Better to Give Than to Receive

The low level of Turkish national self-esteem has been made evident once again. The country that can bear no criticism has banned YouTube.

Some Greek YouTubers have been insulting Turkey. That was enough for a Turkish judge to order Turk Telecom to block access to the site. Try to log on from Istanabul, Ankara, or Izmir and you will receive a message that says (translated from Turkish) “Access to this site has been denied by court order ! …” (I’m not sure what point is of the elipsis after the exclamation mark. Maybe it’s a Turkish thing.)

It’s not just that Greeks have been insulting Turkey. It has been a trading of insults, with Turks insulting Greece as well. But then Greece doesn’t have laws for imprisoning anyone who insults Greece or Greek culture.

What made the situation intolerable for the Turks was criticism of Ataturk. Even though he’s been dead for 72 years (though I wouldn’t mention that if you are in Turkey), insulting the former president is very serious business. A prosecutor asked the Istanbul police for evidence of the criticisms of Ataturk on YouTube. She asked a magistrate to review the case, a court order was issued by an Istanbul criminal court yesterday.

This is the same Turkey that wants to join the European Union. The only problem is that freedom of expression is important on this side of Bosphorus. It’s just not something the Turks can handle.


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