Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Utku Çakırözer presented a parliamentary inquiry on Sep. 15 asking about the fraudulent access bans that had been issued to two news outlets.
Cyber rights activist Yaman Akdeniz said on Sep. 10 that he believed two access bans issued to independent news outlets Gazete Duvar and Diken had been forged, as the judge who presumably signed them was not a real person.
"Both FAKE decrees seem to have come from the Second Bakırköy Criminal Court and both site "Esma Canıbeyaz Şengül" as the judge. There isn't a judge by that name employed in the Bakırköy Courthouse," Akdeniz said.
5. Her 2 SAHTE karar da Bakırköy 2. Sulh Ceza Hakimliğinden gelmiş gibi gözüküyor ve her 2 kararda da Hakim ismi "Esma Canıbeyaz Şengül" olarak gözüküyor. Bakırköy adliyesinde ise bu isimde bir hakim yok. Karar sayıları da dikkat ederseniz aynı. pic.twitter.com/qawyMP3mto— Yaman Akdeniz (@cyberrights) September 10, 2021
Presented to Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Çakırözer's parliamentary inquiry noted that the fake access bans have only been the most recent in a series of censorship practices deployed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
"Your blackouts and advertisement bans weren't enough, now you come up with fake access bans on real news. This practice is not only illegal, but also a hinderance of the public's right to access news," the inquiry said.
The deputy asked how many pieces of news content had been banned from public access with such fraudulent decrees, and what the Justice Ministry was waiting for to launch an investigation into the practice.
"Those responsible for the fake decrees should be identified and prosecuted immediately to protect the public's right to information and press freedom," the inquiry noted.
Çakırözer also asked the ministry whether they would appeal the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's ruling to drop the criminal complaints about the fake decrees, as well as whether they would seek an organizational scheme in the fraud.
The deputy also noted that the Justice Ministry has ironically been working on a new bill upon orders of the president that is geared to combatting misinformation.