ECHR convicts Turkey on freedom of speech
The ECHR has sentenced Turkey to pay a fine in the amount of 5,000 euros.The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Turkey in the case of Erbil Tuşalp, a Turkish journalist sentenced to pay damages to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for defamation, indicating Tuşalp’s right to freedom of expression had been violated.
“It was true that Mr. Tuşalp had used a satirical style to convey his strong criticism. In that context, the court underlined that the protection of Article 10 was applicable not only to information or ideas that were favorably received but also to those which offended, shocked or disturbed,” read the European court’s verdict that was pronounced yesterday.
The European court sentenced Turkey to pay a fine in the amount of 5,000 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage and rejected all charges leveled against Tuşalp, including defamation, violation of personal rights and going beyond the limits of acceptable criticism.
“The plaintiff in the two sets of compensation proceedings was the prime minister, thus a very high-ranking politician. The court underlined that the limits of acceptable criticism were wider for a politician than for a private individual. He would therefore have been obliged to display a greater degree of tolerance,” further read the court’s ruling.
An Ankara court had sentenced Tuşalp to pay a fine in the amount of 10,000 Turkish Liras in 2006 for two articles he had penned. Titled “Stability” (İstikrar) and “Get Well Soon” (Geçmiş Olsun), the articles were published in the daily Birgün in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
Tuşalp appealed to the European Court in 2008, the same year Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals approved the 2006 ruling of the Ankara court.