Censorship
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The Republic of Türkiye 🇹🇷 (still referred to as Turkey in some English-speaking territories) is a transcontinental country located on the boundary between Europe and Asia. It was founded in 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire. As of 2022, Türkiye is the largest nation of Turkic peoples with an estimated population of 83,047,706, of which the largest religious group is Muslim (99.8%), primarily of the Sunni branch.[1] On May 26, 2022, a formal request was submitted to the United Nations (UN) to change the official English name change of "Republic of Turkey" to "Republic of Türkiye" to reflect the native pronunciation of tur-key-yay and to avoid association with the bird.[2][3] The UN officially recognized the English name change on June 1, 2022.[4]

General censorship[]

The Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tends to silence their critics. TRT is a mouthpiece of the Turkish government where criticism is not allowed. Turkey has a very large jail of journalists.

During its 12-year rule, the ruling AKP has gradually expanded its control over media. Currently, many newspapers, TV channels and internet portals dubbed as Yandaş Medya ("Partisan Media") or Havuz Medyası ("Pool Media") continue their heavy pro-government propaganda. Several media groups receive preferential treatment in exchange for AKP-friendly editorial policies. Some of these media organizations were acquired by AKP-friendly businesses through questionable funds and processes. Media not friendly to AKP (such as Kemalist media, for example), on the other hand, are threatened with intimidation, inspections and fines. These media group owners face similar threats to their other businesses. An increasing number of columnists have been fired for criticizing the AKP leadership.

Politicians in the Turkish government are required by law to deny the Armenian genocide in public.

Book censorship[]

Any newspaper or book made by an ethnic Kurd or Armenian can have its creators charged under the article 301 of the penal code for insulting the Turkish identity. This what happened to Hrant Dink, an Istanbul-based Turkish-Armenian journalist murdered in 2007 for his views, ensuing a major uproar.

  • Captain Miki - one issue of this comic book was banned as it "encouraged laziness and a spirit of adventurousness among Turkish people".
  • Books such as The Communist Manifesto, State and Revolution and The History of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) were banned in the late 1960s or 1970s.
  • The Grapes of Wrath - In 1973, 11 publishers were charged for publishing this book as it "promoted propaganda unfavourable to the state".
  • In January 1973, 137 leftist publications were ordered to be burned by martial law prosecutor.
  • The National Geographic Atlas of the World was banned in 1987.
  • The Eleven Thousand Rods - this book was censored in Turkey due to "obscenity" and "harming inner feelings of the people", with its publisher was sentenced to a monetary fine of 684 Turkish Lira.
  • The God Delusion - this Richard Dawkins' book caused its publisher to be investigated by an Istanbul prosecutor for "incitation of religion hatred".
  • The Satanic Verses - in 1989, Turkey forbade the sale, import and distribution of this Salman Rushdie book after the same author had a fatwa issued on him.
  • Of Mice and Men - this book was censored in 2013 for "immorality".
  • Table - this poem written by Edip Cansever had two verses omitted from high school books due to having the word "beer".
  • My Sweet Orange Tree - a teacher risked risked disciplinary sanctions for giving homework from this book.

Internet censorship[]

Turkey Internet Censorship

The notification used by the Directorate of Telecommunication and Communication stating the legal authority under which the particular website is blocked.

Turkey's mass censorship of Internet sites which the government does not like has taken to the next level, threatening online journalists and imposing a system monitoring its people's internet activity. An internet filtration system was later put officially in place, which the government says it is in place to protect children from watch porn, but it can, as many protesting Turkish citizens fear, be used to censor anything the government does not want its citizens viewing.

YouTube was banned in Turkey thrice: Its first block was on 6 March 2007, on the grounds of hosting videos which insulted Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (sparking flamewars between Greek, Armenian and Turkish netizens on YouTube), but on 2010 the block was lifted. The second block carried out on 27 March 2014 due to a video claiming to depict Turkey's foreign minister, spy chief, and a top general discussing scenarios that could lead to their country's military attacking jihadist militants in Syria, which was overturned on 29 May by the Constitutional Court of Turkey, ruling that the block was unconstitutional, as it violated freedom of expression, which is warranted by the Constitution, The third block on YouTube, which was initiated on 23 December 2016 due to videos of Turkish soldiers being immolated by jihadists, was rescinded on 25 December of that year.

