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Turkish Assembly Votes For Censoring of Web Sites

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the we're-actually-really-nice-out-here-guys dept.

Censorship 247

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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247 comments

Interesting (4, Interesting)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (3, Insightful)

reporter (666905) | about 7 years ago | (#18642583)

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 European Union (EU). We Westerners have every right to prohibit Turkey from becoming a member of the EU. The EU is a bastion of Western values, and we have a right to prevent those values from being contaminated by Turkish values or Islamic values.

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.

At the same time, they should respect our desire to maintain Western values. We should join Angela Merkel in blocking Turkey's becoming a member of the EU. We should condemn Washington for pressuring the EU into admitting Turkey.

The last 6 years has shown that Washington is incapable of formulating good foreign policy.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642645)

I agree, but this incident will have no such effect. The tendency in the EU is to establish similar control mechanisms. Certain websites are already unaccessible from within the EU. There's also a good chance that the soft- and hardware which does the blocking will come from a "western" country.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642717)

god DAMN I wish I had some mod points and my password available right now. Best post I've seen here in ages...

(ps - bonus points for "being contaminated by Turkish values or Islamic values." 'twas brillig.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642729)

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 know much about Turkey. Instead of bashing whatever has the first hint of Islam, do some research first.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642757)

face it cunt it's just a shitty back water islamic country where they like to poke young boys up the ass hole.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642803)

Damn, yo ass still sore from that?! I told you a million times, I was drunk!

Cut with "East meets West" shit already (2, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642827)

there is no such thing. In istanbul east meets east.

Have you been? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642895)

Not only geographically is it where Europe meets Asia, but also the people, culture, and city itself imbues the spirit. Historically, as the Ottoman Empire covered lands in Europe and brought people from those countries back to Istanbul, they mixed with local Turks to form new identities. In addition, traditionally (before World War I), many Greeks and people of other nationalities lived there and intermingled. Plus, Ataturk himself boasted the ideals of emulating the West, and, in doing so, transforming Turkish identity to relate more to the West.

I understand your frustration with Turkey, but you can't change facts amigo.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (5, Insightful)

WombatDeath (681651) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642987)

Don't get me wrong, I would whole-heartedly agree. I think the whole idea of a law against "insulting Turkishness" is ridiculous. But, it still is ironic to bash Turkey as another Muslim nation against the West for trying to defend a man who upholds Western values. It only displays the vehement emotion towards Islam and doesn't really add to any logical discussion.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (4, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | about 7 years ago | (#18642777)

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.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (1)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18642797)

Many EU countries censor as well. Try to release an unedited Wolfenstein game in Germany and see how far you get.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642959)

A democracy without basic human rights (ie- free speech) is not a democracy but mob rule.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642981)

Which of these Western values did Romania and Bulgaria possess in excess of Turkey? Let me help you out here

1. Christianity, nominally or otherwise

You take it from there.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18643061)

Nevermind values, Turkey is a Turkish country like Kazahkstan and Turkmenistan - Turks are not Europeans any more than the Mongolians are Indians. There is a widespread ignorance of this fact. Turkish countries should not be allowed in the EU just as Arab countries like Egypt should not be allowed in the EU.

Re:Turkey is the pinnacle of Islam. (4, Insightful)

alexjohnc3 (915701) | about 7 years ago | (#18643063)

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.

Voted out of EU (1)

baomike (143457) | about 7 years ago | (#18642599)

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.

Re:Voted out of EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642683)

The majority of the population (I believe greater than 60% at the last poll) already oppose the government's attempts to join the EU.

If anything, that is, if the government is really representative of the people, then they should abandon the EU ass-kissing and start an EU-like organization, but only with "Eastern" countries..

After all, who wants a unified planet, right?...

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642725)

Turkey should tell EU to go fuck themselves. EU knows it doesn't want Turkey, Turks know they don't want Turkey, why continue this non-sense? Turkey should instead hook up with the US, Asia, and Australasia for their economic cooperation and development. It's not like Turks have no other avenues, and Europe don't look that good in the long run.

