Saturday, October 17, 2009

News from Hypocristan

As we were saying...

What is there to think about stories like the one below? Ahmet Davutoglu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, stands up before a microphone and says something so totally, so stupidly, so demonstrably untrue that one can only gape and wonder if he will be Oscar-nominated as Best Actor in a Supporting Role.


Here's the background. A Turkish dramatic series presented on a state-run television channel shows Israeli troops deliberately shooting at and killing Palestinian children. Israel cries foul. Ahmet Bey says, "But Turkey does not censor." This of course is false. A quick look at the comments following the linked article will show the American reader just a few of the many media outlets that have been banned by the Turkish authorities, from YouTube to the works of Richard Dawkins. But the real question is, Why does the Turkish government continue to act this way? Why do they blandly tell these lies? Why do they promote their police state to the world as a "vibrant democracy"? Having just gone through the Bush II Administration, and faced with the ever-burgeoning popularity of such beings as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, Americans are in no position to give themselves a pass on this. (Think of how many times George W. Bush claimed he didn't say something that he was quite plainly videotaped saying.) But there's something so Turkish about the blandness with which Turkish government officials put out these statements about their own uprightness and morality. Contrast this with the American style. Tad Friend, writing about Hollywood in 12 October 2009 edition of The New Yorker, says,
"Hollywood's leaders work with the understanding that facts are not fixed pillars but trial balloons that you inflate with the gas of vehement assertion."
The gas of vehement assertion. How I wish that I had written that phrase. How I wish that I could buy some of that and put it in my car. It could run forever.
Davutoğlu: Turkey is not a country that censors

ISTANBUL – Daily News with wires Friday, October 16, 2009

Foreign Minster Ahmet Davutoğlu on Friday responded to complaints from Israel about the depiction of Israeli armed forces in a Turkish television series on a state-run channel. “There is no censorship in Turkey,” Davutoğlu said in a press conference Friday before he departed for Bosnia, according to broadcaster CNNTürk. “TRT [Turkish Radio and Television Corporation] is an autonomous institution. The television series’ producers are also an independent company. It is not in the ministry’s mandate to advise them.”

He criticized Israel as the actual source of tension, referring to the country’s attack on Gaza last year. “Turkey has been working toward creating peace in the region, and it was Israel that put our chances of creating peace at risk by attacking Gaza.” He cited women and children suffering the most from the incidents.
He recalled that Turkey was mediating between Israel and Syria last year, but said, “We will not be silent about what happened in Gaza,” according to the Anatolia news agency. The Israeli ambassador to Turkey was expected to visit the Foreign Ministry later Friday to express his government’s concerns about the television series.
The final stroke, the smack to the forehead, comes in the Comment form at the end of the article. Note:
"Submitted comments must be approved by Daily News staff to ensure they are in accordance with Turkish law. Comments that violate Turkish law will not be published."
And Orwell laughs again.

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

But this is what "an advanced democracy" is. You can confirm this fact with Kissingerm, Bill, George, Hillary, and recently Barack. Turkey does buy all a lot of weapons and is a faithful belly dancer serving the US as long as the US pays.

Turkey is modeled after Hitler's fascism (hint: Mein Kampf was a best seller in Turkey for a long time) and "it's the freest society" (ask the TSK generals if you want) as long as you obey the sick laws, rules, and deceptions.

If you have seen the "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds, No Friends But The Mountains" documentary, you can notice an interesting quote there. A government official is talking about people whose villages are burnt down by the government: "They are free to go wherever they want" Of course, anywhere but their home.

Zarok

October 18, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one, Gordon. TC has now banned the www.expatriates.com (it's basically like craigslist.com)

Here is the URL to the Bianet article:
http://bianet.org/bianet/ifade-ozgurlugu/117669-tib-idari-tedbir-ile-expatriates-com-sitesini-kapatti

Seriously, WHY on the earth would someone even do that?!

Zerkes

October 18, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger Gordon Taylor said...

Wow. Thank you, Zerkes. I just checked out the Bianet article and clicked through to expatriates.com. I'm speechless. Why anyone would want to censor that site is beyond my understanding.

October 18, 2009 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger emre said...

This article has factual errors. Censorship is usually not initiated by the government. Typically someone files charges for libel and the court sides with the prosecution.

October 19, 2009 at 7:06 PM  
Blogger Gordon Taylor said...

Emre,

Thanks. I know that a lot of this began with court actions begun by private citizens.

But do you really mean "libel"? I think of libel as a public statement that defames an individual person and opens him up to ridicule. How does libel in the English sense fit into this?

Gordon.

October 19, 2009 at 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Emre: "Typically someone files charges for libel and the court sides with the prosecution."

That basically means there is virtually no justice and freedom of speech in Turkish legal system. Did you even look at the banned site???

Zerkes

October 20, 2009 at 4:14 AM  
Blogger emre said...

Adnan Oktar, if memory serves, claimed that he was defamed on numerous Web sites, most notably that of Richard Dawkins. Defamation on the Web is considered libel, right?

Freedom of expression is impeded by both outright silly laws like Article 301, and also by a peculiar definition of libel. That the defendant's allegations may be true is not enough to trump the prosecution's argument that he has been offended. Negative statements have to be purely factual; you can't inject any emotion. At least that's my reading of the law.

October 20, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Gordon Taylor said...

Emre,

Thank you. Yes, that is a very peculiar definition of libel. In fact, it's insane. So if someone tells the truth about John, and John is offended by this, then John can file suit with the State Prosecutor and the Prosecutor can tell the truth-teller to shut up. Right? Because everything in the truth-teller's statement has to be totally neutral and incapable (somehow) of not offending John the liar. It's just breath-taking, it's so stupid.

Zerkes: Yes, I think we're all saying the same thing, but I wanted to understand it better. And yes, I did read the website that was banned.

October 20, 2009 at 8:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ECHR: Compensation for Ban of Kurdish Newspapers

http://bianet.org/english/minorities/117765-echr-compensation-for-ban-of-kurdish-newspapers

Turkey Worsened Press Freedom Record

http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/117751-turkey-worsened-press-freedom-record

October 21, 2009 at 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Gordon, here is another one to laugh at.

8-Page Newspaper Banned for Contents of Page 9:

http://bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/117806-8-page-newspaper-banned-for-contents-of-page-9

October 23, 2009 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Gordon Taylor said...

Thank you, Anon, for that wonderful URL. I think the authorities were correct: Page 9 should always be banned, even if it doesn't exist. Or maybe they were reading the minds of the editors: the censors knew what they were planning and censored it in advance.

And speaking of taking offense at Nothing, I especially like this headline tonight on Hurriyet News:

"Ads criticized for insulting Turkishness with animal heads on humans"

October 23, 2009 at 10:35 PM  

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