Turkish creationists censor 1 million WordPress blogs


It’s an act worthy of Nicolae Ceauşescu, or Idi Amin — but the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar has taken legal action that effectively blocks more than a million weblogs from access in Turkey — all the blogs on WordPress, the host of this blog.

Here’s the general announcement to WordPress clients. This site has the text of the threats from Oktar’s lawyers to WordPress.

Here’s a link to Matt’s blog, which has more discussion.

Adnan Oktar is the guy who pays people to write under the name Harun Yahya. Under that name he has published dozens of anti-evolution screeds. You may recall that, in the past year, he has financed the publication of an 800-page book, handsomely bound with scores of pictures (many of them plagiarized), claiming evolution could not account for features of living things. The scientifically vacuous book was delivered to schools and libraries across Europe in 2006, and then to thousands of U.S. scientists, teachers and libraries earlier in 2007.  (Here’s a good summary of creationism and Islam, from Taner Edis.)

I suggested in comments that protests should be made to the European Union. Turkey is working to gain admittance to the EU, and childish, totalitarian eruptions such as Oktar’s getting a court to censor a million blogs, significantly detract from Turkey’s chances and case. There is high irony here, too — Oktar is one of those who has willingly spread false claims that evolution was a cause of the Holocaust (when he’s not busy denying the Holocaust happened; consistency and accuracy are not among his strong points) — heck, just a few months ago he was claiming evolution is the cause of terrorism.

Do you have better ideas about what to do?

I hope the few of you who read this blog will spread this word far and fast.

Such disruptions of communication over an entire nation are the dreams of terrorists. Are we to understand that Adnan Oktar does this because Darwin convinced him? Or are his actions direct denial of his earlier claims?

I have been a journalist for a long time, having joined the Society of Professional Journalists in 1974. I spent many years in Washington, slugging it out against people who wished they had the power of censorship, and some who actually did have that power in other nations. I do not recall any similarly stupid activity outside of totalitarian governments, most of which are now gone.

Nuts.

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51 Responses to Turkish creationists censor 1 million WordPress blogs

  1. Published interesting thank and greet

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  2. Lukas Haas says:

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  3. I can’t believe that some countries try to do this to their citizens!

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  4. Appreciate this blog, I was hunting for IT outsourcing on Yahoo and found this page.

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  5. This entry looks good. Thanks!

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  6. [...] the way, Donofrio has joined the People’s Republic of China, creationist Islamic wackoes in Turkey, Neil Simpson, Cuba, conspiracy-monger Texas Darlin’ and Douglas Groothuis in banning my [...]

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  7. rayjs says:

    Jamshed Moidu wrote: “WHEN HE GET OUT OF PRISON HE DESTROY ALL DAWKINISTS WITH WAVE OF DIVINE HAND!!!!

    If he can do that then why didn’t he just wave his hand to get out of prison when he was put there in the first place instead of making you wait for the “Dawkinsists” to be destroyed when he eventually got out?

    You didn’t think of that you Abuser of Capital Letters and Exclamation Points, did you?

    Like

  8. Ed Darrell
    This shows how much power is this blog
    This only confirms that Kim Jong-Il, and Raul Castro has made sure of the damage that a blog can do in a totalitarian system, they know it is the beginning of the ruin them …

    Like

  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Jose Carlos,

    Yes, so far as I know, this blog is still banned in Turkey, and also in China, at 4Simpsons, and Constructive Curmudgeon — most of the important totalitarians alive today except Kim Jong-Il and Raul Castro.

    Like

  10. Rss …
    I do not know how this question of blogs in the Turk, is still censored?
    I only know that any act of totalitarianism and censorship is not rolling, quite the contrary …
    Excuse my English … I will improve.
    I speak French, Arabic and Portuguese. I am in Brazil and only had knowledge of the censorship of blogs in Turki through this blog. As you can see this blog is important … It is part of evolution.

    Like

  11. Ed Darrell says:

    Jamshed, what are you smoking?

