Turkey Update

The folks responsible for blocking WordPress.com in Turkey have issued a press release, here’s some snippets.

As it is known by public, the entry of the publications to Turkey of the blog service named “woldpress.com” that gives the opportunity of opening free site to internet users is interrupted with the judgement. This judgement is applied on 17.8.2007 and thus the entery of worldpress.com service and the publications of all sub-sites which takes service from this service to Turkey is interrupted.

aI wish they had blocked worldpress.com instead. They seem proud that they blocked all the sites instead of just the ones that they consider illegal under Turkish law.

The reason of this suspention, is that the limitlessly enable to illegal publications of the mentioned blog service, not taking to notice about the suspention of the applications and ignoring the judgements that are given by the Turkish courts related to the suspention of known sub-sites. The free and uncontrolled opportunities provided by the mentioned service are directed baleful people to this service and in a short time wordpress.com is returned to the voice and publication center of separatist-disastrous ideologies, private hostilities, illegal targets.

As far as I know, we never received any notice from Turkish courts about anything, only barely coherent threats and bully-attempts written much like the above.

Thus before ABOUT 17 TÄ°MES we have appealed to the mentioned site administration for the suspention of the unlawful publications , but the site administration did not take any caution about these publications.(one of our applications is published in their sites) Thereon about our applications RELATED WITH THE SUB SITES THAT ABUSE OUR CLIENT’S PERSONAL RIGHTS the Turkish courts have given numerous judgements for the closing of the illegal sub-sites which are broadcasting under WordPress. These judgements are delivered to the center of the mentioned firm in USA and to the agency in Turkey, this time the suspention of the illegal publications according to the judgements of the Turkish courts is asked. BUT, IN SPITE OF THE ALL WRITTEN AND ORAL APPLICATIONS, THE MENTIONED FIRM AND ITS AGENCIES ARE NOT AFFILIATE OUR REQUIREMENTS AND THE JUDGEMENTS OF THE TURKISH COURTS AND THEY INSISTED ON APPLYING.

Just to clarify when they said they contacted us 17 times, that means that they would blast the same email to multiple address and when they didn’t get the reply they wanted they sent the same message over and over again.

In addition to some blogs they complained about, their main request was that we block the name of their client being used by any blog hosted by our site, much like you can’t write “democracy” on blogs hosted by MSN Spaces in China. I’m going to skip some bits to the threat at the end:

There is a lesson which all blog services and internet service providers should take from this judgement. Blog services, especially the ones that give free service, should be careful about the sites that are illegally active through their firms. These services should not remain insensitive to the complints that they receive and especially to the judgements. It is certain that the services which behave opppositely will meet with the same enforcement that WordPress met.

So if you don’t disallow certain words being used on your blogs, you’ll be punitively punished through our state-controlled ISP. Today those words are “Adnan Oktar.” Who knows what they’ll be tomorrow.

121 thoughts on “Turkey Update

  1. Okay, it really sucks that they’re acting this way, but there is no way around it currently, because they think that they’ve been wronged. Obviously, we all know that they haven’t.

    Unlike them, WordPress.com seems to understand freedom of speech. It’s perfectly logical for them to block anything that can possibly upset them, because giving people freedom to say whatever they want is quite frightening to most countries like that.

    Of course, the words that they want blocked will change with time. In a couple of years, it won’t be “Adnan Oktar” but some other politcal leader. Or maybe “kittens,” because cats will surely destory their peace of mind when they realize they can’t control them either. ;D

  2. Oh well… it seems like there’s nothing you can do. So why even bother, they obviously made up their mind.

    Does anyone know the structure of ISP in Turkey. How big percentage of turkish users are accessing wordpress.com thru state-owned ISP, does anyone know?

  3. We in Pakistan had a similiar issue with blogspot, which made quite a few people move to wordpress.com instead (or wordpress hosted). You can know the history at dbtb.org.

    State Censorship is just bad, but more and more companies are falling prey to it (ie MSN, Google). Whether you fall to the pressure is still unknown.

  4. I guess I better stop using “George Bush” or “Larry Page” in my articles as I might be condemned by the Turkish government or like government’s if I continue…


  5. I’d say, don’t waste your time with them. It’s obvious Turkey doesn’t have a serious legal system. The fact that they never contacted you even though they say they tried dozens of time, and write official press releases full of errors and mistakes (they don’t even get the domain name they blocked right) only confirms this.

    What’s even more sad is that this country has been wanting to join the European Union since 1987, while twenty years later they still don’t comply.

  6. Dietrich, to clarify this message was NOT from the government of Turkey, but from the lawyers for Adnan Oktar. I think the judge or government official involved was probably misled, I can’t imagine they’d want to block all of WordPress.com when they could easily block just a domain or two.

  7. Gwen Stefani (lifelong friend believe it or not but that’s irrelevant to my comment) agreed to wear different clothes to “un-ban” her performances in Malaysia.

    FYI Yahoo story:

    This kind of unfounded judgement and censorship will probably be around long after you and I are dead and in the ground. Of course I will be there first LOL. You are a young dude!!! Sorry, you probably hate hearing that. That’s the last time I swear.

    Good luck with Turkey. I’m with Lorelle that WordPress.com is the bomb choice for blogging.

