Turkish court blocks reporting on salaries of presidency director and wife

Sharing reports on social media about the extra salaries received by the Turkish Presidency’s communications director and his wife, an academic, is out of bounds, a Turkish court has ruled.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, and his wife, academic Fatmanur Altun, came under scrutiny last week when main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Özgür Özel questioned why they have been receiving additional salaries from lucrative positions on the boards of government-linked institutions.

Fahrettin Altun is receiving a second salary as a board member of the Istanbul Stock Market, while Fatmanur Altun sits on the board of Turkish Airlines.

The communications director has experienced a precipitous rise in influence since he was appointed last year, and now rarely leaves Erdoğan's side.

An Ankara court agreed to block access to news shared on the issue on Twitter, saying these social media posts could infringe on Fahrettin Altun’s personal rights and damage the institutional reputation of the presidency, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported.

Altun applied for the posts from six separate Twitter accounts to be blocked on August 1, and the court reached its decision the next day, Cumhuriyet said.

After news of their extra salaries made waves in Turkey last week, Fatmanur Altun hit back in a long article in which she said those criticising her extra wages were “traitors” in thrall to bourgeois opponents of the Turkish government.

The Marmara University scholar’s article took readers back to prehistoric times and then through history from the Crusades to the French Revolution to explain why she and other public servants deserved double salaries.