It was my birthday yesterday. I don’t like my birthday much; it just feels like a reminder of another year gone and what I’ve got to look forward to for another year. Still, it was nice to spend a few hours with my family, and I’m putting some money together with savings to get a new camera.
I had one interesting surprise, though. I received a reply from the Turkish Embassy about the WordPress ban. I wasn’t expecting one at all (I thought they would just ignore it) and while it’s a carefully worded reply, there are a couple of interesting things in it. I’ve uploaded the letter to Flickr if anyone wants to have a look and I’ll quote a few sections below.
This was the first thing I noticed:
“However, after consulting with the telecommunication services provider Türk Telekom, it has been established that technically it is impossible just to ban several blogs hosted by ‘wordpress.com domain’. Therefore, the ban had to be applied to the whole site.”
I’m almost positive that’s wrong. Technically impossible? It should be a simple matter for Türk Telekom and other ISPs to distinguish between WordPress and individual blogs; if they mean people would just open new blogs, they can just add them to the list as they find them. Blocking access to 1.3 million blogs to stop just a handful is just crazy. And it’s not stopping people from seeing them anyway – they can just go to Wordprexy.
This was the second thing:
“We would also like to inform you that, those bloggers who have directly been affected by the ban placed on ‘WordPress.com’ can apply to Turkish courts in order to revoke the decision of 17 August 2007.”
At first I thought they meant just Turkish bloggers but it seems they mean all bloggers affected, which is good; they know the ban impacts people from all over the world. It seems that my letter has already been forwarded on so there’s not much point doing another, but I wonder if there might be a case for making a joint statement from users of WordPress to coincide with the November 1 court sitting? It might carry more weight coming from a large number of people and it could even be co-ordinated with MidEast Youth’s petition.
So that’s the letter. I was surprised to get a reply at all and I think it was a reasonable response, if a cautious one. It’s ironic, though, that it came the same week that Iran blocked access to Google and Gmail. What a world we live in.