  8. Can any Turkish users confirm the status of the block? Is it still preventing access to all wordpress.com sites, or just a few?

  9. Has anyone ever met or spoken to any one of these individuals?

    “Slightly distorted” comes to my mind… but that only means that it is “slightly distorted” based on my frame of reference…

    “They” have a vastly different “frame of reference” than most of the people outside of their country. Certainly, something I can easily define as “slightly distorted”.

    … and Mr. Matt?
    Why, do you bother to pay any attention to this at all…?

    I certainly feel bad for those in Turkey that find themselves at the unfortunate hands of someone who can single-handedly manipulate an entire nation’s judicial system to stop his/her personal “sticks and stones”.

    I know the “huffing and puffing” is just bustin’ for it…

    but this is nothing more than childish “posturizing”… Too much testosterone in a confined space… it’s enough to give anyone a headache… and usually does.

  10. This is by far the most shameful event happened in our country – let me remind that our “smart” government blocked YouTube once. And now the blog of Flickr is blocked, too. Interestingly, no explanation about that one.

    Adnan Oktar and their followers sum up to (at most) thousands. Turkiye’s population is above 70 millions. Yes, our “brilliant” government said Adnan Oktar is right and “Turkiye blocked WordPress.com”, but I can say at least this one proudly: None, repeating, NONE of the bloggers in Turkiye (including every bloggers from every blogging systems such as Blogger, Blogcu (tr), iBlog etc.) think Adnan Oktar or their followers OR OUR GOVERNMENT is right about this situation. Also, our president says “If you don’t like my thoughts and else, you may leave the country!” Yeah, Turkiye is in a wicked, twisted condition right now.

    I apologize again and again for my government, and for Adnan Oktar, and everyone else done everything wrong. But you have to get used to it like us, because Turkiye is drifting far far away from democracy and secularism.

  11. I wonder if they block the domain wordpress.com (meaning other domain names work) or IP’s of wordpress.com servers? I wonder if a cat/mouse game of different domains would get around their countrywide firewall.

  12. Chewxy:

    Is it just me, or is their spelling really atrocious

    Cut ’em some slack – they’re working in a non-native language with a different alphabet. Hell, plenty of us in the English-speaking world can’t be bothered to spell correctly on the web, so why should we expect it from them?

    If only their government would give them the freedom to fine-tune their English spelling on WordPress.com blogs… 🙁

  13. There are reports from Albania that they cannot access WP.com sites either, because much of their access goes through Turkey.

    Turkey did this to YouTube as well; they backed down. What was the procedure there, other than generating massive outrage within Turkey? I mean, you don’t come between people and their Coolio videos.

  14. Matthew,

    I believe that the most direct way of dealing with a problem as this, irrespective of the country in-focus, is to get in touch with the ‘Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’, which functions under the Government’s Department of Technology.

  15. Back in May 2007, a less well known South African politician, Patricia de Lille (leader of the Independent Democrats) became aware of a wordpress.com blog which insulted a handful of South Africans who like to think they’re well known.

    One of the people targeted was Simon Grindrod, Caucus leader of the ID. This prompted her to call for the regulation of (South African) bloggers. She was shot down.

    She, and various lawyers and journalists, announced that anyone linking to the wordpress.com blog would be liable for publishing libel. She (and the others) were resisted and bloggers published the url all over.

    It was an interesting saga and it’s not yet wound up. The identity of the wordpress.com blogger is still unknown, although, the media (and other bloggers) decided they knew who it was and published the name of the “culprit”. So far, though, they have no evidence to prove their allegations.

    It doesn’t seem likely that South African Internet users will ever be censored or prevented from accessing parts of the Internet. However, I won’t be taking any chances – Patricia de Lille will never have my vote.

  16. some people says to “poor Trukish people”, we are not poor and blocked wordpress is not our people only goverment wants to them and our goverment only bloecked , doesnot kill other people..

  17. It’s the government and their methods of censorship which is still active since ages. Well, I hope there are still Turkish bloggers having self-hosted wordpress blogs.

  18. We are just thankful that they didn’t blocked our whole internet access. Actions like these are similar to those of which our mothers say : (covering childs eye)”Oh, Don’t look at this!”.

    For information, most of the internet users in Turkiye have to use TurkTelekom as their ISP. However some lucky ones like me connects internet via university’s own ISP structure. So YouTube or WP wasn’t blocked for small amount of people.

  19. This is going way out of hand. As a Turkish blogger, I say you should sue Turkey for all the pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses. And other Turkish users should go to court claiming that their freedom of speech is being obstructed for something they did not do.

  20. A media agency I techically produce had same “issues” with filtering from both Tunisia and Turkey, caused by some arguments similar to yours.. But we were lucky, they had filtered just the main IP, and not even https traffic, so we managed some special mirrors worlwide… and no more effective ban until now. 🙂

    Hope you’ll have some ideas to bypass your filtering too. My solid, keep on.

  21. I’m from Turkey. You may already know, as a result of the elections, unfortunately the religious extremist party AKP has come to power and now they are trying to turn our country into a mind prison..Let alone banning ISP’s, they are sending writers to prison or getting them fired from their jobs.

