Turkish judge accused of bribery had access blocked to 172 news reports about claims

An İstanbul judge who was named in recently revealed allegations regarding corruption in the Turkish judiciary has had access blocked to 172 news reports about the claims against him, Turkish Minute reported, citing the ANKA news agency.

The allegations were made by İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor İsmail Uçar in a letter sent to the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK)’s secretary-general on Oct. 6. Uçar alleged widespread corruption in the country’s judicial system, detailing bribery, nepotism and other irregularities. The letter also included accusations against Bekir Altun, president of the İstanbul Judicial Commission.

Uçar alleged that decisions were made by İstanbul’s criminal courts of peace at the Anadolu Courthouse to block access to internet content and to release suspects in exchange for money.

According to ANKA, the İstanbul 4th Criminal Court of Peace, which Uçar frequently mentions in his letter, on Friday blocked access to 172 news reports on the allegations of bribery against Altun, following a complaint from the judge.

Altun claimed that the reports constituted an “attack on his personal rights.”

Among the blocked content is a speech by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Oct. 17.

“Bekir Altun… The person behind the corruption organization. … The one who derives his power from the Council of Judges and Prosecutors. The key actor in all this corruption, and he was even promoted. He was made the president of the Istanbul Judicial Commission, isn’t that nice?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

News reports about an investigation that was launched into the allegations of corruption in the judiciary, which was announced by Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç earlier this week, were also among those blocked, ANKA said.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), on Wednesday rejected a parliamentary motion filed by the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) to investigate the allegations about the members of the judiciary.

Turkey has seen an erosion in the rule of law, especially after a failed coup in July 2016, when more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors were removed from their posts under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

The AKP is accused of replacing the purged judiciary members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who have close links to the AKP.

Turkey was ranked 116th among 140 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October 2022.

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