Turkish court blocks access to 17 tweets on gendarmerie commander’s alleged criminal ties

Turkish Gendarmerie General Commander Arif Çetin with fugitive millionaire Turkish businessman Galip Öztürk

An Ankara court has blocked access to 17 tweets in which Turkish Gendarmerie General Commander Arif Çetin was criticized for meeting with individuals associated with criminal organizations, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Gazete Duvar news website .

The Ankara 3rd Criminal Court of Peace ruled to impose an access ban on the tweets based on a complaint filed by Çetin. The court said the content was damaging Çetin’s reputation, thereby violating his personal rights.

According to Turkish media reports, Alaaddin Varol, the lawyer representing Çetin, had served as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s Çankaya district chairman. He had also been a candidate for parliament from the AKP.

Çetin’s photos with fugitive millionaire Turkish businessman Galip Öztürk and Ferhat Aydoğan, the press advisor of notorious Turkish mafia boss Alaattin Çakıcı, had become a subject of debate.

Courts in Turkey often issue access bans on online content when they are found disturbing by the government or military officials.

In a similar development in September, a Turkish court imposed an access ban on 26 news reports concerning bribery allegations made by a mobster against a public prosecutor that sparked a debate in Turkey about the shadowy relationship between the mafia and the judicial authorities.

The access ban was imposed based on a petition filed by Yüksel Kocaman, a controversial figure and member of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Internet freedom in Turkey has steadily declined over the past decade, with the country again ranking among the “not free” countries concerning online freedoms, according to a new report from the US-based Freedom House earlier this month.

Turkey has a score of 30 in a 100-point index, with scores being based on a scale of 0 (least free) to 100 (most free).

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