    It is a tragic comedy that EU and USA support this anti-democratic religious party in every way.

  22. this is unbelievable! being a WP blogger IN Turkey i’ve been following (& writing about) this since the start — and YES we are still blocked!

    Matt, can i ask you how you came by this press release? did they send it to you or was it published elsewhere. if so, where? would be useful to know in my next piece on this.

    …as for the English, i’d presume it’s translated somewhere along the line, or by themselves. did they send it to you in that form Matt? (i.e. in English)

  23. The claimant Adnan Oktar is known as an evangelist defender of anti-darwinism in Turkey. He also uses “Adnan Hodja” as a public name in order to influence the local religious community. 5-10 years ago one of his companions MD.Oktar Babuna (might also be himself) pretended to be to be sick and collected large numbers of blood&medulla sample from Turkish community. Then, all the samples got lost somehow!! Now, you get the picture right?

    As a turkish citizen, I’m very pissed of this juridical verdict. How could they took this guy seriously?

    Besides, I’m lecturing at a college and using wordpress to host our course blog. Unfortunately, for almost 10 days my site says; “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’m totally aggrieved because of some possessed guy!

    The saddest thing is; unlike the suspension of youtube, the turkish mass media doesn’t care about wordpress. I hope the court will revise it’s verdict as soon as possible.

  24. They spammed 4-5 email addresses with it, just like they used to with their complaints. It was already in English, I didn’t translate it.

  25. Thank you for keeping up updated. And thank you for hanging in there. I am sure it is quite annoying for such a big deal to be made out of such a small issue.

    I applaud you and WordPress for the fora you provide for people to express themselves, whether they are right or wrong. The growing influence and relevance of the blogosphere — which you are helping to expand– will be one of our civilization’s turning points.


  26. Things are not perfect in Turkey. But come on people, please stop regurgitating stereotypes about Turkish government or state; this whole thing came about thru a civil suit (a libel claim by A. Oktar). Matt (8/25, 4:14 pm) is right: the court was probably misled(left in the dark about the multitudes of non-Oktar-related WP blogs that’d be affected by a total ban). The strange thing is, how come there wasn’t anybody to point that out to the judge(s).

    Matt, I am no lawyer, but wouldn’t you (i.e., WP) expect to be heard by the court before a total ban is issued on your blogs? By a proper court order to appear (or something other than threatening letters from private attorneys)? How would you have approached the problem if this had happened in, say, Italy or France? I hope WP is making money already, and can seek representation in Turkey to follow legal recourse. In partnership, maybe, with local stakeholder groups…

  27. This is typical of the minority of closed-minded individuals forcing their will on others.

    Matt, if this is at all important to you, it should be handled by a legal firm with experience in cases such as this.

    The government officials (who signed this decree in) may well have been misled or not aware of the full particulars and a formal notice requesting it be removed on appropriate grounds has every chance of being heard by the Turkish Legal system.

    If the complainant gets away with this, without impact, it will likely embolden further actions.

  28. I don’t know if everybody has been patient enough with the poor English of the various attorney letters Matt has been quoting from, but I read some original Turkish ones. It is unmistakeably clear that they intended to strong-arm WP by a total ban, and they are proud and almost bragging for having thus given a lesson to free blogging service providers. The chances are, the court was more than misled; it probably was convinced that this was a totally appropriate punishment to an irreverent, harmful foreign entity. This, in good part, goes to show that the Internet is poorly understood in Turkey. I can’t imagine a Turkish court dishing out similar treatment to an established foreign printed media organ, say, the NY Times, because of a reporter’s breaking Turkish laws every now and then in the NYT pages. The judge(s) wouldn’t take the bait although the NYT, with all its editorial oversight, would arguably have been more culpable than a free platform like WordPress. Furthermore, should the NYT’s entry into and distribution within Turkey be similarly banned, who would care? Beside the absurdity of it all, where is the Turkish constituency affectedfrom this as innocent by-standers? In the case of this WordPress ban, on the other hand, there is significant such constituency (Matt should bother thus, Greg 8/25 6:40 pm).

    All in all, while there is a lot going for WordPress community’s (and all freedom loving people’s) rightful indignation about this ban, there is also something to be said about sovereign countries’ right to enforce their laws within their borders. If I were providing such free worldwide services, I would be careful about the ToS (in order not to promise too much to my users, and to extricate myself out of legal liabilities in other countries). Contrary to popular conceptions, the Internet is not a borderless entity with separate laws upon itself. Such enforcement of country A’s laws upon an Internet company based in and serving from country B, is not unseen. Maybe they cannot make you remove the contested materials unless they sue you where you’re based, but they sure can filter your content. Assuming targeted filtering, there is no legal arguement against that. In the case of a court decision about a civil libel suit, there is not even an ideological arguement against that (like lack of democracy or freedom of speech).

    And, Matt, if I got it right, the attorneys were demanding removal of subdomain names composed of adnan, oktar, harun and yahya; not necessarily crossing out of them in page contents (as in ‘democracy’ in pages served to China).

  29. Mr. or Ms. lllolll (8/26, 7:06 pm), if you are so affected by this total ban, why don’t you go to court to end it? By enlisting the services of the legal department of your college/university for example? How about also claiming punitive damages (against Turk Telekom or the Ministry of Justice for this ill-advised ban)?

