ANF – ISTANBUL 22.07.2014 10:33:45 – A court in Istanbul has lifted the ban on access to the Firat News Agency (ANF) website. ANF’s lawyer Ramazan Demir said: “The illegality and arbitrary use of legislation that has gone on for years has now ended.”
Access to the ANF internet site www.firatnews.com, which was founded in 2005 and publishes in two dialects of Kurdish (Kurmanji-Sorani), Turkish, English, Arabic and Persian, was obstructed by a judgment in 2011 that prevented access to 36 Kurdish internet sites.
Since then access to the domain addresses of various extensions of ANF have also been blocked.Ramazan Demir from the Fırat News Agency Foundation in the Netherlands applied to the Istanbul court on 23 June requesting the abrogation of judgment no. 2011/875 D. of 04.08.2011 handed down by the no.11 Istanbul Serious Criminal Court which banned access to the web site, saying there were no legal grounds for the ban.No legal justification for the ban
Demir said: “The ban is really based on the Anti-Terror police, prosecutors and courts’ intolerance of Kurdish web sites.”
Amongst the other 36 sites to which access is blocked are navendalekolin.com, pajk-online.com, roj.tv, rojaciwan.com, komunar.net and denge-mezopotamya.com.
Demir added that bans on access to websites can only be based on law no. 5651, saying: “But the court based its decision regarding ANF on article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law, governing propaganda for an organisation, which is legally not possible. Article 6/5 of the law had already been abrogated by law no. 6352, but the obstruction of access to the website continued. The court accepted our application in a similar way to the Constitutional Court accepting that Turkey’s obstruction of access to Twitter was in breach of freedom of expression and had no basis in law.”
An appropriate judgment
The court yesterday accepted the ANF request to lift the ban on access to the website, a request with which the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office concurred.Demir drew attention to the fact this was the first objection lodged in the courts regarding the obstruction of access to Kurdish websites in Turkey, adding: “The court has made the correct decision. The illegality and arbitrary use of legislation that has gone on for years has now ended. However, access to the site is still blocked by another court judgment. We will now lodge an objection with the Ankara no. 11 Serious Criminal Court which implemented a similar ban.”Lawyer Demir thanked Prof.Yaman Akdeniz from the Bilgi University in Istanbul and Prof. Kerem Altıparmak from Ankara University for their contributions to the securing of this judgment.