Turkish court blocks access to popular forum entries on Erdoğan’s wife, son

A Turkish court has blocked access to entries on a popular forum on First Lady Emine Erdoğan’s designer handbag and what is reportedly a 2013 phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his son, Bilal Erdoğan.

An Istanbul court blocked on June 19 the entries on Ekşi Sözlük, a dictionary-format discussion forum, pertaining to Emine Erdoğan’s Hermes handbag, which created a stir in 2019 over its cost of $50,000, news site T24 reported.

The value of the purse was the equivalent to almost 145 minimum wage salaries at the time.

The other entry blocked by the court is pertaining to a leaked phone call between the Turkish president and his son Bilal in 2013, when a corruption scandal erupted involving senior ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials and Erdoğan’s family members.

The blocked Ekşi Sözlük entry, “Describing something as through explaining it to Bilal,” is a reference to a 2013 corruption scandal in which wiretapped audio was leaked which purportedly recorded Erdoğan repeatedly asking Bilal to get rid of millions of dollars of money stashed in a property, while Bilal struggled to understand his father’s instructions. Erdoğan dismissed the allegation as fabricated.

Turkish left-wing Evrensel newspaper columnist Ender İmrek is also facing trial over a June 2019 article referencing Emine Erdoğan’s Hermes handbag, Tükenmez Haber reported on Sunday.

İmrek is set to appear in an Istanbul court on June 24 over his article titled “The hermes handbag was glistening,’’ on charges of insulting the Turkish First Lady.

The Erdoğan family and their close circles have come under criticism for their lavish lifestyle despite their humble and pious discourse.

In 2017, the Turkish Presidency Office released a statement in response to news reports accusing it of lavish excess, saying savings should not be made at the expense of reputation.