    Don’t get me wrong please. I totally symphatize with you. But it’s almost like only bad guys have the money, time, and other resources (including the will to fight) to pull such stunts. The good guys seem to complain about their condition for the most part.

  30. Istanbul is last stop for old judges before retirement. They’re all too old (to rock and roll and) to learn web technologies. They’re also too busy to research for this kind of “childish” issues. That means, if someone requests for a domain blocking to any Istanbul court, judge (probably) think like that: “There may be any risk for society (or for my carrier at last minutes), let me block now, some other one fix it anyhow”.

    Turkey needs experiented lawyers about internet and web technologies urgently. Istanbul is second “lawyer-crowded” city in the world after Pekin, but you can’t find a qualified lawyer if you need one about cyber-crimes.

    So, you can read this Turkish article about it: http://www.derkenar.com/internet/internet-ve-yasakci-mantik.asp

  31. Censorship is a big problem in many countries of the world. Not only in Turkey.

    So thanks a lot to the guys from WordPress.com that you are offering this great service.

  32. The situation has been resolved, apparently, cos i was able to log into my fav. turkish blogs that uses wordpress without bypassing thru a proxy. I don’t know when this happend, probably some hours ago cos i wasn’t able to gain access last night…FYI

    I’m currently a student in Northern Cyprus and 90% of internet owners here use Turk Telekom as their ISP. The EVIL ACT also affected CNN Political Blog, cos they use worpress hosted blogs. Sad. BUT thankfully we’re now able to access so that means the bloack has been suspended

  33. Nihat, they wanted all blogs with those words in the domain removed, a code change to prevent anyone from registering them in the future, and a code change preventing anyone from using those as tags, which to me is the same as saying you can’t use it in a post.

  34. Matt, is this requested code change possible?
    “a code change to prevent anyone from registering them in the future, and a code change preventing anyone from using those tags”

  35. You should check the Blogspot.com sites about Adnan Oktar. Blogger did not say “THE MENTIONED FIRM AND ITS AGENCIES ARE NOT AFFILIATE OUR REQUIREMENTS AND THE JUDGEMENTS OF THE TURKISH COURTS” or something like that. They closed thet type insulting blogs. Because insulting someone and allowing the insult don’t mean democracy or freedom.

  36. @Yasin

    The books and websites of Harun Yahya clearly shows that HY is a dishonest liar and fraud. It is not a crime to say liar to a liar. HY wants nobody to talk about his lies. He can tell millions of lies in books and websites but nobody can tell the truth and show that he is a bad liar.

    For example in my blog I tell the truth about HY’s lies. “This is this and that is that, but HY says the opposite and accuses others of lying about it.” and I conclude “HY is fooling people as I told. So he is a liar.” HY thinks this is insulting. Funny ha?

    BTW my blog is not in the list they sent to Matt. I write about evolution-creation topic. I reveal his lies about evolution but I don’t assert anything without evidence. Everything is crystal clear.

  37. Matt as it is asked above is it technically possible to change the script of wordpress to apply what they want?
    If it is so this means there is still hope for us.
    I definetly defend freedom of speech yet I am not sure this is the case.
    As it is understood from Da Vinci’s post, HY is not against criticism, but he is against defamatory, insulting blogs which are part of a specific defamation campaign. This should be the reason why they didn’t report DaVinci’s evolution-creation blog to you. this looks not so insane.

  38. elturki, the script changes demanded are possible. But should they be implemented is another question. I wouldn’t implement them if I were in Matt’s shoes. For such would be prejudicial on future WP users.

    If your understanding of Da Vinci’s comment (i.e., his blog being spared from the black list because it is legitimate critique, not defamation) is right, I concur, it should be a good sign. As far as I understand, A. Oktar and Edip Yuksel (the person allegedly behind the black-listed WP blogs) have been in a kind of blood feud. So, there may be some slyness behind “our freedom of speech” rhetoric of those blog owners.

  39. This is according to WordPress TOS:

    The Content is not obscene, libelous or defamatory (more info on what that means), hateful or racially or ethnically objectionable, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party; and

    And here is the definition of demation as linked from WordPress TOS:


    The question then is, are these blogs that are unwanted defamatory according to WordPress TOS and above defintion or not?

  40. @elturki, Nihat

    But 1 year ago my former blog was blocked in Turkey by court decision. And it was about evolution/creation topic. HY doesn’t want anyone to say that he is lying about something. He quotes something from a scientist and manipulates the quote and he concludes “scientists are making forgery”, “scientist are fraud”, “scientists are confessing that evolution is wrong” and so on…

    He is the liar. He is the fraud. But he accuses scientist of lying and making forgery for deceiving people about evolution. And when you call him liar or fraud he applies to court and wants the website to be blocked.

  41. Matt, and others. Although it’s heartbreaking to hear that a government has decided to block and/or filter content and services from their population — it points out the harsh realities that we must face as well.

    The reality is — that in order for those populations to overcome what we consider ideologically oppressive, they must rise-up themselves within their own borders, and against their own government.

    I often feel that it’s a strange dichotomy that unfolds internationally, wherein on one hand — people in other countries desperately want us to help them when they’re being oppressed, but yet, they never help themselves and turn the blame on us if we don’t help.

