are banned for good. If you had any presence in Turkey you would of course take legal action and easily win, but since you aren`t here, there is probably nothing you can do. I will talk to my lawyer friends and post again if something comes up.

  46. I suppose they will never open it again. We’re gonna stay without wordpress around here.

    It has been 2 months since they blocked it. Some months ago they even closed You Tube but just for a couple of days, as soon as You Tube admin was able to remove the incriminate video. I just don’t get this aggressive behaviour towards WP.

  47. Here all Turkish surfers can find the solution for all their “so to say great firewall” problem. It is easy to fix with DNS management. Go WordPress…

    Please visit the following adres for details of adjustment(in Turkish)
    http://www.macgunu.com/dns-ayarlari.html

    Turkish Translation: WordPress ve benzeri mahkeme karariyla engellenen sitelere girmek için DNS ayarlarinizi düzenlemeniz gerekmektedir. Asagidaki linkten yapmaniz gerekenleri resimli ve detayli bir sekilde ögrenebilirsiniz.
    http://www.macgunu.com/dns-ayarlari.html

  48. WordPress blocked after lawyers complained that a number of blogs hosted by WordPress were libellous of Islamic creationist author Adnan Oktar.

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