Turkish presidency requested blocking access to popular social network Ekşi Sözlük, journo says

The decision to block access to popular social network Ekşi Sözlük was requested by the Turkish Presidency, journalist İsmail Saymaz has said in his column. The same judge who ordered the blocking of access to the website also ruled on 95 other cases on the same day.

Duvar English

Journalist İsmail Saymaz said on Feb. 24 in his column that the decision to block access to popular social network Ekşi Sözlük was given at the request of the Turkish Presidency.

Saymaz stated that the decision, which was taken upon the application of Turkey's Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK), was based on the letter of the General Directorate of Administrative Affairs working under the Turkish Presidency. 

The Ankara 4th Criminal Judgeship of Peace approved this request on Feb. 22. The decision, which claimed that the main reason to block the access was the earthquake-related posts, read as follows:

"The website subject to the request gave false information to the public by its authorized writers and tried to manipulate the public. Especially after the earthquake that occurred on Feb. 6, 2023, the website gave untrue information about the state institutions and the military related to the earthquake. There are posts aimed at deceiving society and trying to show the state in a helpless condition, creating an environment of turmoil between segments of society. Also, the necessary actions have not been taken by the site administrators.” 

After the decision, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) member Mücahit Birinci said "Politicians who say 'Ekşi Sözlük should not be closed down because there are many insults against me too, but it is freedom' can open their private channels where they curse themselves exclusively" and stated that the website would remain closed.

Birinci's remarks drew ire on social media as it was described as "against judicial independence."

The management of Ekşi Sözlük held a meeting with the BTK on Feb. 23. The management said that no post was cited as the reason for the access blocking decision and that the reason was "misinformation given to the public by Ekşi Sözlük writers."

Prof. Yaman Akdeniz, an expert on Information Technology Law, posted on his social media account that the judge in charge of the case regarding Ekşi Sözlük ruled on 95 other cases on the same day.