I, for one... (3, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18642121)

..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.

Re:I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642567)

Looks like there's a Turkish censor moderating on slashdot...

Re:I, for one... (1)

Tackhead (54550) | about 7 years ago | (#18642597)

>> ..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] Bridge, but seriously, Turkey... please don't ban teh Intarwebs, because the rest of the planet is wondering what the fuck it we do without you for cheap humor.

Re:I, for one... (1)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18642819)

Hey, man. Don't question the fuck out of ME. I want to keep my fuck. I may use it someday.

Rights without responsibilites? (4, Interesting)

Chmcginn (201645) | about 7 years ago | (#18642125)

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.

Re:Rights without responsibilites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642573)

I think you're putting the cart before the horse - Europe is not particularly committed to letting Turkey in as a full member. Human rights is only part of the problem: the problem of introducing a huge country with a crap economy, as well as the irreducable cultural differences between Europe and Turkey are both at least as important as any human-rights violations.

Personally, I see this sort of behavior on the part of the Turkish government as a fine excuse for the EU to politely reject Turkey's membership application.

Attaturk (5, Interesting)

wytcld (179112) | about 7 years ago | (#18642157)

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!!! (1, Insightful)

bstadil (7110) | about 7 years ago | (#18642203)

Yes Way cool to kill 900.000 Armenians, lest we forget. I would rather have a few extra mosques.

Re:Armenians!!! (1)

davecarlotub (835831) | about 7 years ago | (#18642311)

Armos deserve, at the very least, for Turkey to admit what they did. Of course Condoleeza Rice [setimes.com] has helped to make sure this doesn't happen. US Bases might be the reason.

"What we've encouraged the Turks and the Armenians to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past, and in examining their past to get over it," the AP quoted her as saying.

I wonder how the Jews, or the slaughtered people of Darfur would feel about being told to "get over it".

btw, I am not Armenian.

Re:Armenians!!! (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | about 7 years ago | (#18642387)

Well, in Ataturk's defense, that was the Young Turks that were responsible for that genocide, not his government. He picked up the pieces of the country after World War I.

Re:Armenians!!! (1)

davecarlotub (835831) | about 7 years ago | (#18642435)

Please show me where he admits that these "Young Turks" slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocent Armenians and appropriated massive amounts of land from Armenia and why he severed all military ties with France because they prohibited denying that the genocide took place. Of course I don't really think banning speech, no matter how absurd, is good, but it does display a rather defensive and childish character within the Turkish government. Getting over it involves admitting wrong, and Turkey doesn't seem to be anywhere close to doing that.

Re:Armenians!!! (1)

bstadil (7110) | about 7 years ago | (#18642581)

Ataturk called Mustafa Kemal then was a leading member of the Young Turk party, FYI

Re:Armenians!!! (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642795)

Young Turk party is not "young turk's" party. its just naming. its a jacobenite party.

and ataturk was fighting in gallipoli during 1915.

Re:Attaturk (1, Offtopic)

Cheapy (809643) | about 7 years ago | (#18642333)

Indeed they have kept Islam out of the government, but they replaced it with the Religion of Attaturk.

Re:Attaturk (1)

Plutonite (999141) | about 7 years ago | (#18642823)

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 the ME for a while I tell you it is not easy to pretend the politics is devoid of religion. Funnily enough, Egyptian constitutions have recently been amended to try and deny this, among other things. The regime there is one of the most oppressive and corrupt in the region, and the amendments are not being done out of love for "secular freedom".

As for Attaturk, he was a very serious secularist. Turks are taugh to rever him, and Turks are some of the most hot-blooded patriots you'll ever meet, but the rest of the Muslim world despises him from what I've seen. What you see as good for these people is not what they see as good for themselves. G.W has learned that pretty well now.

Re:Attaturk (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 7 years ago | (#18642915)

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.