With a statement published on the official website on June 6, 2016, it was announced that PayPal had ceased its operations in Türkiye. The rejection of its license application to the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) was cited as the reason. Although the site is still accessible.

On 29 April 2017, Wikipedia (in all language editions) was banned in Turkey, but on 15 January 2020, the block was lifted.

On 12nd June 2024, The website for Wattpad was banned

Blocked websites[]

  • Newgrounds
  • Other adult content websites
  • Pastebin
  • Wattpad

Formerly blocked websites[]

  • Blogger
  • Little Green Footballs
  • Richard Dawkins' website
  • The Jawa Report
  • WordPress

Movie censorship[]

Any film depicting the Armenian genocide (which, according the Turkish government, never happened), anything critical of the military and any film made by an ethnic Kurd or Armenian can have its creators charged under the article 301 of the penal code for insulting the Turkish identity.

In 2016, the Ankara International Film Festival required registration documents (which before then were not required) from all film producers that passed pre-screening in order to be added to the programme. Two directors did not got their films screened, as they said that registration documents were being used as a form of censorship.

On 17 November 2017, the governor's office of Ankara banned public showings of any LGBT movie, exhibition, or event, due to "cultural sensitivities".

Censored Turkish films[]

  • Bir Çirkin Adam (An Ugly Man) - this 1969 film was banned due to its revelations of the social conditions in the country.
  • Bakur (North) - this film had its screening cancelled at the 2015 Istanbul film festival due to its depicting the footage of a few members of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
  • Öyle Bir Kadın Ki (She is Such a Woman) - this 1979 film (which was the first Turkish film to include a hardcore sex scene to be legally produced and distributed) was banned during the 1980 coup d'etat led by Kenan Evren. As of today it is even difficult to find its original and uncut version.
  • Su da Yanar (Water Also Burns) - this 1987 film was banned because it dealt with the poet Nazim Hikmet, who was a Communist.
  • Yeryüzü Aşkın Yüzü Oluncaya Dek (Until the Face of the Earth Becomes a Face of Love) - in 2014, this film was removed from the programme of the International Antalya Film Festival by the organizers, which warned that showing the film may commit the crime of insulting Turkey's president.
  • Yorgun Savaşçı (The Tired Warrior) - this 1979 film was banned due to being based on a novel written by Kemal Tahrir, (who was a Marxist oppositor of the regime) and because the story doubted the uniqueness of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's (Turkey's first President and founding father) contribution to struggle for the Turkish Republic in the 1920s.

Censored foreign films[]

  • Ararat - Atom Egoyan's 2002 film about the Armenian Defense of Van in 1915 was screened with heavy edits, among threats by Turkish nationalist groups.
  • Blade Runner 2049 - This movie was released self-censored by Sony Pictures in Turkey, with various scenes depicting nudity from the original cut being left out, which was explained by Sony Pictures stating that "slightly-edited versions" of the film were supplied in some territories "to be respectful of the local culture".
  • Cuties - This film was banned in the country the same day it premiered on Netflix, despite Netflix having dubbed the film in Turkish. The reason of the ban was that Cuties had imagery displaying exploitation and sexualization of minors.
  • Nymphomaniac - This film was banned for having many sex scenes, making it, described by the Turkish censors as more porn than art.
  • Pride - This LGBT-themed film was banned by the Ankara Governor's Office, with the ongoing state of emergency cited as the reason for the ban. The office stated that such events could "incite hatred and enmity" from different factions of society, from which "danger" could arise.
  • Sex and the City 2 - Banned from Turkish cable television as the representation of gay marriage was seen as "twisted and immoral" and deemed as dangerous for the Turkish family.
  • Strange World - This film was not submitted by Disney to local authorities and its theatrical release was skipped in the country, tantamounting to a ban, due to the subplot regarding Ethan and Daizo's homosexual relationship in the film.
  • The Last Temptation of Christ - Banned for its "blasphemic themes".
  • You Can't Win 'Em All - This 1970 British-American war film was banned because a slander, as A Turkish magazine wanted to make a interview, the producers refused. Later, said magazine accused the film of ''Anti-Turkish rhetoric''. The ban was overturned 2013 when premium movie channe Movie Smart aired it in Turkey for the first time.

Television censorship[]

In television broadcasts, scenes depicting nudity, consumption of alcohol, smoking, drug usage, violence and improper display of designer clothes logo, brand names of food and drink and also street signages of the name of establishment are usually censored by blurring out or cut respective areas and scenes. TV channels also self-censor subtitles in order to avoid heavy fines from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu, RTÜK). For instance, CNBC-e channel usually translates the word "gay" as "marginal".