    It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ kind of thing.

    Don’t burn-up your resources, Matt, for a country who must take it upon themselves to rise-up.

  42. I haven’t had any problems accessing my blog or any other wordpress blogs. Obviously this is all very strange, but lets not forget they blocked Youtube last year because someone outside of Turkey said something negative about Ataturk.

    So my question is. Am I just lucky that wordpress isn’t blocked in my office building, or can everyone access it?

  43. Kelly, if your office’s ISP is probably not Turk Telekom (Are you using some university facilities?)

    Daniel, is it because the dispute is about foreign-language content that the matter has to be political or ideological? This one is not ideological; it came about thru a civil court decision regarding a private person’s libel claim against a handful of WP blogs. That said, I am all for concerned Turkish citizens’ taking this upon themselves. For the verdict of total ban didn’t distinguish multitudes of legitimate WP blogs and users from the handful of offending ones. Innocent people are harmed in small to big ways. This should constitute basis for legal counter-action, even with damage claims against the inconsiderate court (i.e., Ministery of Justice) and possibly Turk Telekom also.

    Everybody (including mself above) has given Matt abundant advice. Here is another one from me… If I were in Matt’s shoes, I would take any court determination of libel at face value. Wouldn’t you take it so if it came from an American, French, or British court? (Still, I sort of understand his hesitation here. All contact with him appears to be thru the plaintiff’s attorneys, hardly an unbiased source of information.)

  44. @Daniel

    Government is not blocking wordpress.com. In Turkey government doesn’t have a right to do that. You need a court decision to block a website. IOW it is a matter of law.

    Turkey will enter EU. This is unavoidable.


    Unless you use Turk Telecom DNS addresses, you can access wordpress.com

  45. Da Vinci (8/29, 12:47 am), I totally understand what you’re saying. The demagoguery ways of the creationists are well documented. They are working hard, world over, to turn science on its head; funny and sad at the same time, they are most successful in Turkey and America. This AO/HY person is apparently very adept in using courts to assist him. But this WP ban is essentially a hostage situation. Shouldn’t saving the hostages be the first aim? Bad-mouthing the hostage taker, no matter how much he deserves it, is not going to help.

    Actually, such bans on free, pooled web-service providers in various countries will potentially push many people to get their own domain names and hosting services. Good apples wanting their own, individual baskets? I know at least one affected WP blogger from Turkey working just on that. These bloggers may continue to use WP blogging platform on their own sites, but is that a loss for WP at the end of the day? I don’t know their business model…

    All in all, a very interesting dilemma this is. There are so many different angles to approach it.

  46. This is fascinating. I’ve been wondering how things were going in Turkey since the elections. My husband and I had a wonderful visit there last year (even though I had many concerned friends and family wondering how Americans would be treated there!) The people, culture and food were unexpectedly fab! We had a great time and send many good wishes for the Turkish people. This blocked wordpress issue is downright disprectful towards the general Turkish public’s intelligence and freedom.

  47. @ DaVinci
    Who is blocking WordPress.com, if not the government — per government decision-making? No matter who has flipped the ‘switch’, it was brought-on by the government itself.

    @ Nihat
    I don’t feel Matt has any legal possibilities over another government’s decision. What I do feel, however, is that the people of Turkey need to address the issue with their government — and not look to others to do that for them.

    You see, when we as Americans are asked to step-in to a situation elsewhere in the world — and by the request of the people — we find ourselves in a bind. On one hand, we would love to help them, because they — you — are our fellow human beings living on this same planet.

    But on the other hand. When we do take actions to help, we end-up locked in a struggle where we are perceived as the ‘evil force’ for doing only what was asked, and because we had those resources.

    I, for one, am tired. I am tired of people asking for help and then stabbing us in the back.

    My only suggestion to Matt, is that this is not his fight.

  48. Daniel, I never saw this as “Oh, Matt (Americans), please help us.” Are you conflating things here? There is quite a lot to be legislatively rectified in the laws that bring such bans in Turkey. And, that’s a matter for Turks to handle. I don’t suggest otherwise. In any case, I understand how you feel.

    Here in this forum, I try to look at this from Matt’s perspective. Not to patronize or anything, but I sympathize with him; I toyed myself with content hosting service ideas, and backed off from them due to various reasons…

    WordPress TOS accepts libel as grounds for removal of content, or termination of a blog. The question is simple: how does WordPress make a determination that there is libel? Especially if the content in question is in a foreign language?

    I have previously alluded to that WordPress might have some business interest at stake in this dispute (and similar cross-border disputes). I am not going to theorize on that anymore. But the lesson for apolitical users at large is unmistakable: use service providers that are represented in your country or that listen to your country’s court orders, lest you are caught up in the net of disputes between other persons.

  49. there doesn’t seem to be any new info on this. is that it then? wordpress is blocked forever in turkey? my friend has found me a way to tunnel in through a remote server but that’s not a solution!

  50. Nihat,

    I respectively disagree with your logic. I read through your entire reply to Jim’s post on his site, linked above.

    What you fail to understand, and where I specifically am coming from in this debate — is that Matt is doing the appropriate thing by not taking any action what-so-ever.

