‘Twitter, Mtwitter!’: Turkish Prime Minister’s 9 Craziest Quotes About Social Media

28th March 2014 – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan really doesn’t like social media. Days before the municipal elections, the Turkish strongman has blocked Twitter and banned YouTube after corruption allegations surfaced on the two social media platforms. Here are some of Erdoğan’s best quotes about social media — from the “scourge” that is Twitter, to the case of the “smeared housewife.”

Erdogan

 

Continuous: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/quotes-turkey-erdogan-social-media/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

Turkey’s Erdogan again threatens to ban social media

20th March 2014 –  (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday repeated his threat to close down social media platforms including Twitter in Turkey and said he did not care about the potential backlash from the international community.

“We will wipe out all of these,” Erdogan told thousands of supporters at a rally in the northwestern province of Bursa.

“The international community can say this, can say that. I don’t care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is,” he said.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/us-turkey-erdogan-twitter-idUSBREA2J1L520140320

Turkey threatens to ban social media sites

Turkey’s embattled prime minister has warned that his government could ban social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already tightened his government’s grip over the Internet, generating criticism at home and abroad about rights in the EU-hopeful country.

“There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30… including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook),” Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview.

Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has come under mounting pressure since last week, when audio recordings were leaked in which Erdogan and his son allegedly discuss how to hide vast sums of money.

The Turkish premier dismissed them as a “vile” and “immoral” montage by rivals ahead of key local elections on March 30.

07/03/2014, The Telegraph

Also:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/07/turkey-erdogan-facebook-youtube-ban-elections

In the meantime, President Abdullah Gul said facebook and twitter cannot be closed down” – interesting divergence of views there…again…

http://www.zaman.com.tr/politika_cumhurbaskanindan-youtube-ve-facebook-aciklamasi_2203676.html

Academics Protest Facebook’s Censorship Policies

We, the undersigned academics, condemn Facebook for increasingly having exercised politicalcensorship against opposition Facebook group pages in Turkey.  Over the course of Gezi Protests in Turkey, Facebook has blocked a considerable number of group pages that were created and followed by people who believed in the transformative political power of social media. Facebook has closed down many of these pages on the basis of groundless accusations such as containing pornographic and sexual contents. These pages were the key agents of social media-based political mobilization during the protest wave in Turkey in June 2013 and since then have been followed by high number of Facebook users. Among many others, these censorship policies have targeted Ötekilerin Postası (an activist group page with 138.000 followers), Peace and Democracy Party, BDP (The Kurdish Political Party with 32 members in the Parliament, with 181.000 followers), Sırrı Süreyya Önder (an opposition deputy in the Turkish Parliament, with 387.000 followers), Say No to Racism and Nationalism (Irkçılığa ve Milliyetçiliğe Dur De, an activist group page with 48.000 followers, closed in January)
We have deep suspicions regarding the existence of a possible collaboration between the Facebook Corporation and the Turkish government in order to silence the political opposition in Turkey.  This suspicion has been strengthened especially after the Turkish Minister of Communication stated “Facebook, unlike Twittter, has been in coordination with us for a long time”. The number of pages that were closed down by Facebook has increased rapidly after this statement.
We, the undersigned academics, have been encouraging our students to use social media because we strongly believe in the emancipatory power of social media vis-à-vis conventional media outlets. The conventional media has failed to inform the public during the protests because of established cooperation with or strong pressure from the Turkish Government.  In the meantime, for many people, social media has increasingly meant freedom of speech, grassroots democracy, unlimited capacity and enhanced desire to communicate on various aspects of their lives without any hesitation. Politics is one of these aspects of human life as much as culture, sports, and humor, which can easily find a place in Facebook. Unfortunately, facing the censorship policies by Facebook, we are feeling increasingly disappointed because of the threats and challenges to the above-mentioned emancipatory promise of the social media. The recent one-day boycott in Turkey against Facebook has shown the level of grievance for these censor policies among the general public.
We would like to remind Facebook that people now have the right to express their political views and organize their demands through social media and that the real addressees of Facebook is not the governments but the people.
We ask the Facebook Corporation to re-activate all of these opposition pages as soon as possible and to take necessary steps in order to ensure the continuation of freedom of speech in the social media, which has been under serious challenge from Facebook Turkey.
Sincerely,
For the names of academics: 

Ekşi Sözlük owner and contributors charged with religious defamation

Eksi Sozluk

Eksi Sozluk

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.