In August 2001, the Radio and Television Supreme Council banned BBC World Service and the Deutsche Welle as their broadcasts were deemed "threatening national security". The ban on broadcasts in Kurdish was lifted with certain qualifications in 2001 and 2002.

In June 2020, negotiations between Netflix and members of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over the issue of including LGBT characters fell through. Turkey had demanded that a gay character be removed entirely from the script prepared for a series. Netflix refused to accept this demand and the production of the show was stopped.

  • ALF (1986 TV series) - The episode "For Your Eyes Only" and the other episodes were aired rarely on Turkish television while exempt/banned from Arabic television due to inappropriate references. there is the first episode of the said show where Willie Tanner is not wearing a robe has been cut to prevent from showing it, and the intro showed Kate getting interrupted during shower was cut.
  • The Loud House - In 2017, following the airing of "L is for Love", the Turkish Government banned the show, and Nickelodeon Turkey stopped airing the show due to Luna Loud having a girlfriend at the end of the episode, making her a lesbian. The ban got lifted after 10 months.
  • Love 101 - The Presidential Communication Centre initiated several investigations regarding a potentially homosexual character in this Netflix original series and a case was opened in court against it, which was eventually dismissed by the court as the claims could not be proven.
  • Pokémon (anime) - The show was taken off air by ATV on 13 December 2000, on RTÜK's behest, after a report published by the Health Ministry stating the anime has negative effects on children, due to incidents of children, inspired by the show, to jump off a balcony, breaking their legs[5]. One of these was Ferhat Ağırbaş, a four-year-old child from Mersin on 30 October. Another was Seyda Aykanat, a seven-year-old student from Kilis on 25 November.
  • The Simpsons :
    • In 2013, the Turkish Government fined a private channel $30,000 for airing "Treehouse of Horror XXII", where God was being shown taking orders from the Devil.
    • The episode "Mobile Homer" was removed from the Turkish feed of Disney + due to its unflattering depictions of Turks.
  • South Park - This show was banned for one year due to its depiction of God as a "rat".
  • Teletubbies - In 2004, this show was banned due to inappropriate content.
  • The Valley of Wolves: Terror (Kurtlar Vadisi: Terör) - This popular television series was banned in 2007 for its violent themes.
  • Titeuf - Instead of expressing sexual elements and sex in the cartoon, "How to make a child?" It was pointed out that topics such as RTÜK examined the cartoon. In the prepared report, it was stated that the issues of reproduction and pregnancy were discussed in the cartoon in two episodes "Supermatozoid" and "Pickles and Strawberries". Child Psychology Specialist Pedagogist Sevil Yavuz stated that the information given within the scope of the health lesson in the cartoon is not correct and said, "To explaining issues such as sexuality, sperm, pregnancy and sex is not suitable for the age of children." Noting that the topics to be explained during adolescence are included in the cartoon watched by young children, She stated that this situation may cause problems in children. According to the news of Aykut Yılmaz from Habertürk, the following was recorded in the report: "It is emphasized by pedagogues that sexual information given ahead of time can cause children to show behavioral disorders by increasing their sense of curiosity. The fact that words about sexuality are used in cartoons can lead to them to gain inaccurate information as a result of talking about sexual issues among children, as in the cartoon in question. False information that will occur in the perceptions of children whose consciousness level has not developed and whose sexual identity has not been formed will negatively affect the future lives of individuals who are adults of the future."

Video game censorship[]

  • Minecraft - On 10 March 2015, the Ministry of Family and Social Services recommended a ban on Minecraft, a video game in which players construct and protect structures, claiming it encourages violence in children. However, the ban never took place.

References[]

  1. Turkey (Turkiye), The World Factbook, Central Intelligence Agency. 2022-08-31.
  2. Türkiye, United Nations. 2022-05-26.
  3. Why Turkey changed its name: populism, polls and a bird by Mohammed Abdelbary, CNN. 2022-06-03.
  4. Turkey rebrands as ‘Türkiye,’ changing name at the United Nations by Mina Alsharif, Hande Atay Alam and Eliza Mackintosh, CNN. 2022-06-03.
  5. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2000-dec-12-mn-64419-story.html

External links[]

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