Unlawful accreditation ban against Today’s Zaman reporter ends

Ali Aslan Kılıç, Today's Zaman's chief parliamentary reporter. (Photo: Cihan)
Ali Aslan Kılıç, Today's Zaman's chief parliamentary reporter. (Photo: Cihan)

Date posted: August 6, 2015

Today’s Zaman’s chief parliamentary reporter Ali Aslan Kılıç, who was denied access to the Parliament building in March after his entry card was revoked, received his new card on Wednesday after a court ruling in his favor.

Last month, the 1st Chamber of Ankara’s Regional Administrative Court ruled for an injunction on Kılıç’s 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.”

Kılıç received the accreditation ban after former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Cuma İçten filed a complaint with the Press Relations Board of Parliament against Kılıç, accusing the journalist of insulting him. The board decided to revoke Kılıç’s card without even hearing his defense.

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

The Ankara court cited Article 14 of the Regulation on the Work of the Press at Parliament, which states that “any member of the press who commits acts or engages in behavior that violates the safety and respectability of Parliament will have their correspondent’s card revoked by the relevant administrative officer.”

Stating that the alleged action must be proven for Article 14 of the regulation to be enforced, the court ruled that an individual cannot be punished solely on the basis of a complaint petition. “In this regard, the fact that the plaintiff put forward a complaint petition with immaterial statements when he should have proven in the investigation ‘how and with what actions and words’ the alleged deed took place demonstrates an incompatibility with the law.”

Congratulating Kılıç after the journalist received his new card, Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Engin Altay said that imposing arbitrary sanctions and restrictions on journalists is unacceptable in democracies.

Another CHP deputy, Mahmut Tanal, said the treatment faced by Kılıç could only take place in authoritarian regimes, adding that the necessary measures need to be taken to prevent similar incidents from taking place.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Özcan Yeniçeri said those who are behind the revocation of Kılıç’s card, including former Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, owe Parliament an apology.

Source: Today's Zaman , August 05, 2015

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