German court bans Erdogan insult poem

ERDOGAN

When German chancellor Angela Merkel allowed the prosecution of a comedian who had insulted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, some thought it was strategic: that by doing so, it exposed the country's ancient ban on insulting heads of state to broad legal scrutiny.

A court in Hamburg, however, has now banned most of the insulting poem from being read in public there, further rattling those worried about free speech in Germany.

In Tuesday's ruling the court found that "Erdogan does not have to put up with the expression of certain passages in view of their outrageous content attacking (his) honour."

The court found that such material overstepped the boundaries of decency in attacking the Turkish leader.

[Comedian Jan] Boehmermann has indicated his poem was a response to Ankara's decision to summon Germany's ambassador to protest a satirical song broadcast on German TV which lampooned Erdogan in far tamer language.

This line, from the court, really sums up the problem: "Through the poem’s reference to racist prejudice and religious slander as well as sexual habits, the verses in question go beyond what the petitioner [Erdogan] can be expected to tolerate.”

"Germany's Ai Weiei," Boehmermann's clever self-appellation, has a good ring to it, but is surely inaccurate. How often does China interpret its laws for the tolerance of a foreign head of state? Read the rest

German politician arrested in Berlin for insulting Turkish president

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Bruno Kramm, leader of Berlin's branch of the German Pirate Party, was arrested Saturday for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kramm was detained while conducting a "literary analysis," in support of comedian Jan Boehmermann, outside the Turkish Embassy in Berlin. As part of the publicity stunt, he read two lines of Boehmermann poem ridiculing Erdogan.

The incident comes after chancellor Angela Merkel allowed prosecutors to file charges against Boehmermann, following Turkish demands that he be punished for broadcasting the poem on local television.

Boehmermann, however, was not physically detained by police.

RT reports that Kramm was "approached by several police officers" after he began citing the lines and taken into custody. Police dispersed the gathering, according to RT.

The arrest will further embarrass the German government, which sees itself as supportive of free speech but has failed to scrap an old law against insulting foreign heads of state. Merkel has promised to do so, but has also been criticized for condemning the poem and cosying up to the Turks to get them to accept more Syrian refugees. Read the rest

Turkish government tells German ambassador to ban video satirizing president Erdoğan

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The Turkish government privately contacted Germany's ambassador to demand the censorship of a video satirizing the thin-skinned, famously corrupt Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he of the 1,000-room palace whose erection required the razing of a nature preserve. Read the rest

Saudi embassy hired mafiosi to smuggle Turkish PM Erdoğan's son out of Italy ahead of money laundering charges

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Italian police spokesman Lt. Colonel Domenico Grimaldi says that Bilal Erdoğan was able to jump bail on money laundering charges because the Saudi embassy paid the mafia to help get him clear, assisting them with fraudulent diplomatic papers and a Saudi prince disguise. Read the rest

Man faces two years in prison for saying Turkey's president looks like Gollum

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A Turkish doctor is on trial for sharing a meme with side-by-side photos of the president of Turkey and Gollum. He is accused on insulting the president. The court has assembled a team of experts to determine whether or not the president resembles Gollum, a character from Lord of the Rings that J.R.R. Tolkien described as "a small, slimy creature."

From IBI Times:

The experts, including two academics, two behavioural scientists and an expert on cinema, will reportedly decided whether Erdogan was insulted in the tweet.

[The doctor], who claims that Gollum is not a bad character and that he did not insult anyone, faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

Read the rest

How to cook a marijuana marinated turkey

KRLaaw

Happy Danksgiving!

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At least Turkey's tragic politics gives material to comics artists

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Today, Firstsecond publishes Ozge Samanci's Dare to Disappoint, a graphic novel memoir of growing up in Turkey. Ms Samanci has favored us with an essay describing the tumultuous relationship between Turkey's authoritarian, thin-skinned president and her fellow cartoonists.

Watch this ice cream vendor in Turkey blow tourists' minds with magic

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This sidewalk sweets vendor in Istanbul loves playing tricks on customers. Watch one of them turn the tables on him.

Turkey terrorizing college campus

A "very aggressive" turkey has apparently been terrorizing people on the University of Michigan's North Campus.

