Turkish court bans news links for reporting official statements on child abuse

The Turkish court in Ankara decided to impose an access ban on 35 news portals including soL Turkish for reporting Turkish parliament speaker İsmail Kahraman's official statement on child abuse
Thursday, 15 March 2018 22:37

A local court in Ankara decided to censor 35 news portals including soL Turkish for reporting on Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s official statement about child abuse.

Lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkılı from the parliamentary main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had previously demanded a special commission be established to investigate the incidents of abuse that had increased by 700 percent in the last 10 years.


However, Turkish parliament speaker Kahraman officially denied this demand on the grounds that the regulations would not allow such a commission. As lawmaker Tanrıkulu shared this official respond with journalists, many Turkish media outlets broadcasted reports on the incident.

Following the media reports, the parliamentary speaker office’s department of law affairs appealed to a court, alleging that Kahraman’s personal rights were violated. The appeal letter to court claimed that the news portals reflected Kahraman’s official respond “as if the parliament defended child abuse”, adding that lawmaker Tanrıkulu’s demand was irregular.

Considering that the related news “violated personal rights” of the Turkish parliamentary speaker, the court in Ankara decided to impose an access ban on the links on 35 news portals.  

soL Turkish reported Kahraman’s official statement on March 3, 2018, with the title, “The TBMM Speaker denied the proposal of ‘establishing a commission for child abuse’”. Although soL reported Kahraman’s statement exactly in his words, let alone violating any personal rights, the court imposed an access ban on the soL link along with many other media outlet reports.


Another court in İstanbul imposed an access ban on 29 news contents of soL Turkish on the pretext that it broadcasted news about Nurettin Yıldız, a pro-government Islamic preacher known with his misogynist and paedophilic statements.

The court decision claimed that soL news “targeted Yıldız’s personal rights and offended his professional honour and prestige”. Listing some criteria about how to report news, the court decision argued that news should be actual and realistic, showing that the court members had not read the related news of soL.

As the courts continue to protect such an Islamic preacher as Yıldız who defends that “6-year-old children can marry” and “working women contribute to the process of prostitution”, soL faces bans for reporting the realities, showing that Yıldız is under legal protection in Turkey.

Furthermore, soL Turkish Chief Editor Ali Ufuk Arıkan appeared in a court on March 6 for a "defamation" case filed by Nurettin Yıldız with regards to the news about his own statements.

Turkish courts tend to impose access bans on news reports on sexual assaults and child abuse instead of punishing those who advocate misogynist and child-abusing arguments while the rate of child abuse and sexual assaults in Turkey has increased by 700 percent during the rule of Justice and Development Party.