Speech by presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition party banned by court

An İstanbul court has ordered the censorship of Internet sites that quoted a campaign rally speech given by Muharrem İnce, the presidential candidate of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), at the request of one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s sons, according to a report by neo-nationalist online news outlet Odatv on Tuesday.

President Erdoğan had described how the CHP’s İnce had been taken to court over unpaid social security premiums for his employees while running a cram school over 20 years ago. İnce responded at a rally in Elazığ province, telling his audience that they should “research the Sevim Tanürek murder.”

Musician Sevim Tanürek died after being hit by a car driven by then-Mayor of İstanbul Erdoğan’s eldest son Burak Erdoğan in 1998. Burak Erdoğan was found innocent by a court, which ruled that Tanürek had been completely responsible for her own death.

In response to İnce’s comment, Burak Erdoğan on Tuesday filed a successful request for censorship of websites reporting it, meaning they will no longer be available to users in Turkey.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 242 journalists and media workers were in jail as of June 3, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 182 were under arrest pending trial while only 60 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with Ahval)

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