"Do not try to approach the turkey," deputy police chief Melissa Overton said. "We've gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he's cornered them."

"He hasn't hurt anybody, but he's a very aggressive bird... He's also created a traffic hazard because apparently he likes to lay down in the middle of the road and not move. It can be very difficult for the buses to get around him."

(MLive)

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Accused Turkish cybercriminal extradited to U.S. to face charges of hacking ATMs worldwide

Never a good look, at least not to prosecutors.
The so-called unlimited cash out operations used hacked debit cards with withdrawal limits removed to make ATMs spew money.

Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube

The BBC reports that the courts want to prevent the spread of photos from last week's deadly siege which ended in the deaths of two terrorists and their hostage. Read the rest

1,000-room palace for Turkey's President Erdogan will cost twice initial $615M pricetag

The White Palace in Ankara has 1.6m square feet of floorspace, and features thousands of trees imported from Italy at a cost of up to $10,000 each; the taxpayer-footed electricity bill from the palace will run $313K/month. Read the rest

Turkey to require pet owners to undergo mandatory certification

Via Reddit, photographer unknown.

Under a new law in Turkey:

Anybody who wants to have a pet at home will need to undergo training. They will also have to provide suitable accommodation for the welfare of the animal, as well as meeting its ethological needs and care for its health. With the new arrangement, sales of all kinds of pets and animals except for fish and birds will be banned in pet shops. Also, prison sentences will be introduced for torture and ill-treatment of animals.
Also, zoophilia gets you 2 years in jail. [hurriyetdailynews.com] Read the rest

Turkish government blocks Youtube to shut down spread of phone recording in which PM conspires to hide millions from investigators

The Turkish government has doubled down on its Internet censorship program, blocking all of Youtube in addition to its ban on Twitter. Despite theories about the political theatre of blocking Twitter, it seems like Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also genuinely concerned with suppressing a recording of a conversation with his son in which he conspires to hide the money he is thought to have received through corrupt dealing. As with the Twitter block, this one was undertaken as an administrative order from the PM's office, without judicial oversight. The Twitter ban has since been rescinded by the Turkish courts, but the block may not be lifted before the elections. Read the rest

Turkey orders block of Twitter's IP addresses

Just a few days after Turkey's scandal-rocked government banned Twitter by tweaking national DNS settings, the state has doubled down by ordering ISPs to block Twitter's IP addresses, in response to the widespread dissemination of alternative DNS servers, especially Google's 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 (these numbers were even graffitied on walls).

Following the ban, Turkey's Twitter usage grew by 138 percent. Now that Twitter's IP range is blocked, more Turkish Internet users are making use of Tor and VPNs, and they continue to use SMS for access to the service.

It's interesting that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has singled out Twitter for his attacks ("Twitter, schmitter! We will wipe out Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says.") Why not Facebook or Google Plus? I'm not certain, but my hypothesis is that Facebook and Google's "real names" policy -- which make you liable to disconnection from the service if you're caught using an alias -- make them less useful for political dissidents operating in an environment in which they fear reprisals. Read the rest

Turks bid farewell to the Internet in the face of brutal censorship/surveillance law

Turkey's brutal new Internet law grants the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate the power to arbitrarily censor Web-pages to the individual URL level, much like the Great Firewall of China -- meaning that specific articles that are critical of the state can be censored while leaving the remainder of the site intact. It criminalizes "harmful" Internet messages and hosting "harmful" content, and requires long-term data-retention by ISPs, meaning the state and police will be able to access records of your entire online activity. It will also mandate the use of deep packet inspection to detect and disrupt technologies for evading censorship and maintaining privacy.

The law was passed in a process rife with corruption, secrecy and other undemocratic irregularities. Turkey's #OccupyGezi uprising galvanized a diverse opposition that took to the streets against corruption and repression, spread using the Internet. It documented police brutality that shocked the world and uploaded the videos to Youtube. As the forces of reaction and oppression in Turkey move to consolidate their power, it's clear that this law is intended to prevent any further use of networks to organize and publicize opposition movements.

On Medium, Ahmet A. Sabancı has posted a poignant farewell to the Internet from Istanbul: Read the rest

A holiday reminder

Eating turkey doesn't make you sleepy — it's all the booze and over-eating that does that. Read the rest

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