Istanbul, Oct 22 () - The website of the weekly Nokta magazine has been blocked after one of its articles allegedly defamed the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a month after the office of the magazine was raided by police on allegations that the publication “defamed the Turkish president.”
An Ankara court issued a ruling that banned the website of the weekly over an article titled “Diaries of the AKP,” which were said to be the minutes of a meeting conducted by 15 senior AKP officials after the June 7 parliamentary elections and which were published in the magazine’s 21st issue dated Oct. 5-11, daily Hürriyet reported Oct. 22.
The ruling came as AKP lawyer Burhanettin Sevencan filed a criminal complaint on Oct. 13 over allegations that the article in question was part of a defamation campaign against the AKP ahead of the upcoming Nov. 1 election, containing false and biased statements about the party.
The ban was imposed as a pre-emptive measure against the distribution of the article through different media channels, according to the ruling.
The Nokta administration said pressure on the magazine had reached an unprecedented level.
“Confiscation of undelivered copies of a magazine, police raids [of the magazine’s office building] and banning its website are all some of the unlawful practices [that have been implemented],” it added.
In mid-September, Nokta’s office in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood was raided by police officers over its 18th issue, which showed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan taking a selfie near a killed soldier’s coffin, with even undelivered copies of the issue confiscated upon an Istanbul prosecutor’s office decision although no court ruling was issued to authorize police officers to confiscate the copies.
The raid was conducted on charges of “defaming Turkish president” and “making terrorism propaganda” in the early hours on Oct. 14 as part of a pre-dawn operation.
“Bans, raids and arrests at Nokta worsen an already worrying situation [of] freedom of expression in Turkey” European Council Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks said on Sept. 14 on Twitter.