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Wow, Turkey is really going nuts. I am surprised, because normally you hear "social media ban" and you think some dictatorship. One thing is certain, while this is going on, Turkey can kiss EU membership ambitions goodbye.



> Turkey can kiss EU membership ambitions goodbye.

Why? Single EU countries have widespread censoring infrastructure in place and IP-based bans are common and normal. They are just not at stupid to ban hi-profile sites yet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Germany http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_France http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Italy#In... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_Denmark http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_Repu... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_Unit...

Please note the common pattern of the justifications: censorship starts often with "terrorism/children abuse/pornography", then covers "counterfeit goods/media", finally "libel/hate speech".


Those are almost cases of illegal content being blocked or removed. Classified information, copyright violations. No one is having opinions or new repressed. Turkey is proactively silencing dissent that has no other channel. PM Erdogan was caught red-handed taking bribes and it seems the Turkish MSM is already intimidated into quiescence and now they try to block whole sections of the internet to hide the truth.


Turkey is also just blocking "illegal content."


In all these country, ‘hate speech’ is generally clearly limited to destructive and politically irrelevant things: nostalgics of the Third Reich are illegal out of respect for history, not because the government expects to be over-turned in the short term. Ireland and UK might have some more recent problems with ‘The Troubles’, but both sides can freely exchange political ideas (as long as its not to call for terrorism-grade violence). I’m not seeing Netherlands on that list, but a decade ago, they had an… interesting discussion on what to do with a political party that wanted to abolish sexual majority or ‘specism’ i.e. make pedophilia and bestiality legal. I’m fairly happy under-age children were not meant to have an open access to those arguments to be made believed “this is OK”.

I don’t have a problem with any of these. I have even less a problem when every country on your list has had recent, vivid debate on extreme speeches, and tolerated everything that wasn’t clearly in categories that unambiguously deteriorate political discourse.

I understand that this might shock some Americans who don’t understand it, but the overwhelming majority of Europeans would not even hesitate a second to refuse US-like free speech were anything goes, and Koch brothers finance everything, from blatant hurtful lies, attacks on science and fuel race-hatred.

I fully expect that this comment, like every similar one on Hacker News I made prior, to be heavily down-voted by people who have no issue with the form of what I say (polite, argued and relevant) but disagree with my opinion. Doing so goes against the principles of this forum, and you should be ashamed to think about it.


> In all these country, ‘hate speech’ is generally clearly limited to destructive and politically irrelevant things

Not really, see this example of "law stretching": http://boingboing.net/2011/10/05/italys-insane-internet-law-...

> This proposal, which the Italian Parliament is currently debating, provides, among other things, a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image.

> Unfortunately, the law does not require an evaluation of the claim by an impartial third judge - the opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required, in order to impose such correction to any website.

For a longer list of similar cases, have a look at https://opennet.net/research/regions/europe

> Conclusion: Today, Internet content in Europe is controlled by three groups of factors: region-wide organizations (the EU), individual countries, and companies (e.g., ISPs, search engines). While governments have been extremely active in promoting filtering technologies for child pornography and surveillance technologies for copyright infringement, they are increasingly finding that they can achieve their aims through indirect means. Rather than passing explicit regulations, governments have pressured companies to voluntarily self-regulate content, be it pornography, hate speech, or content that infringes upon copyrights. Such pressures show a creeping tendency toward the second- and third-generation controls found elsewhere.


Very well said. This, and the EU's encouraging the fascist overthrow of the democratically elected Ukrainian president has made me strongly opposed to the current form of European 'Union'.


Sigh. Part of the Maidan movement consists of militant fascists, yes. But that doesn't make the whole movement fascist and neither does it make the overthrowing of Yanukowich a fascist coup.

I know a bunch of Ukraininans (ethnic and Ukrainian-speaking), and they are extremely opposed to being any part of the "Russian sphere". Those 80 years of subjugation are not easily forgotten.

Ukraine was at a once-in-a-hundred years decision point and it was very clear that staying away from Russia was not possible with him in power.

Just because you are democratically elected doesn't mean that you can single-handedly decide to do anything you want. Or do you think Yanukowich was elected on a "screw the EU we-ll go Russia"-ticket?


As was pointed out at a UN Security Council meeting regarding the Ukraine crisis, the government wasn't overthrown. Yanukovych just left, first out of Kyiv, then out of the country, and that directly after signing the accord that would have settled all of this. And of course, all of that after actually killing many of the non-violent protestors.


