Turkish courts ban access to news on child abuse by Islamic preacher

A court in Turkey’s northwestern Sakarya province ordered an access ban on news stories about Fatih Nurullah, the leader of the Uşşaki Islamic order, sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl according to phone recordings, news website OdaTV reported on Thursday.

OdaTV had published a report on the allegations following Nurullah’s arrest on Wednesday, obscuring the girl’s and her family’s identities. The report included voice recordings where the preacher admitted to abusing the girl.

The court order banning the article said URLs of all future publications on the matter were pre-emptively banned, according to OdaTV.

“The sentence, ‘Uşşaki Islamic order’s sheikh Fatih Nurullah was arrested for sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in Sakarya’s Akyazı district,’ has been banned,” tweeted main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) former Istanbul deputy Melda Onur, joining a social media campaign where hundreds tweeted the exact same sentence, often forming tweet threads.

The method of typing the same phrase in connected tweets has been a popular method of social media protest in recent months in the country, starting with women protesting a possible withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention and back-to-back murders of women in exceedingly violent ways. The protest method picked up speed after a new social media bill granted Turkish courts the authority to remove content deemed unfit.