    By not taking action, he is remaining defiant in the fact that he is NOT limiting the Turkish people’s right to free speech — and he is pointing out at the same time, that this is NOT his fight!

    The Turkish bloggers who have been completely banned from WITHIN their own network are the ones who must fight in court — not WordPress! Not Matt! The PEOPLE of TURKEY whose rights have been trampled by their OWN government and leaders!

  51. PS: If the good Turkish people, who are having their rights trampled by their own government refuse to challenge their own government — how far will it go before they have no rights left?

    You must understand. Even in our own country — do we go after the Chinese legally because they block our content from their population? No. Why?

    But… If our own government were to be responsible, for say — illegal wire-tapping that violates our civil rights to privacy and freedom of speech — we have every right to go after our own government.

    Change must start from within. You cannot expect someone from the outside to take a stance, when it was not that entity that challenged the people in the first place. In this case, it is the Turkish government that has taken away the rights of its own people.

  52. “Daniel: My only suggestion to Matt, is that this is not his fight.”

    This is very careless comment. How he says this is not your problem? You are the one accused to give opportunity to legally-banned sites via your service and you are the one who had to take an action at that point (either in legal platform or via reconciliation) . And this man recommends you to bury your head in the sand.
    Matt if you let the issue unsolved and not to seek a way of urgent solution for the sake of all Turkish bloggers, you will began to lose your credit in the eye of bloggers. Everybody aware of that the solution is under your finger tip. Don’t think that everybody applauding you since you are challenging the judical decisions. If you are determined to remain unresponsive to the issue, I recommend you to remove all the phrases related to defamation issues from your TOS since nobody _including you_ cares them.

  53. I am very disappointed at Matt’s response at above interview. On the one hand he is giving us the rhetoric that they will never limit the Turkish bloggers’ freedom of speech at WP, on the other hand he is saying they are not thinking at all on what to do in order to protect the freedom of speech of 20-30 thousand Turkish bloggers, let alone 12 million people from Turkey who would have accessed these and a million other sites.

    I understand the principle and defiance but it just seems to me that Matt is more interested in making a stand than truly caring about thousands of Turkish bloggers. His response appears more in line of “it’s not our problem if your country blocked us, go deal with it”.

    I like to pose this question, if WordPress was blocked let’s say in some major country in Europe, as some other sites like Yahoo have been in France, would this still be the stance of WP, i.e. we are not going to do anything about it?

    I am not trying to blame Matt or WP for the situation, but the solution to this horrendous problem for Turkish bloggers really can most easily come from WP, IF you guys start thinking how to resolve it. You can bet everyone would be behind you if you for example started a media blitz and have a lawyer challenge this stance. If money is the issue you can ask for donations and I am sure many Turkish bloggers will also find lawyers in Turkey for helping you on this.

    In my opinion inaction on part of WP goes completely contrary to the very principle you are trying to protect.

    Ali ( a Turkish Blogger)

  54. As a EU citizen, I’ve emailed a few people from the European Commission that are dealing with Turkey’s efforts to join the EU, and have received the acknowledgment that they are looking into this. I will continue my dialogue with the EU officials, and I’ll keep sending them updates about this situation. I hope they can push some diplomatic-level solution for this. I’ll publish the updates in communication on my blog (link above).

  55. As I said before, I get your drift. But if we need to be preaching past each other, I am out. Suffice it to say, I too respectfully disagree.

  56. Turkey’s ISP in NOT state controlled. But any other company they obey court’s decisions.

    This is not a state controled ban Adnan Oktar sued WP.

    Only point is Turkish “online crimes” can’t tell difference between wwww.wordpress.com and anything.wordpress.com Praticly domain owner is responsible for antthing written in web site which is acessed with that domain.

    Turkey is China.

  57. Daniel,

    The Turkish gov’t DIDN’T block the site. One crank & his lawyers exploiting the Turkish legal system DID. Your connection of one (possiby ill-informed) judge’s interpretation of the law and the upper-echelons of the state/gov’t policy is, quite frankly, lame. So every judge across the US speaks FOR the federal gov’t? So what took so long in getting the US Supreme Court to reduce the time limit for certain types of abortion. Weren’t the highest judges in the land “on message” until Bush wedged in his own boys?

    The Turkısh gov’t, as most of the world’s press and especially US company CNN (as another victim), are seemıngly bissfully ignorant there remains an urgent need to make this travesty of justice apparent by making as much noise as possible. Not finger-pointing and playing the blame game. That can only be done through debate and dialogue which leads to getting the word out. Nihat’s possible hint towards WP/Matt being a little bit more vocal/pro-active on the issue — on my site, a view which I have come to share — is part of a long & lengthy protracted debate (below various different posts there, if you read them all) that it would help somewhat… True, there needs to be someone to challenge it. No one’s asking the US to save us all, BUT WP, as the company behind the site that is blocked does not equate with the US !! The thrust of the debate on my site is that WP could wade in & challenge what could well be a “scam” on Oktar’s lawyers’ part. Any challenge needs knowledge of Turkish law and, therefore, Turkish lawyers. Laywers cost money. So Turkish WP bloggers having to pay financially on top of their loss of freedom of speech is also expected? An absence on the ground in Turkey of WP representation isn’t grounds for a “oh, please help us America, please!” argument… But, as we desperately piece together the pieces of this legal jigsaw (as is the ongoing debate), it is grounds for “at what point are you gonna step in and back us?” WP, that is — not the whole of the US. We don’t give a monkey’s what country WP is from. Your “rising up against the Turkish gov’t” hollow rhetoric echoes the many Bushisms defending the failing wars in Iraq & Afghanistan where, er, the US wasn’t exactly invited either.

