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In Erdogan’s Turkey, Censorship Finds Fertile Ground

Censorship in Turkey is on the rise, raising questions about the state of Turkish democracy, writes Sibel Utku Bila.
Turkey's best-loved impersonator satirist Levent Kirca holds a bouquet of carnations as he is greeted by supporters at the start of a hunger strike in Istanbul November 3. Comedian Kirca began a hunger strike in protest at a TV watchdog's "censorship" of a channel that broadcast an episode of his show. Kirca's stand against the powerful High Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) has won support from the public and from within the broadcasting industry

ANKARA — The zeal of Turkish censorship seems to know no limits. It has recently set a new landmark with a bid to censor John Steinbeck’s classic, "Of Mice and Men," on grounds of “immorality.” The controversy raised fresh misgivings over freedom of expression in Turkey, landing the American author in a crowded club of victims, ranging from Chuck Palahniuk and John Lennon to The Simpsons and Piglet. 

Steinbeck’s books have been challenged many times by conservatives in the United States as well, but in Turkey — a country where dozens of journalists languish in jail and whose premier believes that “some books are more destructive than bombs” — the stakes are much higher.

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