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Old 20th August 2007, 03:34 AM
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Wordpress.com blocked in Turkey

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Just months after blocking youTube -- drawing international attention, not to mention condemnation from some quarters -- the Turkish authorities have blocked all access to Wordpress.com to viewers and bloggers alike. Although the youTube incident was briefly resolved after "offending videos" posted by Greek users "insulting the memory of Atatürk" were removed, it is completely unknown why the global and free blog site has been blocked by the Turkish state. Moreover, with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) recent lanslide re-election on July 22 and their raft of pro-European Union accession reforms in recent years, the clampdown on a major international platform for freedom of speech appears totally out of step with their philosophy, not to mention their renewed electoral mandate based on the performance over the last five years. Anybody now trying to access Wordpress.com from within the borders of the Republic of Turkey are greeted with the message, "Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance." Although Internet-savvy bloggers and readers alike can still gain (somewhat cumbersome access) through various software or reconfiguring their proxy servers, the move strikes at the very heart of freedom of speech from a country supposedly on the road to EU membership. This can only add to the controversy of the infamous Article 301 remaining on the statute books. In recent years numerous intellectuals and writers, such as 2006 Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, assassinated Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and novelist Elif Şafak have all been tried under the auspices of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code for "insulting Turkishness."
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