    Yahya is a plagiarizer of bad science. Such dishonesty is unbecoming of a thief, let alone a god.

    Like

  12. HARUN YAHYA IS GOD!!!!HARUN YAHYA HAS DESTROYED EVOLUTION!!!! WORSHIP HARUN YAHYA!!!! HARUN YAHYA IS THE MARDY SCHOLAR INTELLECTUAL SCIENTIST PROFIT!!!!
    WORSHIP OUR HARUN YAHYA!!!!
    WHEN HE GET OUT OF PRISON HE DESTROY ALL DAWKINISTS WITH WAVE OF DIVINE HAND!!!!
    WAIT AND SEE DAWKINIST!!!!!

    Like

  13. Jose Carlos Brizolla says:

    How sad

    Like

  14. [...] books, steals photos for his high-cost, low-information “atlas” of creationism, and successfully sued to shut down this blog’s availability in Turkey (Well, this blog and two million others on [...]

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  15. Turkey says:

    WordPress blogs have brought attention to his creationist tomfoolery (thanks to Ed Darell for initially bringing this to everyone’s attention).

    Like

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  17. [...] There are troubling things afoot in ye olde blogosphere (or should that be blogosfear?). First access to all of WordPress has been blocked in Turkey. And second PZ Myers is being threatened with legal action for expressing negative views about [...]

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  18. [...] More but not enough freedom of speech in Turkey Turkey changed its laws that completely forbade criticism of the government. Recent changes promoting freedom of conscience and speech do not change the fact that this blog, and a million others on WordPress, are still blocked in Turkey. [...]

    Like

  19. [...] the big time? Or MSM catches up? Adnan Oktar’s mean-spirited campaign against knowledge, science and evolution still makes headlines — this time in the blog of Die Zeit, the most widely-read newspaper in [...]

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  20. retro says:

    This year my wife decided to have a dry run thanksgiving day to test out her recipes. We soaked the bird in a brine solution she got at William Sonoma, it really kept it moist. OMG, the turkey was so good and I get to do it again in a few days!

    Like

  21. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for letting me know!

    Like

  22. Seems some enterprising Turks have circumvented this by creating a proxy service and mirroring all wordpress.com blogs.

    Smile, you’re on wordprexy:

    http://timpanagos.wordprexy.com

    There’s a disclaimer at the foot of the page and their explanation is here.

    Like

  23. [...] client. The Court’s decision resulted in Turkish Internet users being unable to access more than one millions weblogs hosted wordpress.com. . [...]

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  24. [...] all levels, and bullying tactics otherwise, to “persuade” others (so far as I can tell, this blog and all other WordPress blogs are still being blocked in Turkey due to bizarre legal maneu…, who publishes under the pseudonym Harun Yahya some of the most inaccurate material and fantastic [...]

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  25. [...] opinionbug, sevban, meneame, yartasi, buzcevheri, gfxdizayn, albertferran, superadam, salute, timpanagos, 6patlar, nihilanth, ekrem yalçın, drcetiner, sekopeko, bilgisayar-destek mideastyouth, techgeek, [...]

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  26. [...] platform, WordPress (which all of my blogs are based on) has been banned in Turkey. An estimated 1 million blogs have been shut down on a court order last week. On August 17th, 2007, the Turkish Fatih Second [...]

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  27. Ed,

    You are operating with seciond hand informtion and conjectures based thereupon, like thousands of others who opine on the matter.

    Before the Turkish State establishment , i.e. the much feared secularist regime, and its judicial arm Oktar and Yuksel are the same. They both are religous and therefore are persona-non-grata. Only if you are against Islam and rich the judiciary can work for you. Take my word for it.

    As the facts come out it apperas like the issue is originating from the clumsiness of the technicians at the TTNET, the ISP. The are the ones who apply blackout to the whole WordPress, instead of barring just the concerned libelous sites. Let us not forget that WP, other blogging sitesm, AOL, MSN anf the other service providers have certain policies vis-a-vis the permitted content. So free speech does not exactly mean without limits.

