Finally it begins to become clear why WordPress.com was blocked in Turkey on Friday, 17th of August. According to a letter that was sent to Matt Mullenweg of WordPress, the attorneys of a Turkish radical Islamist who is considered as the “advocate of creationism in Islamic world”, Adnan Oktar (a.k.a. Harun Yahya) applied to the Turkish courts and demanded a block for a blog on WordPress.com, which “contained slanders” to both Oktar and his “colleagues”. Matt put the entire letter on his blog yesterday and asked: “I’m curious, particularly among our Turkish community, what do you think we should do about this? How should we respond?”
The attorney’s letter complains about “insults” to his client on a WordPress.blog which was titled “adnanoktar.wordpress.com”. Apparently they demand a “larger block” that would include all the combinations of subdomain names on WordPress like “oktaradnan, yayhyaharun,harun_yahya”… etc. According to the attorney, the author of the blocked blog was Edip Yuksel “and his gang”, an Islamist Turk defending a “reformation” in the religion, who lives in the U.S. Yuksel was the former “mentor” of Oktar who eventually became his tough “rival” and adversary.
So, we now learn that the block came after Adnan Oktar’s attorneys applied to Turkish courts. Does it make much sense? Definitely, it doesn’t. Let’s see the whole process once more: A radical Islamist whose organization is accused as being the “Middle East version of Scientology” has some tough conflicts with another “rival” Islamist. The latter sets up web sites and blogs to criticise or “to insult” him. Then a court of the secular Turkish Republic, who persecutes Oktar at various cases for being a “threat to secularism”, gives an order to block not only the particular blog but the entire WordPress.com domain.
Adnan Oktar is a “love-to-hate” figure in Turkey since the early 1980’s. There are numerous cases against him in Turkey for his actions against secularism, establishing an organization for crime, blackmailing people and many more. The “financial support” behind him is still unclear but apparently he enjoys the power of the wealth that keeps flowing to him with the help of his “disciples” all around the world.
Summary: A very “dark figure” of bigotry and prejudice, who has been considered as a “menace” by the Turkish state since the eighties, managed to mess things up on Friday, with the help of a court’s decision. Ironically, the very same state who prosecuted him various times, allowed Oktar to damage Turkey’s image in the world with this ridiculous access block on WordPress.com blogs. This became an embarassment for Turkey that would not be forgotten easily. Alas.
Like an old Turkish phrase says: “A mad man throws a stone into the well and fourty wise man can’t get it out.”