Continues:  http://www.englishpen.org/turkey-eksi-sozluk-owner-and-contributors-charged-with-religious-defamation/

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Ekşi Sözlük writers charged with blasphemy, facing prison sentence

Ekşi Sözlük (“Sour Dictionary”, a popular social media website created in Turkey) is a collaborative hypertext ‘dictionary’, based on the concept of Web sites built up on user contribution. However Ekşi Sözlük is not a dictionary in the strict sense; users are not required to write correct information. It is mainly used for entertainment purposes, not for information purposes and the founders already informed that things written in the site might be wrong. It is currently one of the biggest online communities in Turkey with over 400,000 registered users. The number of writers is about 38,000. As an online public sphere, Ekşi Sözlük is not only utilized by thousands for information sharing on various topics ranging from scientific subjects to everyday life issues, but also used as a virtual socio-political community to communicate disputed political contents and to share personal views (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ek%C5%9Fi_S%C3%B6zl%C3%BCk).

A discussion topic last week on the prophet Muhammad caused some tension among the writers of the Ekşi Sözlük. According to reports, somebody filed a complaint to the police accusing some writers of insulting the Prophet and the site owner Sedat Kapanoğlu together with 40 to 50 account holders were charged with the “blasphemy on the religious values of a society fraction” due to their entries on Ekşi Sözlük. The owner Kapanoğlu and the other users are facing prison sentences from 6 up to 12 months.

“The police found my IP address and I was suddenly taken in from my home. I was charged for my comments on religion,” said one of the writers who wanted to remain anonymous. “Everyone on the site has a nickname and we all write anonymously. Therefore, I might have written casually but I didn’t write anything insulting,” said the anonymous source.

The detention sparked varied reactions among the website’s writers and administrators. While some criticized the site “admins” for giving the police the users’ IP addresses, site officials said not doing so would have been against the law. “Some of the writers are furious and have accused us of giving the police their IP address,” Ekşi Sözlük’s founder and owner, Sedat Kapanoğlu, told the Hürriyet Daily News. “Yet, according to the laws, if we don’t give their IP addresses, it is a crime. Our writers write their opinions on the web site anonymously, but by taking them in, the police exposed their identity,” the website’s lawyer Başak Purut told.

Apparently, this is not the first time that Ekşi Sözlük writers have been taken in by the police – Kapanoğlu said he has to testify at least four times a year. But, according to Yaman Akdeniz, a professor who specializes in Internet law, more stringent legal measures must take place before people are taken from their homes on such charges. “This could have been done through a notice from the police. The strange thing here is that the police come and take people from their homes as if they are guilty. There needs to be a court decision to take people in like that,” Akdeniz told. “But such a process is already commonplace” says lawyer Gökhan Ahi who runs Bilişim Hukuk, an online journal of Cyber Law. “Whenever there is a complaint, the prosecutors have to investigate it and then work with the police,” Ahi told. “Yet we might question whether we need the same procedure for every case.”

Akdeniz said that the nature of the procedures created fear amongst the people. “We are talking about a crime realized by thought or writing and this is a right of freedom. There are no guns here. Therefore, they should have been more cautious in interfering with people’s private lives. The current procedures only make people more scared. It is like a witch hunt,” he added.

What constitutes a Web Crime in Turkey?

Since the 2007 passage of article 5651, Turkish law has legally distinguished Internet regulations from those imposed on other media. The law classifies eight violations which can prompt the closing of a website: prostitution, child pornography, gambling, obscenity, promoting suicide, facilitating drug abuse, provision of unapproved substances for health care, and insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, modern Turkey’s founder.

Besides these categories, anyone who thinks that a web site is “suspicious” can call the police. The owner may then be taken in, or the police may confiscate their computer until the case is resolved. Such complaints do not always involve the guilty. “I was taken in by the police just because a teenage guy thought I had blocked his site,” said another Ekşi Sözlük writer, who identifies himself as “Incredible.” “I found his number, called him and he withdrew his complaint. Still, the police kept my laptop for months because it was then a public case.”

Currently there are about 1 million banned websites in Turkey. Among the previously blocked and re-opened sites are YouTube, Google Groups, WordPress, and Dailymotion. “According to Turkish Law, if a person disrupts the public peace, then it constitutes a crime,” said Purut. “In the Ekşi Sözlük case, there was nothing like that.”

Still, the case may affect the behavior of Ekşi Sözlük’s contributors. “Some people have quit writing for Ekşi Sözlük because they don’t want their names in the police files,” Kapanoğlu said. “We won’t apply any censorship but we will try and be more cautious for what may happen again.

For the original sources:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/default.aspx?pageid=438&n=8216eksi-users8217-raids-sour-web-freedom-2011-06-26

http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/149043-eksisozluk-writers-charged-with-blasphemy-face-prison-sentence