Pro-gov’t businessman censors own remarks on ‘Erdoğan love’

Pro-gov’t businessman censors own remarks on ‘Erdoğan love’

Pro-gov’t businessman censors own remarks on ‘Erdoğan love’

Ethem Sancak owns several media outlets in Turkey under the Star Media Group, including Kanal 24, daily Akşam and daily Güneş.

A pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) media tycoon has succeeded in his unusual lawsuit, with a court ruling to block reports on 50 news websites quoting his reflections on the “divine love” between himself and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Businessman Ethem Sancak’s eyebrow-raising remarks were first published by daily Star, one of the newspapers that he owns, in a full-page interview back in May.

“When I became acquainted [with Erdoğan], I saw that divine love is possible between two men,” Sancak said in the final - and by far the most quoted - sentence of the interview.

By “divine love,” Sancak was referring to the Sufi concept of spiritual love of the Divine, as famously exemplified between Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi and Shams-i-Tabrizi in the 13th century.

After these words were republished by other media outlets, Sancak repeated on television that he “fell in love with Erdoğan” when he “saw his honesty and bravery.”

After these remarks triggered another media sensation, Sancak applied to court to block websites reporting them.

On Aug. 17, the Istanbul 8th Criminal Magistrate of Peace ruled to block all the content on Sancak’s words on 50 news websites, daily Cumhuriyet reported, without citing the court’s justification. 

The words that caused such a furor remain viewable at the end of the Star interview.