What's wrong with Europe? (3, Insightful)

daeg (828071) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642349)

You have to understand that in some countries of the EU (Central Europe mainly, like France, Germany), nazism, fascism and extreme right-wing ideas are *HUGE* worries, as they are on the rise. One of their main arguments is that Holocaust didn't exist or that it was some kind of conspiracy by Jews.

These laws exist to provide an "excuse" for those responsible for these movements to face justice.

Think of it this way, do you think that someone who advocates the end of free speech as meritory of free speech benefits themselves?

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (4, Insightful)

Talgrath (1061686) | about 7 years ago | (#18642505)

Illegalizing the expression of these thoughts will do nothing more than feed the fire, increasing the number of individuals who think this way. To those who dislike the current state of their country, this just makes these groups seem more like freedom or resistance fighters than the foul upholders of the antithesis of freedom that they are. The way to stop this is to debate them, confront their ideals honestly and openly and show them to be the stupid bastards they are; to do anything less is not just the wrong way to go about things (you can't restrict freedoms in order to protect them) but will eventually lead to you losing the argument against such movements. I think people here understand quite well that such ideas are worrying, but this is the wrong way to combat them.

So my answer to your question "Think of it this way, do you think that someone who advocates the end of free speech as meritory of free speech benefits themselves?" is yes; the more you move to restrict their freedoms, the closer you get to becoming them yourself.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642719)

Illegalizing the expression of these thoughts will do nothing more than feed the fire, increasing the number of individuals who think this way.
No, it won't.
You're overstating the argument here and you get carried away into some conspiracy underground movement fantasy. The grandparent mentioned _very specific_ laws (swastika/holocaust denial ban). Those are actually just an exclamation point on top of common sense but are important in regard of recent Europe history.

The way to stop this is to debate them, confront their ideals honestly and openly and show them to be the stupid bastards they are; to do anything less is not just the wrong way to go about things (you can't restrict freedoms in order to protect them) but will eventually lead to you losing the argument against such movements.
Now this is just ridiculous. Looks like something out of "Parenting for Dummies". C'mon.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (4, Insightful)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18642879)

You can stop people from speaking terrible things but you can't stop them from thinking terrible things. I, for one, would prefer to know who the bigots are.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | about 7 years ago | (#18642913)

Go over your logic again. I'll help.

"We can't let people who want to restrict speech into the government! That's why the government has to restrict speech!"

Dumbass.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

Itninja (937614) | about 7 years ago | (#18642375)

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.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

nbehary (140745) | about 7 years ago | (#18642481)

I pretty much agree with you. It's obvious why yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater is a bad thing.....but where's the line? Who decides where that line is? Again, I agree with you, but......if you have to ask where free stops being free, is it really free at all?

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0, Troll)

owlnation (858981) | about 7 years ago | (#18642419)

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). You can't have selective free speech!
Actually it's much worse than you might think. Germany, France, Austria, Slovakia and others already do have laws restricting Nazi related expression (although with Germany's ever growing new Nazi problems this is actually understandable).Google, eBay and other sites are already censored in those countries for that reason.

The UK has no constitutional right to free speech, and has censored it on a few occasions. Most notably with relation to Northern Ireland in the late 80's and early 90s, where anyone related to the IRA when interviewed on TV had to have their words spoken by an actor.

And yes, under the current UK Government things have got much much much worse. It's not just the cameras. Now they are even considering testing those suspected of social security fraud with lie detectors.

There is very little free speech in Europe, so Turkey will fit right in...

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642473)

although with Germany's ever growing new Nazi problems this is actually understandable
What the fuck?! This is utter bullshit. There's no "nazi problem" in germany at all, let alone "growing". How do people come up with this shit...

There is very little free speech in Europe
Retarded.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18643115)

It seems to pop up regularly in the former East German provinces. That's from the Economist. I know, I know, the mag is douche rag, but that's all I have to go with. Der Spigel, I can't read.

