Turkey Watch

Watching the Turkish nail being put into Europian coffin.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Turkey condemned for not respecting freedom of expression

From EurActiv

In Short:

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for having prosecuted an editor and the owner of a Turkish daily for pro-Kurdish content.

Brief News:

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Turkey to pay compensations to the editor and the owner of a Turkish daily Özgür Bakiş, for violation of freedom of expression.

Cihan Çapan and Halis Dogan were prosecuted in January 2000, for disseminating separatist propaganda. The two men were fined, and the editor sentenced to imprisonment. They were charged for having written and published pro-Kurdish articles, namely on the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party(PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, his trial, the PKK's armed struggle and the process of democratisation in Turkey.

The Court considered that even if the articles contained "some particularly acerbic passages and thus painted an extremely negative picture of the Turkis state, they did not exhort the use of violence or incite armed resistance or rebellion" and could, therefore, not justify the interference with Mr Çapan's and Dogan's right to freedom of expression.

In the context of the Orhan Pamuk-case, where Turkey finally decided to drop charges against the best-selling author Orhan Pamuk for insulting Turkish identity (see EurActiv 23 January 2006), the Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, said that "it is clear for me that Turkey needs to fill properly the loopholes of the current penal code, which leave too much room for abusive and restrictive interpretations limiting freedom of expression".

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