Arbitrary media accreditation ban in Parliament upheld by Ankara court

Kılıc’s access pass was canceled in March after former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Cuma İcten filed a complaint with the Press Relations Board of Parliament against the journalist on charges of insulting him. The board decided to cancel Kılıc’s card without even hearing his defense.

The 1st Chamber of Ankara’s Regional Administrative Court on July 9 issued an injunction on the accreditation ban and the revocation of his access card to Parliament on the grounds that the ban “obstructs the defendant from doing his job and will bring about irreparable damage.”

However, the Ankara 10th Administrative Court repealed the injunction ruling and on Tuesday rejected a case filed by Kılıc seeking to annul the cancellation of his parliamentary access pass. Two of the judges — Nurten Colakoglu, the chief judge of the Ankara 10th Administrative court, and Berkan Ayturan — voted in favor of the continuation of the accreditation ban while the third judge Tolga Ozkan voted against the ban.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on Tuesday, Kılıc’s lawyer Caglayan Erginay said his client will appeal the Ankara 10th Administrative Court ruling that supports the accreditation ban in Parliament.

“Unfortunately, the decision is upsetting for Turkey’s judicial system. We will appeal this decision with the Council of State and we believe this baseless decision will be corrected there,” Erginay stated, adding: “There have been six judges involved in the process so far and four of them ruled in favor of my client. Three judges at the 1st Chamber of Ankara’s Regional Administrative Court agreed on a decision for a stay of execution. One of the judges at the Ankara 10th Administrative Court voted against the accreditation ban. I strongly believe the Council of State will take those judges’ decisions into consideration and rule in favor of my client.”

Kılıc firmly denies insulting İcten and asserts there were many journalists who witnessed him asking İcten a question about his claims regarding the Gulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Kılıc had shared with Today’s Zaman the details of his exchange with İcten, saying the deputy had targeted the followers of the Gulen movement and had claimed the movement is linked with Israel and used some defamatory expressions about the movement’s followers during an interview with a TV channel at the Parliament Press Office.

“While he [İcten] was passing by after completing his interview, I asked him whether he had any evidence to support his allegations against the movement’s followers. He replied saying such things do not require any evidence. I later said the allegations are very serious and reminded him of the principle of a person proving his or her allegations and then I sat down,” he said.

Kılıc said İcten later raised his voice at him and asked Kılıc which newspaper he works for. When İcten learned Kılıc works for Today’s Zaman, İcten used defamatory words such as “servant of Israel” and “Israeli spy” while Kılıc said he chose to remain silent.