An open letter to the Turkish Ambassador

This is a copy of the letter I’m sending to the Turkish Ambassador to Australia, regarding Turkey’s ban of WordPress. If you would like to contact the ambassador in your own country, feel free to copy and change the text below.

August 29, 2007
RE: Freedom of Speech

Dear Mr N. Murat Ersavci,

My name is Christopher Levinson. I live in Sydney and I’m writing to you regarding an action a Turkish court has taken that is of great concern to me.

On August 17th, 2007, the Turkish Fatih 2nd Civil Court of First Instance blocked access to the WordPress.com domain. The ban on WordPress, a blogging platform hosting some 1.3 million blogs, was a response to a suit filed by lawyers for Adnan Oktar alleging that defamatory statements had been made about their client by several blogs on WordPress.com.

The ban has resulted in all blogs hosted by WordPress.com being made inaccessible to Turkey. I feel very strongly that this is an overreaction. I am a blogger on WordPress; I have done nothing wrong, but my readership is being impacted.

Even more serious is the fact that there are many innocent Turkish bloggers on WordPress.com who now cannot access their blogs or are being forced to use other means to access them. It is a violation of their free speech and that of readers from all over the world.

Please understand, this is not about whether Adnan Oktar was slandered, or about the Turkish legal system; I respect your country, as I hope you respect mine. But it has gone beyond that. Now it is about innocent Turkish bloggers being forced into silence, and countless others being denied the freedom to be read. The court could have ordered that the offending blogs and any subsequent offenders be blocked, but instead ordered the complete ban of WordPress.com. It’s the equivalent of closing a library because of a single offending book, rather than just removing the book itself.

Many websites and blogs on both WordPress.com and on other platforms are initiating campaigns in support of Turkish bloggers, and I am writing to you to express my concern, and to ask that the Turkish authorities reconsider their position.

Yours sincerely,

Christopher Levinson.

(Included copies of WordPress Blocked in Turkey, Matt Mullenweg: Why We’re Blocked In Turkey, and Petition to Unblock WordPress in Turkey.)

9 thoughts on “An open letter to the Turkish Ambassador

  1. Well I am going to edit this and do something similar in London.

    CJ: Thanks, Root. Hopefully it can serve as a template for other people. Good luck with your version. 🙂

  2. This is lovely. Thank you for sharing it. I hope it inspires more people to write in print and on the net openly about this issue. Your example of closing the library for one book is great!

    Thank you for standing up for all of us!

    CJ: Thanks, Lorelle. I just wanted to do what I could to help and this seemed like a simple way to convey the message. Hopefully it will inspire others to support the cause as well.

    If I hear anything back, I’ll post it on the blog. I probably won’t, but you never know. 🙂

  3. And I did the same in Canada. Thanks for this! Your words simply could not be improved upon.

    CJ: Thanks, raincoaster. It took a while to get the phrasing just right, so I’m glad it works. Let’s hope it brings some more attention to the cause. I might forward a copy to some media contacts here as well.

  4. And now we can access all wordpress blogs 🙂 but I am not sure how long will this take.

    CJ: Do you mean the ban has been lifted? I haven’t heard anything new; Global Voices Online said access was still blocked on April 13, after Brazil was blocked as well.

  5. I just saw a reference to the lifting of the ban on hakpaksak.wordpress.com (post for 23 April), but nowhere else. (I’d link to it, but Akismet seems to have me in its crosshairs.)

    CJ: Thanks, Jennifer. I hadn’t seen that post; I can’t find confirmation either, but April 23 would match the above comment… I just would have thought we’d have heard before now if the ban had been lifted across all of Turkey. Perhaps it’s been lifted by certain ISPs?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s