First Lady of Turkey Emine Erdoğan demands takedown of negative news reports
That’s according to the Lumen Database, a website that collects and analyses online takedown requests. In April, the site uploaded a Turkish court order complaint Erdoğan sent to Google and WordPress demanding the removal of news reports described as “damaging” to the “personality rights” of the First Lady.
“Personality rights” refers to “the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one’s identity.”
Most of the targeted URLs, including one of the WordPress blogs, have since been removed from the web, making it difficult to determine the specifics of Erdoğan’s complaint.
From the remaining URLs, it appears that she objected to a blitz of negative news reports and images, including this image of her husband, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, wearing what appears to be a training bra on his head:
Definitely not a fez (source)
Elsewhere, the Turkish First Lady has targeted Turkish opposition paper Ulusal Kanal for reporting that she copied her Twitter bio from former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. While the original link is no longer available, a duplicate of the story carries the headline: “Emine Erdoğan is disgraced in the world!”
The story was first reported in 2014 by former Pentagon advisor Michael Rubin, who wrote via the American Enterprise Institute:
When it comes to respect for Intellectual Property Rights, Turkey ranks quite poorly. If Turkey wants to reform, perhaps they should start at the top. When Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assumed the presidency last month, his wife Emine became first lady. It seems Emine models herself after Michelle Obama, right down to her twitter account.
The description on Michelle’s twitter account reads, “This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the First Lady are signed -mo.”
Now here’s the description from Emine Erdoğan’s twitter feed: “Emine Erdoğan Resmi Twitter Hesabı This account is run by Organizing for Action staff. Tweets from the First Lady are signed -mo.”
Then again, maybe it’s not shameless plagiarism in Turkey’s presidential palace. Maybe Emine Erdoğan really does use the initials ‘mo.’ And as for suggesting any impropriety that might undercut Emine’s vestal image, I’m sure we’re only a Turkish press conference away from blaming this scandal on Jews, the interest rate lobby, yours truly, that well-known personification of subversion Steven Cook, or the Gülenists.
As it happens, Turkish officials didn’t blame the Jews, instead blaming “anti-government forces” and claiming that the Twitter account was not operated by the Turkish First Lady.
Speaking to the Washington Free Beacon, Rubin gave his own interpretation:
“The account has been active since August,” Rubin said. “Turkey has taken the power to knock sites offline without court orders in a matter of minutes. The Turkish explanation beggars belief.”
“The fact that Emine Erdogan’s account continues—this time with its plagiarized description fixed—suggests that Emine’s handlers screwed up but were too proud to admit it,” Rubin said. “The whole incident is a metaphor for what Turkey has become: dishonest, dishonorable, but too proud to admit its fundamental corruption.”
Other targeted URLs include a Google blog post about Turkey’s nationwide Twitter ban, another since-deleted story that implicates the Turkish First Lady in a financial corruption scandal, and an article that appears to suggest that Turkish citizens who insult their government will be deported and have their citizenship revoked.
It’s not the first time the Erdoğans have petitioned Google and WordPress to delete negative reports about themselves from the web.
Last year I blogged about successful attempts by the Turkish president to block a WordPress blog featuring satirical cartoons depicting him as a tyrannical dictator. That story was subsequently picked up by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Maren Williams (click here to read), and touched on by The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markey (click here to read).
Earlier this year, the easily offended president asked Google to delist “hurtful, humiliating” reports comparing him to Adolf Hitler. That story was subsequently picked up by Techdirt’s Tim Cushing (click here to read).