Country of No: No Laziness or Adventurism

The Crime? Directing Turkish People to Laziness and Adventurism. The punishment: a $92,000 fine. In effect, cease publication of the humor magazine, Harakiri.

From Hurriyet (click here):

The humor magazine Harakiri has been forced to shut down after being slapped with a 150,000 Turkish Lira fine by the Children Protection Board for being a “harmful influence on the morality of minors.”

The magazine released its first issue in May 2011, but the board quickly declared that three drawings in the first issue were inappropriate and banned sales of the magazine to underage minors, in addition to levying the fine.

Kutluhan Perker, the artist of the magazine, said they had been through a very difficult experience.

Speaking with online web portal, Perker said they were surprised by the context of the board’s citation, such as “directing Turkish people to laziness and adventurism” and “encouraging adultery.”

“I thought we were the ones making jokes. From now on, I can read the citations as a humor magazine,” he said.

Although the board did not ban the publication, the extent of the fine financially precludes Perker the magazine from continuing to publish, according to Perker.

I suppose adventure movies, comic books of all kinds, thrillers, and romance novels are all next. They encourage adventurism (“Pirates of the Caribbean”?!) and laziness (reading!!!) and some have sex scenes which, of course, encourage adultery. After all, anyone having seen sex depicted in Mad Magazine will surely run off and leave his or her spouse.  Say, what about “Valley of the Wolves”? Oh, I suppose THAT sex and adventurism is in the service of the state, so that’s OK to watch. The only thing it’ll encourage viewers to do is to run off and shoot an enemy. That’s not adventurism, it’s patriotism.

18 Responses to “Country of No: No Laziness or Adventurism”

  1. By ‘adultery’ they mean fornication (ie sex that’s in some sense illicit, like sex between unmarried people).
    This ‘muzir nesriyat’ thing gained currency during the first Ozal gov’t, I think. Here’s a gem from the big guy: Muzır Neşriyat Yasası’na ilişkin suçlamaları yanıtlayan Başbakan Turgut Özal, “Bu yasaya muzır diyen muzırdır” dedi. At that point it mainly meant magazines with naked women in them would be put in black bags and were only to be sold to adults.

  2. Bianet has samples:

  3. The sentence does not make sense to me. If the publication is not appropriate for minors, the proper response is to restrict it to adults. Why the fine?

  4. If my memory doesn’t fail me, during Ozal’s time, this law served in good part to legitimize erotic/adult publications.

  5. Emre the fine seems to be for damaging the morality/psyche of minors by that horrible stuff until the state stepped in and saved them.
    Nihat you may be right, but I am unsure. What you are saying makes sense but OTOH Ozal may have been pandering to the MSP-rooted wing of ANAP. That came after the period of my own amateur partisanship for Ozal (basically I was put-off by the amount of spin/lying it was taking) and at the time I didn’t particularly appreciate the legitimization of that kind of gov’t intervention when it was clear — as in the case of alcohol sales — that stores could and did refuse to carry these items or would hide them as necessary. Turns out that was the right instinct in a way, as the state apparatus sat up for that is alive and well and does this now:
    The ‘respected people’ talking about ‘libertarian constitutions’ while this kind of stuff goes on (and doesn’t require a constitutional amendment to stop) are taking part in a kind of obscene scene that’s far more offensive than any cartoon or novel could possibly be. It’d be fine, in a way, if people clearly said they want state control and censorship (like Bulac does) since then you know what’s being pushed and/or imposed by whom. The freedom etc. talk we keep hearing while this kind of thing keeps happening is what should be challenged and exposed.

  6. In the final analysis, you may be right(er), Bulent. The legitimization effect I mentioned might have been the case for some sellers and buyers who were not at ease about the transaction’s under-the-counter nature. That doesn’t wholly answer the question of why.
    As for the rest of your comment, I thought we (you in particular) have established that this nation does not want freedom from government, but want government help to be free from suffering/seeing other people’s freedoms. I was wondering when you’d get tired of and quit beating the same dead horse. I guess, never, and I applaud you for that.