Censorship works, and speaking of Holocausts... (5, Informative)

Brian Stretch (5304) | about 7 years ago | (#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:Censorship works, and speaking of Holocausts... (2, Interesting)

bibi-pov (819943) | about 7 years ago | (#18643079)

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 came to my mind all day long : "Big Brother is watching you"...

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642427)

Everyone with an IQ over 20 just laughs at them, though.
Well, there's your problem. There just aren't too many U.S. citizens with an IQ over 20. ZIIING!

I'd just laugh & ignore at anyone who denied the Holocaust -- you should too, Europe (Germany, Turkey, et all).
So you laugh at the majority of Islamic countries. Interesting... let's see how that's gonna work out for you.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18642887)

You seem to confuse the leaders of Islamic countries with the citizens of Islamic countries. Don't feel too bad - a lot of people do that.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

daeg (828071) | about 7 years ago | (#18643005)

Not at all, sorry if my post implied that. I understand that very few Islamic countries have leaderships that accurately reflect the actual citizenship and that most leaderships tend to be above and beyond the scope of other typical governments (e.g., religion as a function of government, or rather, government as a function of religion).

Then again, I'm not sure how many countries have reflective leadership anymore.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18643011)

You have to be confused if you think only the leaders of those countries think that way. Wishful thinking maybe?
My own uncle denies the holocaust, hates Jews for no apparent reason and cheers when he hears about killed Americans in Iraq and I don't think that even one of his many friends thinks any different. He's a Tunisian and as far as I know no country leader.
Welcome to reality.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18643065)

Of course it's not only the leaders. It is not, on the other hand, the majority of citizens. Do you think that perhaps your uncle chooses friends who think as he does?

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

Thexare Blademoon (1010891) | about 7 years ago | (#18642997)

So you laugh at the majority of Islamic countries. Interesting... let's see how that's gonna work out for you.

As long as you keep a safe distance, it works out fine.

Turkey != Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642461)

I could understand your remarks IF Turkey was a European country. Turkey is a Muslim country in denial, and they would like to "become" European by joining the EU. Except these kinds of laws ensure they never will. Because if the Turkish people had full freedom they would actually like to have religious (Muslim) government - something the Army and the Ataturk-followers hate. So I am afraid your comments are invalid with regards to Europe proper. Who cares about that Asian country anyway?

i loe and support all terrorist (2, Insightful)

fredouil (891612) | about 7 years ago | (#18642539)

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:i loe and support all terrorist (2, Informative)

Perseid (660451) | about 7 years ago | (#18642911)

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:i loe and support all terrorist (2, Informative)

phantomlord (38815) | about 7 years ago | (#18642947)

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 Ward Churchill and Amiri Baraka for two prominent examples.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (3, Insightful)

kresa (62873) | about 7 years ago | (#18642595)

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 hate crimes.

And finally, I lived in both the US and Europe.
While the US melting pot more or less successfully creates a functioning
society which respects individual rights,
the European multiculturalism, only hides deep rooted hatreds.
For instance many Americans would be appalled at the way Gypsies are
treated - but Europeans are very good at hiding their dirty laundry while
lambasting the Americans for all the evils of the world.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | about 7 years ago | (#18642639)

The politically correct term for them is "travellers" in the UK, thank you very much...

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642865)

Irish/UK "Travellers" are an ethnically quite distinct group from "true" Gypsies (Roma). Roma have only appeared in the UK and Ireland in any great numbers in the past decade or two, and conflict is common between the two groups (well, I say conflict, I mostly mean travellers just *erasing* roma when they find them - Irish-ethnicity travellers were, until recently, basically a nomadic mercenary caste, whereas roma are nomadic traders).

