Turkish Minister imposes restrictions on corruption news

An access ban has been imposed on the news that Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor (İBB) Ekrem İmamoğlu has begun a court case over alleged corruption by the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the previous Mayoralty period.

Regarding the alleged corruption in İBB during the AKP administration period, the İmamoğlu administration prepared a corruption file and filed a criminal complaint naming 23 people.

In responde, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Adil Karaismailoğlu, filed a criminal complaint demanding an access ban to 297 news reports on the subject. The court imposed a ban on access to relevant news in line with Karaismailoğlu's request.

The blocked news includes the claim that the public has suffered a loss of 15.4 million Turkish lira with a payment made to Medya AŞ, a company owned by the Municipality, for promotional work they were supposed to do. However, according to Duvar, the new Mayor’s office “determined that almost all of the works were not fulfilled in accordance with the contract and technical specifications, the progress payments were not made properly and the payment of 15 million 458 thousand + VAT created public damage.”

Minister Karaismailoğlu was among the names included in the criminal complaint by the new Mayor.

The following reasons were given for the access block by the Istanbul 4th Criminal Court of Peace: "the requester is acting as the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Turkey, the content of the news subject to the request contains discourses that can be misleading in a way that damages the reputation and dignity of the requester.”

The court said that the news reports exceeded the limits of free speech and the freedom of the press, and so “it was necessary to decide on the acceptance of the request of the attorney to block access to the content subject to his petition. 

The court concluded that "Considering that these contents undermine the reputation of the requester in the eyes of society and damage the moral personality of the requester, and since the publications subject to the request are statements that violate personality rights in this state, legal conditions are established in accordance with the Law No. 5651, and the request of the requesting agent to prevent access to the content of the petition is accepted."

Istanbul’s new mayor made tackling corruption a central component of his campaign to become mayor. İmamoğlu has frequently accused the government of using state funds to support political friends and their companies.