  58. I totally agree with Jim, Nihat and Ali. The lawsuit was against wordpress.com, not the Turkish bloggers. So I’d expect wordpress to be much more active on this. Not because we want help from the US, but because wordpress hosts our pages. And I think they would very much like to increase the population of their Turkish bloggers.

    My blog’s content is not blocked. Theoretically, I can take it to another blogging site or a domain. Why would I suffer more? (I plan to stay as much as possible, as I liked being here, but that’s not the point) So, basicly, wordpress needs to much more responsive to the situation if they’d like to retain the existing Turkish bloggers and add new ones.

  59. Seeing some comments, I wanted to clarify what happened:

    Someone applies to the court saying s/he is insulted at a website. The internet-dummy court looks at it and agrees with the application. And says ISP to ban the site. This case should have been brought to internet ‘crime’ department (whatever it’s called) for proper handling.

    The government has nothing to do with the court decision as Turkish judicial system is seperate and free from the government.

    But then, it ends up like this. So far as I know, this censorship didn’t get ‘enough’ mainstream media coverage, so I don’t think it’ll be lifted anytime soon like the one on Youtube. And after all, blogging is all about uncanonical and personal expression on the net. Therefore, unlike many Turkish bloggers out there saying WordPress should compromise with the Turkish court by deleting those blogs, I totally disagree to that as it’ll be against freedom of speech (I’d rather say; to the idea behind blogging). But then, what’s the limit of freedom of speech, which was all covered and discussed in other posts.

  60. And to think that Turkey wants to join the European Uninon – this clearly shows what a backwards country Turkey is, and they have decades of ‘evolution’ to endure before they will have any chance.

    It’s not good enough to cling to several centurys-old culture if you want to count yourself as a member of the frontier of development.

    Ok, that was a bit over the top, but what I mean is that some parts of the world are evolving, developing, progressing, while others refuse to relinquish the old stagnant dogmatic ways.

  61. Good thing that the only Turkish ISP doesn’t block websites by IP. (I don’t know if they are doing this on purpose, or if they don’t know that people can use other DNS’s). I don’t use Turk Telekom’s domain name servers, so this censorship doesn’t effect me.
    But today, I was curious if the WP is still blocked, so I tried Turk Telekom’s DNS’s. It is… I can’t believe it!

    I am thinking, that if Turk Telekom had blocked WP correctly, responses to this ‘situation’ would be louder in Turkey. I mean, most people that blog & read blogs can easily find a way around this censorship.

  62. Come to think of it, I didn’t mean to attack the people of Turkey in my previous comment – just the governmental culture that runs it.

  63. I strongly recommend WP to sue the ‘Turk Telekom’ company at Turkish courts. This is the only way to make this issue public, to raise a democratic campaign by people including me, and to change the court decision.

  64. I found out about this first hand when I was traveling in Istanbul recently and tried to update my blog from my hotel’s computer. I received a pop up on the computer saying something to the effect that wordpress was blocked due to some court decision etc. Unbelievable!!

  65. I am Turkish. Adnan Oktar is a religious leader and a scholar. He is actively struggling against evolution theory in a scientific manner. His books are translated into many languages.

    Interestingly, his anti-evolution books are banned in France. And nobody stood against this cencorship. But when some seculars are making blogs for insulting and swearing him and thus their blogs are closed they begin to cry.

    Nobody is disturbed when France bans scientific books. But when Turkey bans insulting web pages we are called backwards people. This is not fair.

  66. @Mehmet

    I am Turkish.

    Me, too.

    Adnan Oktar is a religious leader and a scholar.

    He is neither a religious leader nor a scholar.

    He is actively struggling against evolution theory in a scientific manner.

    Not in a “scientific manner”, in a “dishonest and fraud manner”. You can find the evidence here.

    Interestingly, his anti-evolution books are banned in France. And nobody stood against this cencorship.

    May be because lying and making fraud about scientific works are forbidden in France.

    But when some seculars are making blogs for insulting and swearing him and thus their blogs are closed they begin to cry.

    Nobody is insulting or swearing. They are telling the truth about Adnan Oktar. If the truth is insulting Adnan Oktar, it is his problem not blog owners’.

    Nobody is disturbed when France bans scientific books.

    Adnan Oktar’s books are pseudo-scientific 🙂

  67. I’ve commented before that I’d written to the EU Commission about this situation; they’ve written back and stated they will include this development in the Commission’s yearly report on Turkey.

  68. Adnan Oktar has much money and greed to abandon the courts. Sometimes his lawyers can submit dozens of claim for damages to different courts about same matter.

    Courts are bound with law. This isn’t a censorship for any content, but this fake guru’s tricks has no limit.

