The Ankara 15th Civil Court of First Instance has annulled a lower court’s decision to ban author Sabahattin Önkibar's book titled "Everything About Devlet Bahçeli and Ülkücü Groups" (Everything About Devlet Bahçeli and Grey Wolves), according to reporting by online news outlet Gerçek Gündem.
The annulment decision came following an appeal filed at the Court of Cassation, Turkey’s highest appeals court.
In 2017, the Ankara 6th Civil Court of First Instance had ruled that the book be pulled off the shelves on the grounds that it was “insulting” to Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.
Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House's lawyer Celal Ülgen Celal Ülgen stated that he was happy with the decision made six years later.
“Hamit Kocabey was the lawyer of Devlet Bahçeli. Kocabey was later elected to the Board of Judges and Prosecutors with the suggestion of Bahçeli. With the application of Hamit Kocabey, the book was banned in 2017, saying that it contained an insult to Devlet Bahçeli. In 2017, we applied to the judiciary, yet the Ankara Civil Court of First Instance rejected our request, and we went to the Court of Cassation. The Court of Cassation made a very good decision, nearly using the reasons in our application petition, which can be taken as a landmark case. In addition, Bahçeli, who is a politician, should be more tolerant. Pulling a book off the shelves means a restriction on freedom of thought,” Ülgen said.
Anonymous people had attacked the author
Author Sabahattin Önkibar was attacked in front of his house by three anonymous people in Ankara after the book was published and was hospitalized. He was helped by nearby business owners.
Önkibar, a former member of the Grey Wolves, has written about his experiences with regards to the far-right group in his book. The Grey Wolves is the paramilitary wing of the MHP and was founded in Turkey after the country’s 1960 military coup. More than 100 political murders in Turkey have been attributed to the group.