Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Turkey Asks Microsoft to Edit, Not Ban, Minecraft. Why?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Turkey Asks Microsoft to Edit, Not Ban, Minecraft. Why?

Article excerpt

The nation of Turkey will be asking Microsoft, makers of the game Minecraft, to remove zombies, creepers, and all violent elements from the game when selling to users there. This comes after published reports in the Turkish media that the country was considering a ban on the cube-based game.

A report released this week by the Turkish Family and Social Policy Ministry expressed concerns that the game, which last year was purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion from Mojang, may cause "social isolation," and that its online multiplayer component might lead to Internet bullying.

Turkish websites Hurriyet Daily News and LeaderGamer report that the country's Family and Social Policies Ministry wants to ban Minecraft for being "too violent."

"Although the game can be seen as encouraging creativity in children by letting them build houses, farmlands and bridges, mobs [hostile creatures] must be killed in order to protect these structures. In short, the game is based on violence," the report stated (via Hurriyet Daily News).

However, according to Turkish Embassy Press Counsellor Fatih Oke, in Washington, D.C., the Turkish Press and Information Ministry based in Ankara, Turkey, has now issued a statement in response to a Christian Science Monitor inquiry on the possibility of a ban.

"A ban is quite out of the question. There will be no ban," Mr. Oke says in an interview. "The game is not banned and is not going to be banned, the Family and Social Policy Ministry does not have that kind of authority to ban any product. I understand that this is what has been said in the Turkish media, but it is incorrect."

Oke explains that the ministry is comprised of a panel of experts on education, psychology, child psychology and special needs education (including experts on autism) which responds to complaints and not as the result of the direction of the government.

"The ministry can only work with complaints. In this case I am told there were numerous complaints from parents about Minecraft and its influence on children," Oke says. "The function of this ministry is to raise awareness."

Minecraft has been touted on the website for the Autism Speaks organization as a positive influence on children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, particularly when supervised by an adult.

Asked how the ministry will now proceed after the report's completion, Oke says, "The reports showed that Minecraft has some negative items which can influence a child's psychology in some ways, in just some parts of the game. The ministry will now contact the production company of the game [Microsoft] and ask that those negative items be removed from the game."

"If there is a mode in which it can just be used to work peacefully and creatively then that will be the only version they would want," he says. …

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