Court blocks Twitter publication of senior presidency official’s second salary

A Turkish court has banned access to social media posts involving news about the second salaries received by the Turkish Presidency’s communications director and his wife, an academic, the T24 news portal reported on Wednesday.

Fahrettin Altun, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s communications director, and his wife, academic Fatmanur Altun, drew public reaction last week after an opposition lawmaker questioned why they have been receiving extra wages.

Ozgur Ozel, an MP from the main opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), asked about the couple’s additional salaries from lucrative positions on the boards of the ruling AK Party (AKP) government-linked institutions.

According to Ozel, Fahrettin Altun started receiving a second salary when he was appointed to the board of the Istanbul stock market.

The wife also has been receiving an additional salary on top of the one from Marmara University, since she became a Turkish Airlines board member early in 2018.

The Ankara 8th Penal Court of Peace on August 2 ordered the blocking of access to six Twitter accounts that shared news on the couple’s second salaries on the grounds that they could infringe on Altuns’ personal rights and damage the institutional reputation of the presidency.

According to the Turkish media reports, the Ankara court reached its decision a day after Fahrettin Altun applied for the posts from six separate Twitter accounts to be blocked.

Writing an op-ed for the conservative news outlet Fikriyat as a reply to the criticisms against her family, Fatmanur Altun argued last week that those who criticized politicians and bureaucrats for high wages were serving bourgeois business interests to the detriment of the country.

“Don’t play the fool with citizens, don’t test our patience, and don’t display your two-faced ways and your treachery in front of the nation,” she warned.

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