    Do you contact any Turkish lawyer? That is the best way to get WordPress back in Turkey.

    By the way, many of people hate this dark and paranoiac person. This may be a chance for Turkish WordPress users to get their blogs back.

  69. Its all still blocked. My opinion on the matter is is that its a matter of opinion and as anyone with an opinion knows they’re just like ********* everyones got one. The creationist dude thinks one thing the other dude thinks hes an idiot. A common opinion regarding creationists of all forms I believe. I certainly though would not want either of them banned from being read by myself. At the moment I am allowed to read all of Mr Creationists propaganda ( he has some lovely inspiring wallpaper for download by the way) but not any of the relevant comment from the blogosphere at large. I consider this to be a bad thing.

    Fortunately TT net are not the most technically competent and have not really blocked any thing just redirected from the DNS to a “You’re banned” page. So find a nice new DNS server and you’re back up and running.

  70. You might want to know that Youtube is once again blocked in Turkey as of today.

    “T.C. Ankara 12. Sulh Ceza Mahkemesi 17/01/2008 Tarih ve 2008/55 nolu karar? gere?i bu siteye eri?im engellenmi?tir.

    Access to this web site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2008/55 of T.R. Ankara 12th Criminal Court of Peace.”

    You can find the screenshot on my blog.

  71. Ladies and gentleman, The country you are talking about is Türkiye. My land, my home and my death place ( I hope). Not only from this point of view I have to point out one thing. The Turkish citizens who earn their living from Law have given verdict with fake accusations and due to impossible actions which the victims can not be able to do (Change the Main Law) were killed by rope. Twice. The last victim vas a child whose age was changed by a judge’s verdict or a doctor. Due to the promise to EU they couldn’t hang the world famous APO, the baby killer. Incase you still try to make my army’s duty weaken, these kind of people will ride their horses. The Prime Minister says”You can not interfere to the wearings of people” without thinking what happened in Iran. I hope this makes clear of a saddening attitude to Democracy. Bad sentences belong to the owner. Law is the Art of being Good and Correct. If the Public Servant Officials who are assigned to work as Judge in the best solution place of the Courts are trying to increase their income by selling files to Lawyers; you must not be surprised. Therefore My motherland has no fault in that. Remember Albert EINSTEIN’s sentence: “My breaking the Atom is much more easier than changing the insistence of the brains.” That may point out one thing. The other thing is that every living creature has an organ to chew. The ones who are in Human Form have another organ in that for using to different purposes. This means that it is not only the starting place for digestion. With the hope to be understood, I remain as a Turkish Human Being. Best Regards.

  72. I understand what is going on. Edip Yuksel is engaging in incitement against religious persons and engaging in illegal behavior – using a person’s name in a website in order to slander that person. Turkey does not tolerate the violation of people’s dignity through slander and they are correct, according to their legal understanding, to boycott WordPress if WordPress refused to remove the slanderer’s blog. No nation is compelled to be subject to slander.

    It is probably a good policy for any web or blog host to forbid a user from simply naming an attack blog or website after the person under attack. In other words, to set up a blog to attack Alan Dershowitz, at the very least the blog should be entitled http://www.againstalandershowitz.wordpress.com and not http://www.dershowitzallan.wordpress.com.

    Using wordpress to organize a hostile google smear campaign to insult an author does not constitute “friendly use” and is in itself a form of censorship against that author because the purpose of the googlesmear is to bury the author’s work beneath hundreds of slanderous opinion articles. This method is often used by Zionists in the US to defame their detractors. It is possible to sue someone for a google smear since it results often in destroyed careers, loss of tenure, FBI and police raids leading to detainment without charge based on zero evidence, indefinite imprisonment, torture, and murder in the US and many other countries.

    These dangers are very real so wordpress could do a better job of blocking bloggers who are clearly engaged in incitement against individuals. So many times these attacks are organized by neocons who pay interns to do these smears and other types of personal sabotauge – usually against Muslims.

    I think if the target were a Jew wordpress would not tolerate this level of harassment and defamation and would have responded to his lawyer.

  73. [quote]
    “I think if the target were a Jew wordpress would not tolerate this level of harassment and defamation and would have responded to his lawyer.” ~ Maria Hussain

    As it seems, the whole incident has been seen political, making people jump into the trenches to defend what they believe in.

    I just had to add a comment that reads less offensive than the one before.

    So let me ask a simple question: if someone caucasian (meaning: white skin color) get’s noticed while stealing donuts, and people keep noticing he steals donuts everywhere he can… why shut down dunkin donuts for producing the donuts? And why hunt down all “whities” for being white in the first place just because that happens to be the same skin color of the donut-stealing dude?

    It just does not make sense!

    Btw.: being caucasian myself and wanting to keep it politically correct, I used this skin-color-example… but it could be any skin-color, any type of person… anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    When the misbehaviour of a single person means that whole groups of people get punished, it’s simply unfair and in contradiction to what I use to call “common sense”. Last but not least, it’s the discrimination of a group of people based on the fact that they happen to use the same online service.

    Hmmm, I don’t want to start another flamewar here, but might this be one of those reasons why Turkey still hasn’t been accepted to join the EU?

    Bah, who cares… I’ve become hungry! Donuts anyone? 😉

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