Turkey: Complaint filed against Twitter user alias @allah

User has 200,000 followers, sued by tv presenter

08 February, 19:16

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    (ANSAmed) - ANKARA - A Twitter user has gained almost 200 thousand followers under the username ''@allah''.

    Charges have been filed against him and while the result of the case is uncertain, it has drawn the attention of an information website. The lawsuit against the account ''twitter.com/allahcc'' was opened by television presenter Serdar Tuncer, who claims that the more than 4,600 tweets sent by this tweeter mock the Islam and other religions and humiliate their faithful. Tuncer, who presents television programmes dedicated to Ramadan, as the website Bianet reports, has said that ''the correspondence between the person called @allah (cc) and his readers'' violates article 216/3 of Turkish Criminal Law on ''denigration of religious values".

    The messages sent by ''@allah'', listed in the complaints, include: ''We have been god for so many years and we are still cooking pasta with tomato sauce." ''Fortunately, we created sour cherry." ''With my present mind I would not have created the little finger of human beings." ''Our side over here is very safe because there is no police." The tweets contain ''humiliation and insults against Islam and Muslims'', the plaintiff claims, asking the prosecution to focus on the article in Turkish law that sentences "anyone who openly denigrates the religious values of a part of the population'' to imprisonment of from six months to one year, ''where the act is sufficient to breach public peace".

    A lawyer concluded by the secular website, Efkan Bolac, said that no prosecutor will open a case for such a reason, because the tweets quoted as examples in the petition do not contain humiliation, hatred or a breach of public peace. The followers of @allah, according to the lawyer, could not be involved anyway: "Lodging a criminal complaint about 200,000 people because they read a certain account cannot find a response in law." In a reply to the complaint written by ''@llah'' himself, he wrote with obvious deride: ''Only god can judge me." The lawsuit was opened a few days after Twitter announced 'selective' censorship of some messages if governments ask for it for legal reasons. Turkey, a country with a Muslim majority but secular constitution introduced by Kemal Ataturk almost a century ago, has had a moderate Islamic government for nine years, led by Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey is a model of democracy for the entire region, but is criticised on international level. The EU and OECD criticise internet censorship in the country for example: access to thousands of websites (the most reliable estimates range from 5,000 to 37,000, but some go as high as 1.2 million) is blocked due to their sexual content (like youporn) but also their political comments, like in the case of insults to the memory of Ataturk or statements issued by terrorists of the Kurdish PKK. (ANSAmed).

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