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After the Ankara 3rd Penal Court of Peace has imposed an access block on 136 news websites and social media accounts including bianet upon the request of General Command of Gendarmerie, bar associations have strongly criticized the court order.
Speaking to bianet about the verdict of the court, Ankara Bar Association Chair Erinç Sağkan, İstanbul Bar Association Chair Mehmet Durakoğlu, İzmir Bar Association Chair Özkan Yücel and Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın have denounced the access block imposed on bianet by the order of a court in following words:
Ankara Bar Association Chair Erinç Sağkan:
“If there is a court ruling, this ruling has to have a justification as well. But, this ruling does not have any justification; so, we do not know whether there is a proportional ruling or not.
“Based on which news or content has this ruling been given? As we do not know that, it is not possible to make a legal evaluation.
“There were articles on Internet in the Judicial Reform and these articles are also in the existing law. It was indicated that only an access ban would be imposed in force majeure. What is faced today is beyond a scandal.
“An Internet portal with thousands of content is being shut down. It is an order way beyond censorship and scandal, we cannot just brush it over as censorship. This order is the seizure of our most fundamental rights and freedoms in every sense of the term.”
İstanbul Bar Association Chair Mehmet Durakoğlu:
“It is an utterly unlawful ruling. It was not a surprise for me that the court has given such a ruling. It is the consequence of the fact that after the related law has entered into effect, especially the access block on websites has come under the jurisdiction of Penal Judgeships of Peace. These judgeships have an attitude of restricting rights, not protecting them.
“It was stated that websites would not be banned as a whole, an access block could be imposed only on their content. But, as we see now, these statements do not have any return. It is a ruling that aims to prevent people’s right to receive information. With this ruling, the law has been trampled on.”
İzmir Bar Association Chair Özkan Yücel:
“The recent developments such as the censorship of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has signalled that something like that was going to happen. They are trying to control the dissenting voices that they cannot put pressure on with the censorship of the RTÜK and access block on content such as this.
“They are using the judiciary as an instrument in all types of unlawfulness. The fact that there is a signature of a judge under a verdict does not make the verdict in question lawful. The verdict is in no way acceptable and we will stand up against all ruling given in a similar manner.”
Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın:
“Turkey has been gradually deteriorating in terms of freedom of press and expression with each passing day. And, recently, 136 access block orders are a case in point, it is impossible for us to accept it.
“And, that fact that this unlawfulness is perpetrated by the hand of courts is a very grave situation for us legists.
“That such an extremely independent and impartial media outlet as bianet is being shut down shows us that they do not have any tolerance towards the voices that do not think like them. The legal mechanism is violating the law. We, as legists, will not get used to it.” (RT/SD)