Censorship

Feeling the Angst? A Year in Jail Should Help.

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Several years ago a young Turkish rock band released a song railing against the unfairness of the country's national standardized test for university entrance. "Life should not be a prison because of an exam," they sang, "I have gotten lost; you have ruined my future; I am going to tell you one thing: Shove that exam…"

This week they are standing trial for "insulting Turkishness," with the possibility of an 18 month jail sentence if convicted. That seems unlikely, however:

There's been little public discussion about the wisdom of prosecuting the punk band. Turkish prosecutors routinely file defamation complaints, creating a glut of cases, some of which never go to trial.

So the whole case is a tiresome and wasteful use of government resources—if Turkey keeps it up, its prospects for EU membership look better than ever. (via Shoutmouth)

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  1. Issues aside, that sounds like a really lame subject for a rock song.

  2. So Turkishness=Stupid policies by the government?

    I see where the rabid neocons learned their schtick.

  3. Right. They should stick to goats and chicks.

  4. So the whole case is a tiresome and wasteful use of government resources-if Turkey keeps it up, its prospects for EU membership look better than ever.

    Juliet Samuel wins the thread!

  5. This will make them the most popular punk band in Turkey – for bad mouthing the a SAT.

  6. Turkey sucks!

    Ha ha, you can’t arrest me here for that!

    *hears knock at door*

    Aww crap…

  7. Slow blog day at H&R.

  8. Dan T: Yup, when H&R is doing the same articles as the Express, it is a slow news day.

  9. the turkish government also likes to keep secret their genocidal history. mentioning the armenian genocide also “insults turkishness,” and will get you in a similar predicament.

    turkishness = totalitarianess

  10. What a shame the Turkish government has such a big stick up their collective butt. Turkey is the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited… great sailing, fantastic food, gorgeous architecture, and nothing beats the luxury of a real Turkish bath.

    Mmmmm Turkish bath…

  11. Insulting Turkishness??? W T F?

    A law so ill conceived that its very enforcement is a violation.

  12. You can thank Woodrow Wilson for this stupid law;

    During World War I Woodrow Wilson pushed this idea of “ethnic self-determination”, which when you get donw to the nuts and bolts means that each ethnicity has its own country.

    At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire was broken up, much the way the Austrio-hungarian empire was broken up.

    When Mustafa Kemal started his campaign to drive the Greeks, French et al off of Asia Minor, he essentially selected the borders of the new country based on defensability. Then, to justify it, they decreed that this new country would be the land of a mythical ethnic group known as “the Turks”. It is important to note that the original Turks, a tribe giving military assistance by the Chinese as an anti-Mongol measure are lost in the mists of time. The tribe the Chinese bought off would conquer a neighboring tribe, dub them to be Turks now, and move on. The original tribe splintered as a result of political divisions, but its descendants kept expanding, inter-marrying with the people that were conquered. By the time the Ottoman empire reached its height, you had a massive range of ethnicities living in a band across Asia that were called Turks of one sort or another.

    So, the new government basically called everyone who happenned to live in the region Turks and ruthlessly suppressed any contradictory memes. For example, they called the Kurds mountain Turks and outlawed the Kurdish cutlure including language, names and customs. the laws against insulting Turkishness are a critical component of suppressing unapproved ethnic identities.

    Mustafa Kemal was a fascist. Not a particularly vicious one, but a fascist nonetheless. A book, whose name escapes me, written in the late 1930’s that provides a taxonomy of fascism has a nice chapter on the Turkish Republic. Being a fascist, he felt that the state and the people were one. Thus, his party moved to include strict limits on the amount of criticism one could level at the state.

    So, if you insult the state too vigorously, you are opposing the Turkish people, hense the insulting Turkishness rule.

    Woodrow Wilson … Its amazing how much nastiness can be traced back to his stint in politics.

  13. “What a shame the Turkish government has such a big stick up their collective butt. Turkey is the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited… great sailing, fantastic food, gorgeous architecture, and nothing beats the luxury of a real Turkish bath.”

    much of the magnificence of turkey can be attributed to the same armenians that they attempted to eliminate.

  14. So tell me Jimmy, have you ever spent time in a Turkish prison?

  15. if Turkey keeps it up, its prospects for EU membership look better than ever.

    Or US statehood.

    Woodrow Wilson … Its amazing how much nastiness can be traced back to his stint in politics.

    And Turkey’s vaunted “moderation”, too…?

  16. Woodrow Wilson … Its amazing how much nastiness can be traced back to his stint in politics.

    If you try hard enough!

    Right now, I’m working out how to blame him for my soggy waffle this morning. I’m thinking the Belgian angle is a good start…

  17. “Mmmmm Turkish bath…”

    You can get some of that effect with a partner in a steamy bathroom. Blowing thru a soapy washcloth is my home version (a refinement of a technique I discovered as a child with my sister in the bathtub; the blowing part came as a teen in the shower) of the way they make suds.

    How about Turkish taffy? Turkish tobacco? Or just turkey?

  18. Robert,

    That post is very disturbing.

  19. Or just turkey?

    By the way, the Turkish word for turkey (the bird) is “hindi” which translates to “India”.

  20. Mike Laursen,
    What’s the Greek word for fresh cut fries?

  21. “Patates tiganites”?

  22. How about Turkish towels? The Turkish March? Or “pachalachaka”, which they whisper all over Turkey?

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