What makes them fascist in nature? I'm fascinated by your use of the word.


He's probably referring to considerable fascist elements in the Maidan movement. The Right Sector[1] and Freedom[2] (formerly called Social-National Party of Ukraine). The former is "just" fascist, and the latter is neo-nazi.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Sector

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svoboda_(political_party)


Well, you know, 'fascist' nowadays can mean 'anyone who takes a hard stance on something I'm against'. It's pretty much a branch of Godwin's Law.


Erdogan, in practice, gave up EU membership a long time ago. He initially used that mirage as a wedge to remove old power structures... and then replaced them with his own Islamist versions. In the last 5 years, I don't think EU membership for Turkey has ever been seriously brought up in mainstream debate (in Europe, at least).

Erdogan is just a tinpot dictator of the Islamic variety, but he seems to be happy to keep in NATO a country that is absolutely critical for NATO operations in the Middle-East, so we keep pretending he's just a "conservative-minded" democratic leader. Unless Europe is happy to give Putin's supporters more ammunition for "double standard" arguments, it's time to call a spade a spade.


In all fairness, many EU leaders are scared shitless of Turkey. It is not so much that they have something against Islam (well, at least most of them), but they are acutely aware that Turkish society might blow up once the power of the military is reduced to a sufficient degree.

Nobody knew what exactly could/would trigger chaos in Turkey, but there are many candidates: The Kurdish question, the post-Kemalistic resurgence of Islam, the Alevites...

I sincerely hope that these expectations were to pessimistic. If Turkey could somehow "capture" all its societal tensions within the framework of a stable parlamentary system, we (both Turkey and the EU) could greatly benefit from Turkish accession.


> In all fairness, many EU leaders are scared shitless of Turkey. It is not so much that they have something against Islam (well, at least most of them)

If they aren't, many of their voters are, and the question of the demographic weight of Turkey is a real one, considering how awkward the political aspect of the EU already is. Not to mention that I can't imagine many politicians fighting to share a border with Syria at the moment.


i disagree with EU leaders scared of Turkey. They just want Turkey to behave more like a civilized country as Turkey is the bridge between Europe and the rest of the Muslim world.

But with the way they are acting, they are not really helping out much. All the scandals left and right, the Kurdish and still holding under military occupation half of an EU country ( Cyprus ) then that is not how a democratic country should rule.


Exactly how democratic it is is very much in question: http://www.opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/halil-gurhanli/c...

It's a good example of how pluralism is a more important aspect of democracy than the actual voting. People like to complain about the US two-party system and condemn obvious one-party states, but the reality of a lot of recent or fragile democracies is that they are one-and-a-bit party states. There's an establishment and an opposition, and the opposition are allowed to exist but have a limited influence on actual control.


For an example of this, look at how the ANC has dominated South African governance for the last 20 years, and the cost that's had in terms of corruption and development of civil society.


I wonder whether or not it'd do any good to enshrine opposition factions in a government. I have a vague notion of requiring budgetary support, but I can't really imagine any specifics I'd be happy with.

AFAIK, opposition parties (and political parties in general) haven't been included in any constitutions at all.

#thoughtexperiment #whimsy


I think Turkey has a lot more complex issues before they can be seriously considered as a EU candidate:

- Occupation of Cyprus (EU member state) populated mostly by Greeks (Greece is EU member as well) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_invasion_of_Cyprus)

- Armenian Genocide of 1915. 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Turkish government, because of being Christians.

21 Countries and 43 U.S. states have recognized the Armenian Genocide. Turkey denies the Armenian Genocide.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide)

They constantly suppress rights of Kurds.


Yes, no other European country has any similar issues. Greece should close its borders immediately to prevent us barbarians from entering the EU again!

Seriously, I agree that Turkey needs to do a lot to rise up to the European standards but I don't think it helps the conversation to bring these sensitive issues up every time you see the words EU and Turkey in the same sentence.

edit: Dear down-voters, I understand your sensitivity on the issue but please try to understand what I'm arguing against. I actually accept the Armenian Genocide, and support Kurdish rights, and the rights of any other minorities. What I'm arguing against is this continuous flame-war. See my other comments on those issues if you challenge my honesty. Thanks.


Many other countries had or still have difficulty coming to terms with their past: France until relatively recently with its colonial past, the UK (or so it seems seen from continental Europe), Japan with its numerous warcrimes during WWII, Algeria, or even the US. I can understand why repetitive, double-standard bashing would become tedious after a short while.


