MEP writes to European Parliament about Turkey ban on Rd.net

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adamd164
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MEP writes to European Parliament about Turkey ban on Rd.net

Post by adamd164 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:27 pm

Shame none of her Irish counterparts did so (to my knowledge), but a Dutch MEP, Sophie in’t Veld, has written the following to the European Parliament regarding Turkey's banning of Richard Dawkins' website and how it relates to their application for EU membership.

As posted on RichardDawkins.net:
Dear Commissioner Rehn, dear Olli,

I am writing to express my concern at reports of a Turkish court compromising freedom of expression in the context of Turkey’s application to join the EU.

I would like you to investigate the specific example given below and attempt to see if it forms (as we fear) part of a wider picture of concern, and take the matter up with the Turkish authorities.

The example we cite relates to the blocking of the website of Professor Richard Dawkins, the world-famous evolutionary biologist. A criminal court in Istanbul reportedly banned the site in September 2008 on the grounds that it "violated" Adnan Oktar's personality after Professor Dawkins criticised Oktar creationist book 'Atlas of Creation', which is being distributed in Europe in large numbers.

The basis of our complaint is the web/press reports shown in Appendix 1, which were drawn to my attention by the UK’s National Secular Society of which I am a Honorary Associate. I am also writing as the Chair of the EU Working Group for the Separation of Religion and Politics.

Such blockings are in stark contrast to the progress you have been calling for as one of the conditions for Turkey’s succession to the EU. What is happening is worse than Turkish authorities not standing up for freedom of expression; it appears that the state’s mechanism itself is enforcing the restriction on freedom of expression.

Our concern about the banning does not rest in principle on Professor Dawkins’ eminence; however the court’s decision is all the more worrying, given it is difficult to think of anyone more qualified than him to speak on science matters, being the Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/index.shtml

We believe it essential that the EU remains committed to insisting that countries are not permitted to accede until they conform to fundamental rights. We admire your work in this area and note in Appendix 2 below a number of references you have made to requiring Turkey to improve freedom of expression, for the benefit of others who read this letter, which we regard as an open one.

I look forward to receiving confirmation that you intend to investigate the matter, and subsequently what action you intend to take, including making references to renewed concerns in your reports about the progress being made by candidate states in the vital areas of fundamental rights.

Yours sincerely,

Sophie in ’t Veld MEP

http://richarddawkins.net/article,3369, ... t-Veld-MEP
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Post by DollarLama » Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:00 pm

I'm tempted to suggest we should have a thread dedicated to Turkey alone. This article in New Humanist describes an increasingly polarised country: Will Turkey take the Yugoslavia option? Kerem Oktem on a country caught between Islam and ultra-nationalism.

Image

Just a snippet from the article:
New Humanist wrote:As it appears now, the two large blocs vying for hegemony are not secularists and moderate Islamists, but isolationalists and nationalists – ranging from the military to the Republican People’s Party – on the one side and authoritarian Islamists on the other. Both blocs are determined to impose their ideological straitjacket on society, both are ready to use religion for their political ends, both base their politics on the vilification of others and both are happy to exclude the two large minority groups, the Kurds and the Alevis, without whose enfranchisement Turkish democracy will remain incomplete. Yet both blocs are also Machiavellian enough to drop almost any ideological commitment, if this would bring them closer to power.
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Post by FXR » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:33 pm

Islam will overcome Turkey. Herr Ratzinger will be happy because then they won't get into the EU. If they don't get into the EU then there is less presure on the EU to be religion neutral.
Human communication is a very rickety rope bridge between minds. Its too narrow to allow but a few thoughts to cross at a time. Many are lost in the chasms of noise, suspicion, misinterpretation and shooting the message through dislike of the messenger.
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Post by Yazar » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:52 pm

That's a good article though I think the divides in the country are more numerous and deeper than the author implies.

Nice to see an MEP take interest in the website bans. Dawkins is only one of many sites banned, she should be asking the EU to ask Turkey what are the exact legal guidelines about banning websites. There is no answer to that because there are none, any local judge can issue an order and get a ban put on any website. (Erdogan asked last week about YouTube said 'I can access it, you can too.')

Of course this will all be of limited use, Turkey appears to be slacking on the EU front at the moment, partly because the PKK are on the rise, the economy's teetering and the government parties are bickering more than usual. I don't think Islam is the biggest threat to Turkey at the moment, I think the Kurdish situation is. And I don't think we have a government that can handle it, nor do I see any other party that has the balls to either.

In any case the result is the same, no Turkey in the EU.
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Post by DollarLama » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:23 pm

Yazar wrote:In any case the result is the same, no Turkey in the EU.
That's so disappointing - I'd thought the prospect of being in the EU would help to sort out Turkey, and that Turkey being in the EU would be excellent for Europe - get over that unthinking "west-is-best" Eurocentrism . Looks like it's all going belly-up now... Shame. I really was hoping for a more pluralist Europe.
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Post by CelticAtheist » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:02 pm

DollarLama wrote:
Yazar wrote:In any case the result is the same, no Turkey in the EU.
That's so disappointing - I'd thought the prospect of being in the EU would help to sort out Turkey, and that Turkey being in the EU would be excellent for Europe - get over that unthinking "west-is-best" Eurocentrism . Looks like it's all going belly-up now... Shame. I really was hoping for a more pluralist Europe.
Christ no, not unless Europe adds a democracy-only treaty to its arsenal.
Only the Turkish nationalists' and military's staunch defence of democratic ideas and secularism respectively keep Turkey from slipping into Islamism.
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