I'm thankful that I live in a country where not even Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck want to imprison people for using unsanctioned letters like ñ and í. This occurred to me yesterday evening as I was making the cranberry sauce and listening on the radio to "Illegal letters in Turkey":
In Turkey, a law dating back to the 1920’s bans the use of the letters Q, W and X. The law was created for Turkey’s transition from the Arabic alphabet to the Latin one. But today, it’s used against Turkey’s ethnic Kurds.
This story seems to refer (at around 3:00) to a trial that Bill Poser discussed here on Language Log three years ago ("Newroz Píroz Be!", 10/5/2006):
Although Turkey has taken some steps toward reducing its oppression of the Kurds in hope of being admitted to the European Union, it keeps on backsliding. It is reported that Osman Baydemir, a prominent human rights activist now the mayor of Diyarbakır, is being prosecuted for sending out cards containing New Year's greetings in Turkish, Kurdish, and English. "Happy New Year" in Kurdish is Newroz Píroz be!, the publication of which violates Act 1353 of November 1, 1928 on Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters, which forbids the use of any letters not found in the Turkish alphabet. Turkish does not use the letters q, w, or x.
The PRI report says that "the case is still making its way through the courts", but Baydemir's Wikipedia entry says that
He was prosecuted for violating a Turkish law prohibiting the use of letters not in the Turkish alphabet when he sent out a New Year's greeting in Kurdish which included the letter "W". On April 19, 2007, Diyarbakır Peace Court No. 2 dropped the charges since the Ministry of Justice had not permitted that such a case be heard.
So either Wikipedia is wrong, or the PRI report is wrong (or at least misleading — maybe some non-orthographic charges lodged at the same time haven't been dropped?). Anyhow, Act 1353 of November 1, 1928 on Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters really does exist, and it really was affirmed in the Turkish constitution of 1982 as one of "the Reform Laws indicated below, which aim to raise Turkish society above the level of contemporary civilisation and to safeguard the secular character of the Republic", and it really has sometimes been used to prosecute Kurds for orthographic offenses, as again in this LL post from October of 2005, "Better not use Q and W":
A Turkish court has fined 20 Kurds 100 lira (US$74) for holding up placards at a New Year's celebration containing the letters Q and W …
But it would be nice to trust a report from PRI about the state of affairs on such things in Turkey, without having to do one's own background research.
Having given thanks for our orthographic (and other) freedoms, it's time for me to get the turkey into the oven, and so I'll direct readers with time on their hands to some earlier Thanksgiving-related posts, including 2004's "Thanks giving", and a flurry of posts in 2007 about Thanksgiving stress (phonological, not psychological): "A Thanksgiving discussion"; "Thanksgiving variation"; "In the wake of Thanksgiving"; "Thanksgiving: the Greek influence".
[Update — the text of the 1928 Turkish law can be found here, in Turkish. I haven't found an English translation yet. Nor, given the considerable politicization of the question, have I found a description of the current state of affairs that seems trustworthy.]
[Update #2 — the root vegetables and other side dishes are done, the turkey is coming along nicely, and I'll start making the salad in a few minutes. Meanwhile, I haven't been able to learn anything much more about the orthographic situation in Turkey, but on a related topic, I'll draw your attention to the adventures of the New Turkic Alphabet, discussed here and here.]