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | about 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

toplus (1085237) | about 7 years ago | (#18642837)

Those that talk like that about the supposed "lack of speech freedom" in Europe is because they don't know or ignore its history. Unlike America, we do have history of many thousands of years, and there have been historically many differences among the nations that coexist today as one union. Trying to simplify the issue to a "you do have speech freedom or you have not" is just naive. And, by the way, these kind of cultural and historical differences are exactly the cause of today's EU problem with unity. Basically we do not trust each other. Although 50 years of union have helped, we will need many more for the kind of unity feeling US people have, if we ever achieve it.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

Bogtha (906264) | about 7 years ago | (#18643077)

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 selective free speech!

Would you care to name a government that doesn't place limits on free speech? You need to head to international waters or off-planet if you want free speech without any limits. All governments have at least some laws against slander, libel, shouting fire in a crowded theatre, copyright infringement, spamming, etc. I know it's traditional to redefine these as some sort of "unspeech" in the USA so that people can continue to pretend that they have total freedom of speech, but these are forms of speech too, as undesirable as you might consider them to be.

For instance, Germany will soon be attempting to reintroduce legislation into the EU banning swastikas and Holocaust denial.

Germany are free to try, but they won't get anywhere. Previously Nazi-occupied countries are over-sensitive about the swastika, but the rest of Europe isn't.

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).

I think you're thinking of the UK, not England. England doesn't even have its own government, and is only a member of the EU indirectly by virtue of being a constituent country of the UK.

Re:What's wrong with Europe? (1)

frostband (970712) | about 7 years ago | (#18643139)

This is in line with On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. Basically, we must allow all opinions. The illogical and incorrect (and downright stupid) opinions can be done away with reasoning. There's several reasons for having a system such as this. If a new opinion somehow came to be known as correct, it would then become the accepted standard. If said opinion was found to be incorrect, it would help verify that the currently accepted idea is correct.

There's plenty more to the book than my appetizer. Check out wikipedia for the short, or check out Google Book Search for the whole damn thing [google.com] .

I'd like to see a study (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 years ago | (#18642173)

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?

Re:I'd like to see a study (4, Interesting)

EvilGoodGuy (811015) | about 7 years ago | (#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:I'd like to see a study (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | about 7 years ago | (#18642483)

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.

Probably for the Best (0)

akpoff (683177) | about 7 years ago | (#18642185)

Some things are just too painful to re-live:

It's a helicopter, and it's coming this way. It's flying something behind it, I can't quite make it out, it's a large banner and it says, uh - Happy... Thaaaaanksss... giving! ... From ... W ... K ... R... P!! No parachutes yet. Can't be skydivers... I can't tell just yet what they are, but - Oh my God, Johnny, they're turkeys!! Johnny, can you get this? Oh, they're plunging to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Not since the Hindenberg tragedy has there been anything like this!"

--Les Nessman, WKRP

In a bold, progressive move... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642191)

In a bold, progressive move, Turkey has lifted a ban on usage of the numbers 8 through 15 inclusive. Human rights advocates are applauding this move by lawmakers as fresh, clear, and forward-thinking.

Let's get slashdot banned! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642263)

Ataturk is so fat that when he gets into an elevator it has to go down.

How you tell Ataturk from a dog turd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642413)

Leave em both in the desert, and the dog turd will turn white and stop stinking.

Re:Let's get slashdot banned! (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642433)

you really will get it banned with that. even without the voting, assembly decision. with the current laws.

Different strokes (1)

Original Replica (908688) | about 7 years ago | (#18642271)

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.

Re:Different strokes (1)

FMota91 (1050752) | about 7 years ago | (#18642707)

Emmigration costs money, which is your point, I believe, but immigration is much worse. Especially to the US.

You need a VISA to come in to and stay in the US. Maybe you change your plans once you're there (e.g, you want to work, or you want to go to college, or something), but that probably involves going back to your country and requesting a new VISA... if they'll even give you one so soon after your last.

Some immigration policies verily suck. I'd say all of them, but I bet I would have to take it back eventually.

It is VERY ironic that, (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642285)

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.