The problem with this sensitive issues is that they are still un-resolved. Unfortunately your goverment does not want to do anything about them and keep on doing what they fucking want.

When Erdogan steps down, and hopefully a more civilized, non-military person takes over then nothing will change.

In the mean time, Kurds are still gonna suffer, Cyprus will still be divide in half, and everything else that they keep on doing.


As I said, every country has issues. A never-ending flame-war (which continues with someone mentioning Macedonians, you mentioning Cyprus, someone mentioning the massacre of Turkish in Cyprus, you mentioning the massacre of Greeks in Cyprus and so on; you know the drill - and please don't keep commenting on these, everyone can Google them) doesn't help anyone. We as regular citizens just increase tension between ourselves. I have Greek relatives too like a lot of people whose ancestors have been in İstanbul for many centuries. I love Greece like many others. Please stop making these issues a campaign against Turkey and the Turkish people.


I think, one should at least read the paper before sharing.

Just to add another perspective to whom read yours comment:

-So called "Armenian Genocide" is not acclaimed by Turkey and the allegations imply the predecessor of Turkey, the Ottoman Empire.

Only then, even if you accept this as a genocide, you should at least consider removal of Germany as a member from EU. Quote from the link you provided: "and it is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust"

Holocaust (which is definitely not just an allegation): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust


I don't think that the Armenian Genocide is an allegation and the fact that you put it between quotes just makes your "perspective" seem biased.

The issue itself is not only about the genocide / the crimes against humanity but also how the country handled it after.

In the case of Germany, since you brought it up, they fully recognise their deeds and don't try to deny it among other things.

This is of course only step one and Turkey hasn't event reached it.


The denial is the problem - the fact that people who do not live anymore committed a genocide is certainly nothing that people living now should be held responsible for. But a nation has to embrace its history even if it was a predecessing state - the Third Reich is different from today's Germany as much as Turkey is different from the Ottoman Empire.

If you deny Holocaust publicly in Germany you are in serious legal trouble - but in Turkey it is the opposite - you are in trouble when you publicly claim that a genocide on Turkey's terrain took place.


This is a problem with the Kemalistic approach to history and Turkey needs to fix it fast, because it poisons self-perspective. I distinctly remember one day back when I was in school (in Germany), when a Turkish student stood up during a history lesson and declared that the Kurdish question was "bullshit". He went as far as to call in question the existence of the Kurds!

The Armenian Genocide was not part of the curriculum back then, but I wonder what would have happened...


I totally agree.

The reason I'm referring it "so called" is because I'm an engineer who didn't read any material on the subject. I don't have enough knowledge to assume it's fact or not. And I don't think it's right to believe anything without reading varied sources.

And the denial should be taken as a political issue that is decided and said by government.

I pointed it, because it's not right to assume all Turkish people think the "armenian genocide" is fictual, in the same way not all the Turkish people want to block Twitter or Google DNS.


Yeah... the difference being the Germans said "We fucked up sorry"

While the Turks stick to the story that all the Armenians woke up one day and said "Hey! How about we abandon all of our land and go march into the desert to die?"


Just to give yet another perspective.

You seem to imply that the Armenian Genocide is not a fact but an allegation. Well just as an example, here is an quote from the wikipedia article that was shared:

'Volkan Vural, retired ambassador of Turkey to Germany and Spain[...]states that, "I think that, the Armenian issue can be solved by politicians and not by historians. I don't believe that historical facts about this issue is not revealed"'

It is an old story and the events of the genocide are known well enough for it not to be an allegation anymore. Right after your own quotation was written: "The word genocide was coined in order to describe these events"

"you should at least consider removal of Germany as a member from EU"

I don't think removal of Germany should be considered based on what was said here since Germany acknowledged their genocide and provided excuses in several instances as well as money.


I hope I understand you wrong because it seems "acknowledgement", "money" and "excuses" makes a genocide ok.

And I don't imply it as not a fact, I imply mine knowledge doesn't have enough variance on the issue and being a EU member doesn't require clean records.

Turkey is not a follower of Ottoman Empire, it's a modernization and revolution product of it.

This deserves an equal judgement as numerous other countries with violent histories already have.


Indeed you understood me wrong but maybe I wasn't clear:

People who committed the genocide have already been judged by History (And obviously it is wrong). The people living now in Germany and Turkey have not committed a genocide. However the question I want to ask to the people living now is: would you do it again? Germany clearly answered no. While the Republic of Turkey is not providing an adequate answer to this because it denies having done it.

