Microsoft launches probe as Turkey mulls Minecraft ban
Minecraft owner Microsoft is investigating the reports suggesting that the Turkish government is preparing to ban the game, the BBC reported March 11.
Turkish media had earlier reported that the Family and Social Policies Ministry recently took the first step to initiate the legal process to ban Minecraft in Turkey on the grounds that it encourages children to resort to violence.
According to Fatih Öke, a spokesman for the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC, a ban was "out of the question."
Speaking to Christian Science Monitor, Öke stressed that only a court can block the game and "the function of this ministry is to raise awareness."
The BBC also reported that a spokesman for Mojang, which makes Minecraft under the Microsoft umbrella after the latter bought the game for $2.5bn in September 2014, would not comment directly on the reports.
Minecraft is a videogame that allows the player to make designs with cubes in 2D or 3D. The game has several modes and in some of the modes, the player needs to survive in order to proceed.
“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,” Turkish daily Habertürk quoted the ministry's report as saying on March 10.
On Turkish social media, the report triggered an outcry, as well as conspiracy theories.
Noting that the ministry had originally launched the probe for violence targeting women in the game last month, but ended up with focusing on children instead, a number of tweeps claimed that Turkey's conservative government has an ulterior motive of banning Minecraft for prominently displaying pigs and pork, which is banned in Islamic food consumption.