Turkish main opposition CHP leader demands judicial probe for media ban on his speech

Turkey's main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has filed an application with the top judicial body HSK, demanding that they launch an investigation into a judge for ordering a media ban on one of his speeches about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu addresses a meeting in this file photo.

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Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğly has filed a complaint with the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) about a judge who ordered an access ban on news reports covering one of his speeches about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In his complaint, Kılıçdaroğlu emphasized that the judge İsmail Akdaş had “abused his authority” and that his right to freedom of expression had been violated.

“When the profession of judgeship is being conducted, there is a need to be objective. It is obvious that the judge in question does not have such concerns. We are of the opinion that an immediate sanction needs to be applied to the judge who completely ignored the judicial ethics, trampled on legal rules and acted with political motives,” read the complaint.

On Dec. 2, the court led by chief judge İsmail Akdaş banned access to online reports published by 20 news outlets for covering a speech of Kılıçdaroğlu.

The court's decision came upon the demand of Erdoğan.

During his party's parliamentary group meeting on Feb. 11, 2020, Kılıçdaroğlu had said it was Erdoğan who had “handed the state to FETÖ [Fethullahist Terrorist Organization],” using the acronym of the Gülen network.

Kılıçdaroğlu had said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) “had not put up a fight against FETÖ.” “Everyone knows that a genuine struggle against FETÖ has not been taken. Those with money, connections are outside [the prison]. Those with political connections have not been touched,” Kılıçdaroğlu had said in his remarks which were published by 20 different news outlets.

Erdoğan's lawyers on Dec. 2 filed a demand for these news reports to be blocked, claiming that the president's “personal rights had been violated.” On the same day, the demand was accepted by the court.

U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen was once an ally of Erdoğan and the AKP. 

The Gülen network ran schools, banks and media outlets in Turkey until the two men had a public falling-out in 2013.