I understand that Turkey and the Ottoman Empire are two different things. The same is true of the Germany of 1940 and contemporary Germany.

"being a EU member doesn't require clean records". Obviously. Otherwise nobody would be a member of the EU. It is not the clean record but the acknowledgement that makes the difference which is all I was pointing out.


Ok. I wish you can believe me when I say that there is still an uneducated and "religion over logic" minded people in Turkey and our governments use these people.

But on the other hand, there is a great crowd who understands the need of educated people and logical responses to these matters.

I just find it hypocritical to blame all the people of a country without any detailed knowledge but with only common phrases (which is possibly mined from a biased relative). This is a common phrase for a Turkish people and I find it difficult to believe all the people who told this phrase to have been researched the subject from varied sources.

At least I wish, more educated people who only talks when they know something for sure or open to suggestions to write here(hackernews) at these sensitive topics. Not the overheard people, just to avoid misinformation.


I totally understand your concerns and indeed when we speak about the Republic of Turkey we are not speaking about all Turkish people.


Many in the EU don't want a member state that utterly denies the scary reality of that state's not-too-distant history.

Irrationality is a scary thing, especially at the level of a national entity like Turkey in complete denial of the slaughter of over a million people.


Those in the EU who don't want Turkey joining aren't against it because of a historical genocide. They don't want Turkey joining because it's a 100M-strong muslim nation with a 'non-european' culture. The other muslim nations in Europe are tiny Balkan nations with no political nor economic power, and no opportunity to gain. Turkey has both political and economic power and opportunity to gain in both. And it would be the most populous nation in the EU, therefore gaining a powerful voting bloc.

In the light of that, a government that is set on increasing religiosity (particularly of a 'non-european' religion) and is having internal troubles because of that issue, isn't particularly looked on as a valued EU partner. Consider also in the light of the anti-liberalism that's currently rising in Europe, as far right wing politics picks up on a rising fear of immigrants in general and muslims in particular.

The EU's fears are looking forward, not looking back.


> In the light of that, a government that is set on increasing religiosity (particularly of a 'non-european' religion) and is having internal troubles because of that issue, isn't particularly looked on as a valued EU partner.

Well, that's clearly part of it, but the release of the tapes appears to be a gift from the Gulen movement, who don't appear to be much more appealing than the current crop of corrupt islamists, or the previous crop of corrupt nationalists.

> The EU's fears are looking forward, not looking back.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you're saying that racism and fear of difference play a major role in pushing Turkey away, sure. Though it should also be clear that Turkey is doing itself no favour with the current ban. I hope you're not trying to say that a religious, socially conservative government with a hand in the till should be the future of Europe.

Personally, I'd be in favour of deep political reforms in the European governance mechanisms before further enlargement in any direction. The notion of economic advantages has been pushed forward so much that it has resulted in the weird, undemocratic system we have now, and as a result each new crisis is an opportunity to demonstrate the lack of political unity of the member states.


I'm not sure what you mean by that.

I mean that the fear of Turkey in the EU is about factors other than ignoring or papering over past misdeeds, and those factors are mostly based around what will happen if Turkey joins the EU. Whether the fears are realistic or not, it's about what will happen, not what has happened.

After all, Belgium killed a great deal many more Congolese than died in the Armenian genocide (and horrifically maimed many more), yet Belgium is the administrative hub of the EU. I don't think that the difference in acceptance between Belgium and Turkey boils down to Belgium recognising that past misdeed (which has seen no reparations, as far as I am aware).


> I mean that the fear of Turkey in the EU is about factors other than ignoring or papering over past misdeeds, and those factors are mostly based around what will happen if Turkey joins the EU. Whether the fears are realistic or not, it's about what will happen, not what has happened.

Ah, yes, we're in agreement.

> After all, Belgium killed a great deal many more Congolese than died in the Armenian genocide (and horrifically maimed many more), yet Belgium is the administrative hub of the EU.

My understanding was that most of the abuse occurred when Congo was the personal property of the King of Belgium, as opposed to the Belgian state, so that's not completely comparable (I would imagine that the cost of ensuring that any compensation goes to the family of the victims and not anywhere else would dwarf the amount of compensation to pay...).


The EU's fears are looking forward, not looking back.

There is no non-naive way to look forward without first looking back.

Unlike the disclaimer of most financial investments, past performance is indicative of future results.


