23rd August 2013 – Ekşi Sözlük is a satirical web-based dictionary, the entries for which are largely written anonymously by a contributor base of over 50,000 people. Literally meaning ‘Sour Dictionary’, Ekşi Sözlük’s subject matter is unrestricted, exceeding the limits of a conventional dictionary with entries on current and historical events and people; notable quotations from popular figures; disputed political issues; and references to popular and internet culture. Contributors often impart their personal views in entries, which tend to be written with a humorous or satirical slant. With over 14 million visitors a month, Ekşi Sözlük is one of the largest social media sites in Turkey.
On 7 August 2013, 40 Ekşi Sözlük contributors and website owner Sedat Kapanoğlu were charged with religious defamation under Article 216/3, and ‘committing a public order offence via press or broadcast’ under Article 218 of the Turkish Penal Code. If found guilty, they could each face up to eighteen months in prison.
The indictment contained the following comment on religious defamation:
The legal privilege protected by Article 216/3 of the Turkish Penal Code is not Allah, religion, the prophet, holy books or sects; it is the religious feelings held by individuals towards these concepts. Undoubtedly, one may express their thoughts, their criticisms regarding these concepts. However, when doing so, not hurting the religious feelings of another person or persons must also be taken into account. For no-one has the right to hurt another person’s feelings of respect towards concepts that they consider to be sacred.
- Ekşi Sözlük writers charged with blasphemy, facing prison sentence (translatingtaksim.wordpress.com)