    A lot of people insist on making this a fight between a religous character (oktar) and one defending the science (Yuksel). Nothing can be further from the truth. Yuksel is at least as religouus as Oktar an I have bad news to th Islamophobes having field day maqking this a case against Islam, they both are Muslims; be it adherents to different interpretations.

    The issue of evolution vs. creation or and alternative version ID (Intellient Design) cannot be sorted out here through comments on a Internet access piece. But it should have nothing to do to an objective observer whose cncern here should be unfettered access to the net.

    Let us not introduice erxternal issues such as our biases, prejuduices, or views on the meaning of life and so on, here. There will be plenty of opportuities I am sure here and at other forums to deal with those issues. This is complicated enough. And one more piece of info: Oktar is neither rich nor strong in Turkey. The evolution is the explanation as the origin of life and speciation taught at schools and the regim is staunchly secular. Oktar’s winning a suspention for a couple of blogs should not fool you.

    Like

  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Another thing which bugs a lot of us on this side is the gross imbalance of power here. Adnan Oktar is a very rich man accustomed to luxury and to getting his way with the flash of his wallet — according to the image he presents. Oktar can command an army of lawyers. Oktar does command an army of libelers against science, and he commands a large squadron of printing presses.

    All Yuksel has is the truth as he sees it.

    It is an unfair matchup. Courts are not supposed to let one party win solely because that party has more money. That is not justice, but is commerce instead.

    If Yuksel did not have the truth, he would not be a problem for a man who can send thousands of copies of a $120 book to people and schools around the world.

    Oktar’s actions suggest strongly that Yuksel is correct, and so this dropping of an information nuclear bomb on Turkey is the only way Oktar can fight, because the truth is not with him.

    Truth wins in a fair fight, most Americans believe. This fight is not fair. Oktar should not hide behind the burkas of a court to do his dirty work.

    Like

  29. Knowing a bit from the first hand experience with the Turkish judicial system and the bureaucracy , I blamed primarily the system in this ostensibly minor event turning into a saga. It appears now that there is enough blame to go around including possibly the WP which I held blameless so far (see for ex. “WordPress banned in Turkey: a case of throwing the baby with the bath-water“).

    Perusing through some of the comments on the matter it appears that some of the commenters have an ax to grind with Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) . They make his an issue of creationism versus evolutionism, which it should not be. The position Matt seems to be taking is that it is a free exchange of information in the internet , as parti of fundamental right of free speech.

    This is certainly a view held by many including myself in principle. However the matter gets a bit thorny when you get into the limits, boundaries of the exercise of such right. That is why we have caseloads before the courts dealing with issues such as slander, defamation, libel, trademarks, copyrights and so on, -some of which are involved in this case. I am not going to attempt to sort out all the legal and moral issues and heir ramifications in this case. All I am trying o do is to invite all concerned to differentiate between personal dislike for a person, or opposition to his views on certain matters and justice.

    I understand the predicament Matt and WP finds themselves in. They see the issue as an undemocratic justice system and an individual with strong arming the system to demand immunity from criticism. They are taking a stand on the side of the free speech. I urge them however to go beyond that reflexive behavior and engage in a bit deeper analysis of what Edip Yuksel is doing , and whether he is going over the bounds vis-a-vis the free speech. He has made a name for himself for attacking various religious persons, institutions and values sacred to others. I do not contest his right to be wrong , but I am also cognizant of the fact that WP does render judgement on suitability of the content of the blogs. The method Edip Yuksel is employing , specifically targeting another individual, and inviting others to abuse the blogging system with multiple blogs directed at the same purpose should also be questioned. WP cannot judge the veracity of all accusations in millions of pages of content, however it can place certain limits such as selection of blog names etc, as it does in the terms of service it is offering. Edip Yuksel and others should also be mindful of the fact that they have the right to free speech but exercising it on WP is a privilege.

