In recent days, we were able to witness the blocking of access to the portal Turkey Purge which reports on violation of media freedoms and human rights in general in Turkey everyday. Broadcasting breaking news on televisions was also banned for the duration of the state of emergency; the portal for Turkish news in Germany, launched with the aim to provide unbiased coverage of the topics that are censored in Turkey, has also found itself under attack.
Namely, the Criminal Court in Ankara issued a decision to block the internet website TurkeyPurge.com, without issuing a prior notification, because of breaking the law, it is reported on the website turkeypurge. According to a notification sent to the website by Twitter on February 5, the decision of blocking access to the website was already issued in January this year.
The Turkey Purge commented on this situation for Fairpress:
The ruling by the Ankara court came as the latest of similar moves. Access to turkeypurge.com and its social media accounts has already been banned in separate court rulings over the past months. The decision was made on the pretext that some of our content have either praised terrorist activities; solicited people to commit a crime or violence; jeopardized people’s lives and properties; or aimed at disturbing the public order and the national security.
Televisions have also found themselves under attack. Namely, Turkey’s Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) restricted televisions of broadcasting “breaking news”, especially the ones regarding “incidents threatening national security”, such as terrorist attacks. In accordance to this, RTÜK gave out special instructions and rules which televisions have to adhere to while broadcasting such news. According to those rules, Turkish television stations will not be allowed to broadcast every footage or information immediately after a terrorist attack or incident that threatens national security. Also, they won’t be allowed to disclose information about the perpetrators, victims, locations of the incident or broadcast conversations with witnesses.
The conflict with the media has also crossed the border of Turkey – access to the news portal Özgürüz for Turkish news in Germany which seeks to provide unbiased coverage of topics that are censored in Turkey, has also been banned. Can Dündar, Turkish journalist who is in exile in Germany, because he faces a prison sentence in his native country Turkey, launched the portal with colleague Hayko Bağdat. After he was released from custody, Dündar decided to leave Turkey and launch a new platform for uncensored news in Berlin. Through it he wanted to inform people in Turkey, but also shed light on public affairs in Turkey for the German audience, with special emphasis on corruption in Turkey and the political leadership of AKP (Justice and Development Party), led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, the access to the website was blocked before the first piece of news was published.
For Fairpress Can Dündar commented on the blockade of Özgürüz:
The Turkish Information and Communications Technologies Authority decided to block our website before it started. It’s a totally illegitimate action by the government. We saw similar examples like banned books, but we see this for the first time. It shows how scared they are of our possible publications.