Turkish court blocks access to reports on handover of Yazidi child to ISIL-linked family

Women mourn by a grave during a mass funeral for Yazidi victims of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group whose remains were found in a mass grave, in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district, on December 9, 2021. (Photo by Zaid AL-OBEIDI / AFP)

A court in Turkey has ruled to block access to several news reports covering allegations that the Ministry of Family and Social Services had handed a kidnapped Yazidi child over to a family associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, the Diken news website reported on Tuesday.

The censorship was announced by the Free Web Turkey platform, which said it was imposed at the request of the ministry.

The Yazidi child, who was abducted and taken to Turkey by ISIL in 2017, was offered for sale on the dark web and later rescued from an ISIL-affiliated family in Ankara in 2021. She was handed over to the same family in June 2022.

The news of the girl’s ordeal had caused widespread outrage in the country after which the child in question was placed under state protection again.

It is common for Turkish authorities to ban access to online news reports covering allegations of corruption, bribery or misconduct and news that causes public indignation.

According to a recent report by Free Web Turkey, the authorities banned access to more than 40,000 URLs in 2022, most frequently content about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family.

Turkey was ranked 165th among 180 countries in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and had a score of 30 on a 100-point index with scores being based on a scale of 0 (least free) to 100 (most free) in the Freedom House’s 2023 Freedom on the Net report.

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