    Like

  30. [...] to a Turkish court to have all WordPress blogs blocked. And the court accepted his argument, and no one in Turkey has been able to access anything from WordPress.com for a day or two [...]

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  31. [...] client. The Court’s decision resulted in Turkish Internet users being unable to access more than one millions weblogs hosted wordpress.com. We have applied to you to remove the unlawful statements regarding my client [...]

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  32. [...] client. The Court’s decision resulted in Turkish Internet users being unable to access more than one millions weblogs hosted wordpress.com. We have applied to you to remove the unlawful statements regarding my client [...]

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  33. [...] Turkish creationists censor 1 million WordPress blogs It’s an act worthy of Nicolae Ceauşescu, or Idi Amin — but the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar has taken […] [...]

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  34. [...] Turkish creationists censor 1 million WordPress blogs It’s an act worthy of Nicolae Ceauşescu, or Idi Amin — but the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar has taken […] [...]

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  35. [...] Turkish creationists censor 1 million WordPress blogs It’s an act worthy of Nicolae Ceauşescu, or Idi Amin — but the Turkish creationist Adnan Oktar has taken […] [...]

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  36. [...] Aug 20th, 2007 by tinyfrog Seems like just yesterday that I was talking about the censorship-happy creationists. Turns out, it was five days ago. Creationists like to pretend that they are censored (so they can stoke beliefs of victimization), but tend to be much more active at preventing critical comments from showing up on their blogs. Well, you can’t read WordPress in Turkey now. Why? Because Adnan Oktar (aka Harun Yahya – *the* major creationist group in Turkey) was unhappy about the things that wordpress bloggers were saying about him, so he talked the Turkish government into blocking WordPress from the entire country. (Timpanogos has some more commentary on this.) [...]

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  37. Ed Darrell says:

    Yes, this site is banned in the Peoples Republic of China, too.

    Like

  38. Golly. On a somewhat related point, have you noticed the dearth of Chinese-origin hits in your stats lately? I don’t know how reliable this is but apparently it tests to see whether your blogsite is blocked in China:

    http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/

    WordPressers might be blocked en masse.

    Like

  39. [...] Ed Darrell’s blog, and some older background notes PZ Myers [...]

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  40. [...] this matter, as well as commentary by WordPress developer Matt Mullenweg at his personal blog. Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub also has more on this and suggests that complaints should be filed with the European [...]

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  41. thenewg says:

    Who’s minding Turkey these days? Adnan?

    “Adnan Oktar is the guy who pays people to write under the name Harun Yahya.”

    Who are these people that he pays? Apparently they run the Turkish court system as well.

    I’ve studied creationism and evolution. Willing to share some ideas and thoughts on the subject.

    http://thenewg.wordpress.com

    Like

  42. [...] a hissy-fit because some WordPress blogs have brought attention to his creationist tomfoolery (thanks to Ed Darell for initially bringing this to everyone’s attention). Indeed, it appears that all access to [...]

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  43. [...] bozo in Turkey didn’t like the mean things people were saying about him on the internet, so he convinced a Turkish court to shut down access to all wordpress blogs from the entire country of Turkey.  Not being a big fan of censorship, I’ll take PZ’s [...]

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  44. [...] Ed Darrell has a pretty good post on this too. [...]

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  45. [...] info here (If you’re not in Turkey, that is). Monitor @ 1:16 [...]

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  46. [...] to a Turkish court to have all WordPress blogs blocked. And the court accepted his argument, and no one in Turkey has been able to access anything from WordPress.com for a day or two [...]

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  47. Ed Darrell says:

    Not resolved quite yet.

    Like

  48. [...] opinionbug, sevban, meneame, yartasi, buzcevheri, gfxdizayn, albertferran, superadam, salute, timpanagos, 6patlar, nihilanth, ekrem yalçın, drcetiner, sekopeko, bilgisayar-destek mideastyouth, techgeek, [...]

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  49. jd2718 says:

    It appears to have already been resolved.

    Like

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