Access to the Şanlıurfa.com internet site has been banned because of news related to the Deputy Governor of Şanlıurfa, Yıldıray Malğaç, and referring reader comments. The 1st Civil Court of First Instance of Şanlırurfa in south-eastern Turkey decided to take precautionary measures on 2 July. An appeal against the access ban filed ten days later was dismissed.
The decision was based on Article 24 of the Civil Law (No. 4721) on attacks on personal rights. Court President Judge İbrahim Balkan dismissed the appeal filed by Muhammet Taşçılar reasoning that he was not the owner of the site and did not any authority for the website.
Akdeniz: A clear breach of the law
Assoc. Prof. Dr Yaman Akdeniz from the Law School of Bilgi University in Istanbul evaluated the situation for bianet: "The court's decision of the access ban is entirely contrary to the law. It cannot be accepted that this site, which contains political statements, is censored in an unlawful manner. Freedom of the press and the media cannot be restricted. It must not be restricted by courts".
Akdeniz indicated that Article 9 of Law No. 5651 on Internet Crimes provides a guideline how to resolve problems related to "personal rights". He criticized that the web site should not have been closed.
Criticism of Deputy Governor forbidden
The censorship was caused by an article entitled "Malğaç silent and cowering" published on the website on 25 March 2010. The article read, "Deputy Governor Yıldıray Malğaç made a statement last week. He created confusion in the public when he said that the TL 1.5 billion spent in the last year were met by various sources". Subject to the decision were furthermore two reader comments, one of them written by the news site official, Metin Çinar, who said, "This is Mr Malğaç's dilemma; those expenditures were not met by the Social Aid Foundation, were they?" The other comment referred to an article published on 9 February, saying, "Shame on Malğaç; Mr Malğaç meddled around a lot, it will explode soon. We beg the Governor. You should check the signatures under some of the tenders, they are signed by his proponents".
The decision was also based on a reader comment by Ali Kıran sent on 23 May 2010. He wrote, "He struggled with everybody, with the tea vendor, the manager, the governor, the press. He was harsh with people, luckily he is leaving. Anyhow, he created this discomfort against the possibility of being remembered positively. What is written on this site is not very normal. This is what people do if you step on their feet".
In another comment sent on 24 May 2010, it was said, "Mr. Governor, I am following what has been said about you on this site. You looked down to everybody. Now everybody is talking about you at the last moment. You should have been a man of the people. You became the governor. In the end, you are a human being, our graves will be the same. I wish you good luck for the place you will be going to in the other world. I hope you will not look down on people at the place where you are going to. The people are not your slaves".
On 23 May, another comment was entitled "Enough Mr. Mağlaç!!!" and said "This Mağlaç, he finished in Urfa and made the Governor's mother cry". (EÖ/VK)
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