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BIANET threatened with banning of its Internet site

(BIANET/IFEX) - The following is a 29 October 2008 BIANET press release:

Adnan Oktar, the name behind the closing of most of the internet sites in Turkey, has threatened Bianet too.

Claiming he was insulted and slandered in an article criticizing the internet bans from a legal perspective, which appeared on http://www.bianet.org, Adnan Oktar (Adnan Hodja) announced that he was planning to go to court if the article was not taken off the site.

Giving Bianet a warning yesterday on behalf of their client, Oktar's lawyers noted that they had managed to get sites such as wordpress.com, richarddawkins.net, egitimsen.org.tr, groups.google.com and gazetevatan.com banned previously.

Lawyers Kerim Kalkan and Ceyhun Aydogan stated in the warning that they were planning to go to court if the article in question was not removed within 24 hours.

Meeting with lawyers about the matter, the Bianet administration decided not to remove the article since it did not contain any insult.

Oktar mistook the critique intended for the court.

The article that Oktar thought was insulting to him was written by Yaman Akdeniz, a faculty member from the Law Department of the University of Leeds, and Kerem Altiparmak, a member of the Human Rights Center of Ankara University's Political Science Department. The article was published by Bianet on October 20.

Noting that, to date, sixty-one sites have been banned by court orders from the Silivri and Gebze courts, both Akdeniz and Altiparmak say that the sites are being banned because of a problem in the courts' method of interpretation.

The courts pass over Law 5651 for the Regulation of Material on the Internet and the Fight against Crimes Committed by Material Posted on the Internet and instead apply regulations concerning the issue of insult.

However, the courts should really apply Law 5651, which was designed for matters concerning the internet and does not allow for site bans.

Akdeniz and Altiparmak also draw attention to the fact that the banned sites are never given the chance to defend themselves and usually do not even know the reasons for their ban.

Oktar's lawyer, Aydogan, did not reply to Bianet's demand that they give concrete examples regarding the insult allegation.

Oktar is not the only one asking for censorship.

In addition to the sites banned by Oktar's formal complaints, so far the Turkish courts have banned many others, including sites like YouTube, EksiSozluk, Daily Motion, blogger.com and geocities.com.

Freedom of expression defenders, academics, jurists, journalists and internet users, both from Turkey and the international arena, have reacted to the bans. (EU/TB)

For further information on Adnan Oktar and Internet censorship, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93724

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