  7. Emre the fine seems to be for damaging the morality/psyche of minors by that horrible stuff until the state stepped in and saved them.

    They won’t have to worry about that any more since they forced the magazine into bankruptcy. The message is to get cleared by the Protection Board first. Unfortunately, this lesson will not be of use to the people at Harakiri.

  8. Emre, whether a publisher may seek advance clearance/advice from the Board or not is a matter of law and regulation. I mean, there may be no mechanism in place for that. The message then must be: know the law, use your good judgement, consult your attorney, etc. These Harakiri people seem to think their publication is fine for even consumption by minors. That’s wrong imo.

  9. What do you do when you think it is not appropriate for minors? Don’t you get an adult certification?

  10. Emre, I found this:
    Haklarında Kurulun her hangi bir kararı bulunmadağı halde, basılmış eserlerinin konusu veya ihtiva ettiği yazı ve resimler sebebiyle küçüklerin maneviyatı üzerinde muzır tesir yapacağı kanaatinde olan eser sahipleri kendiliklerinden, eserin üzerine”Küçüklere zararlıdır”damga veya işaretini basarak içi görünmeyen zarf veya poşet içinde satışa arz edilebilirler.Bu takdirde, bu basılmış eserler hakkında da bu maddenin ilgili fıkraları hükümleri uygulanır.

  11. Thanks Nihat. This law will meet the ‘net eventually/soon and we’ll see what happens[1]. It is not just about pictures etc. mind you. The guiding law they refer to is this:
    [1] I wonder if they got around to blocking/banning those Japanese anime sites. Some kinds of anime are surely far worse than the Harakiri samples we saw. (Come to think of it GirGir wasn’t all that ‘clean’ either? Firt (does that still exist?) had an appropriately named ‘yavrunuzun sayfasi.’ )

  12. Bulent, you’re welcome. I wish I knew what I did to deserve a thank you though. I am afraid you’re right as to where all this is headed.

  13. and here come obscenity trials in Turkey. Where is this country heading?

  14. We already covered that. If you look you should find a discussion.

  15. From here:
    The United States has no such problem: No one, but no one in the United States is seriously worried that he or she will go to jail for saying something and no one born in the United States can really imagine what it’s like to be told, by your parents, “Don’t say anything, because I won’t be able to protect you if you do. Just stay out of that stuff.” Americans worry about social censure, or losing a job, or being called a nut or a fascist for saying something politically controversial. That’s almost certainly the worst that will happen to you.
    No one in Turkey can really understand how true this is, except the ones who have been to America. I reserve a special contempt for Turks who have been to America and know that this is true and who come back and refuse to take a vigorous stand on behalf of their fellow Turkish citizens’ right to speak without fear or intimidation. I am much more forgiving of Turks who think, “This is the way it is everywhere” because they have no way of knowing otherwise.
    (emphasis mine)
    I share Berlinski’s contempt for those people and I’ll add to that my contempt for Americans who — deliberately or not — let a lot of stuff they’d scream about back home silently slip when it is done or said here. Now that the shit list is getting written I’ll also point out those Turks who say “this is the way it is everywhere” say so because people with ill-deserved intellectual (and legal) authority tell them it is so. EG: We have seen the chief Internet censor tell people their new filtering scheme existed in the US for example. Who called him out on it? None of the respected people who clearly either do or should know better, that’s for sure. They are failing their society while being endorsed, cheered on, fed and enriched.

  16. I just can’t believe they closed the magazine down, bascially with this fine. Whateaver else, the censorship is so random. Look at Penguen–that encourages me to all sorts of bad behaviors. So what is the real story?

  17. Here we go: Karikatürist Baruter’e 1 yıl hapis istemi

  18. […] 2011 kreeg het satirische Harikiri een boete van 150.000 Lira (=63.000 euro) omdat drie tekeningen ongepast zouden zijn en werd de […]

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