Turkish court blocks access to Kurdish news agency for security reasons

A local court in eastern Turkey has blocked access to the Kurdish Mezopotamya news agency on the grounds that it poses a threat to national security and public order, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Freedom of Expression Association’s (İFÖD) EngelliWeb platform.

The Erzurum 1st Penal Court of Peace made the decision about Mezopotamya on Tuesday and blocked access to the mezopotamyaajansi35.com website.

The same website had also faced an access ban in May 2021 imposed by a Diyarbakır court  for the same reason.

The agency began to operate under an alternate website, mezopotamyaajansi.net, to circumvent the ban.

The İstanbul-based Mezopotamya news agency was established in 2017 in the wake of the closure of many Kurdish news outlets and agencies by government decrees during a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016. It publishes articles in Kurdish, Turkish and English.

The Turkish government closed down some 200 media outlets that used to engage in a critical reporting and arrested dozens of journalists following the coup attempt under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Kurdish media outlets and journalists are subjected to frequent legal harassment in Turkey due to their coverage related to the Kurdish issue and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the international community.

Their professional activities are frequently seen as propaganda for the PKK.

The Kurdish issue, a term prevalent in Turkey’s public discourse, refers to the demand for equal rights by the country’s Kurdish population and their struggle for recognition.

Turkey, where internet freedom has steadily declined over the past decade, ranks among the “not free” countries concerning online freedoms, according to a report released by the US-based Freedom House in October.

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