They don't want to hear anout genocide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642341)

Turkish government tries to shut up everybody who is talking about Armenian genocide happened at the beginning of the century when Turkish army killed millions of Armenians.
They are not alone. Russian government also try to rewrite history and shut up people who remind that Russians killed and starved to death ten millions Ukrainians in 30s and 40s.
Germans are the only country who admitted their guilt and made steps and law against genocide

Re:They don't want to hear anout genocide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642351)

While I agree with the gist of you post, I'm pretty sure genocide is against the law in most places.

Ya know a judge stayed the vonage injunction (0, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | about 7 years ago | (#18642381)

Hours after the initial verdict was handed down (probably before /. posted the news for nerds)

Can someone firehose that? my submissions arent no good

Not surprising, really (5, Insightful)

Parallax Blue (836836) | about 7 years ago | (#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

Re:Not surprising, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642607)

A point of clarification...The Turkish government recognizes that Armenians were killed and relocated by the Ottoman government, but denies that it would constitute a genocide. As well, the high-profile people accused of insulting Turkishness because of their reference to an Armenian genocide were acquitted of charges. Correct? I agree the concept of "insulting Turkishness" is an arbitrary and unnecessary law, but at least lets be specific and accurate when making accusations.

Re:Not surprising, really (1)

admactanium (670209) | about 7 years ago | (#18642721)

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.

Re:Not surprising, really (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642759)

"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.

Re:Not surprising, really (1)

yankI (901428) | about 7 years ago | (#18642817)

Could you please cite a source? I know that people are tried for mentioning genocide but nobody in the last 5 years have been jailed for doing so, i.e. all defendant were acquitted. The last person tried for this was acquitted by the judge who mentioned freedom of expression in his decision.

Re:Not surprising, really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642883)

> 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.

You're putting that a little mildly. Yes Turkey has made some changes, but hardly the committed course change necessary to meet EU requirements.

> 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.

How heart-rending it must be for Turkish citizens to have their country stoop to the level of European democracy. While I agree there is considerable frustration and spite being displayed, it's just all the more evidence that Turkey is not ready to join the EU, and that the "major changes" have just been market-stall bluster that the citizens do not back at all.

So yes, I agree with you: it's not surprising. We will see much more of this sort of thing. And how these episode play out in the courts and on the streets will reveal which way Turkey is moving.

what's going on? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642525)

what is going on with the turkish. why do they want to ban the youtube? this website is not operated by few indiviuals. people are free to post any video they like. if we ban the youtube, even in one country, we cannot even imagine how much loss youtube is going to suffer. No business runs for losses. And in this case the youtube has nothing to do with the video posting. i think this will be unfare for any business, if websites like are going to suffer bans from these kind of issues.

Hmm. (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | about 7 years ago | (#18642571)

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 amiable.

Just try to set a website questioning (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642579)

american principles in america. The FBI will take it down quickly... For Turkeys, the Kurds are terrorists...

another thing to consider (1)

spirit_fingers (777604) | about 7 years ago | (#18642735)

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.

Re:another thing to consider (1)

unity100 (970058) | about 7 years ago | (#18642751)

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".

Re:another thing to consider (1)

Checkmait (1062974) | about 7 years ago | (#18643003)

No, no, no!

Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) was the driving force behind the secularization of Turkey and to this day Turks revere him as a savior. For all of his faults (including the Armenian genocide), Ataturk was adamant that Turkey be completely secular even if 98% of Turks are Muslim. Based on their virtual deification of Ataturk, the Turks would not violate his most strongly-felt principle.

The censorship law/decision currently may be a stepping stone, but not towards Islamic fundamentalist propaganda and the like.

I'm thinking that (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 7 years ago | (#18642821)

the internet should refuse a connection to any country that doesn't promote free speech.

Re:I'm thinking that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642965)

Yeah it works fine for North Korea.
We don't fix censorship of information by removing a source of information, especially since some criticisms of Turkey are inevitably going to slip through the net.

Haha, CAPTCHA: disagree!

Turks are.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#18642935)

Turks are imbecile. There you go, now ban the fucking Slashdot. Assholes...
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