Armenian Genocide of 1915 was just the first one committed by Turkish Empire (Ottoman Empire) in 20th century, Turkish government repeatedly slaughtered their own citizens, who were not ethnic Turks.

- Greek Genocide that took place from 1914–1923 resulted in death of 700-900.000 people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_genocide)

- Assyrian genocide 1890s, 1914–1918, 1922–1925 resulted in death of 275-300.000 people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide)

- Bulgarians were victims of brutalities as well. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batak_massacre)

They were mostly Christian minorities.


We're not enough killed, or was it the method of extermination that makes you say "so called"?


Nope, our ancestors just decided one day that it would be a great idea to abandon their ancestral homeland in Anatolia and die in the desert.


Hopefully because Turkey is "democratic" they'll simply vote out the idiots who made such short-sighted decisions.


Democracy is not pluralism but people with enough money/connections can keep abusing the ignorance of the masses on any subject to gain so much power that they stop caring about the minorities. My political knowledge is very limited so I wonder what kind of measures exist in modern democracies to fight that? Is it just a matter of education? And, what happens when education becomes just another tool for propaganda?


>Turkey can kiss EU membership ambitions goodbye.

Probably all the better for Turkey.


I doubt that. Turkey would be better off in the EU as would Ukraine or at least the popular opinions of common people would suggest. Turkey is in NATO so it's a completely different ball park to Ukraine.

They would be better off economically and culturally. Europe is more harmonious than the the other spheres of influence surrounding Turkey namely the Middle East and Russia.


Nope, not the case. The Turkish economy is very strong, and the workforce is young and energetic. If Turkey joined the EU, the aging European population and the crumbling economies of Greece, Italy and Spain would be a drag on the growth of the Turkish economy.

Essentially, the only major benefit EU membership would give Turks is the ability to freely travel around Europe without needing passport visas.


While workforce being young and energetic is helpful, it's not the sole reason of someone's economy being strong. I'm pretty sure most African countries have way younger population.

It's not like Turks already don't go to Germany to work.


And maybe free access to a huge market to sell all the goods your growing economy produces to!?


The Turkish economy isn't going to remain strong if they keep doing stupid things like this. The free flow of information is vital to the growth and sustaining of an economy.


I think Erdogan sees China as a model for the future, as a provider of cheap labor. So, Turkey doesn't need to intellectually integrate with the rest of the world.


That's actually our greatest hope. If foreign investment dries up as a result of political instability, enough people might stop voting for him that he might be outed in a semi-democratic process (if he doesn't rig the elections as usual, that is). Otherwise, things will end in violence.


Really? What do you say about China?


When you have 1.5 billion people the game is played at an entirely different level. One which Turkey is highly unlikely to reach.


and have every single kind of mineral deposit in the world, with some that are only mined there.

China is on a completely different level as oblio already said :)


There's a big difference between being able to travel to a country without a visa, and being able to freely emigrate there, which is what EU membership provides. Turkey's economy may be growing, but the GDP per capita is a quarter that of wealthier countries like the UK or Germany.

Joining the EU would also give Turkey a seat at the table. Turkey has a large population, and would therefore get a large representation at the European Parliament.


> They would be better off economically

Considering the experience of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Italy, etc. in the EU thus far, I highly doubt that conclusion.


Are you contending that the EU did not have a huge positive influence on the Spanish economy from the time it joined the EU until the economic crisis? The fact that the Spanish government, much like the Irish, let a bubble form, isn't, as far as I know, the fault of the EU. I agree that the current policy of austerity is an extremely bitter pill to swallow, but seeing the influence of the EU on the southernmost member states only in light of recent events is mistaken.

Of course, it is possible that you simply dislike market economy, but that's a very different debate.


Here's an excellent run-down of the inherent flaws in the EU institutional arrangements. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v14/n19/wynne-godley/maastricht-and-all...

tl;dr everyone can't be a net exporter at the same time


Those experiences are commonly attributed to the EMU not the EU.


I tend to agree. Though the carrot of EU membership has been instrumental in motivating a few, minor reforms, mostly it just becomes a distracting process (for both parties). It was the dream of Ataturk that Turkey be a European nation, but it doesn't seem particularly plausible now.


> I am surprised, because normally you hear "social media ban" and you think some dictatorship. One thing is certain, while this is going on, Turkey can kiss EU membership ambitions goodbye.

If only it was that easy. Dutch ISPs were forced to censor The Pirate Bay, but we're still in the EU!

(j/k)




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