Turkey’s Press Advertisement Agency (BİK) banned ads on daily Evrensel for a record-breaking period of 45 days following the publication of a May 5 column titled “No Escape from Ill Fate.”
“The 45-day ban issued to Evrensel is the longest one ever handed out. Punishing a piece that a columnist wrote about their own opinions like this is not justifiable by law,” Evrensel’s lawyer Devrim Avcı said.
Noting the prior bans issued to the daily, Avcı said Evrensel was “obviously faced with a hostile attitude.”
The column was initially met with a lawsuit launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on the charges of “targeting the constitutional order through messaging about a coup d’état.”
In their defense, daily Evrensel said that the column, written by Ragıp Zarakolu, merely gave a brief summary of Turkish political history, the arrival and departure of political administrations, and the coalitions they formed to stay in power.
Citing multiple precedents from the Court of Cassation, the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the daily said that the column was legal in that it was protected by the freedom of expression and criticism.