ECHR fines Turkey for 2007 raid of Nokta magazine
PARISThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled for Turkey to be fined over a police raid on the office building of Nokta magazine upon a military court ruling in 2007, stating that the raid constituted a violation of human rights.
The top human rights court said the search conducted on the office of the magazine and the seizure of documents and computers upon a military court ruling in 2007 violated Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which deals with freedom of expression, in its ruling over the application filed by the managers of the magazine at the time.
The “principle assuring the confidentiality of the news sources of journalists” was also violated, the ECHR said.
In 2007, the magazine highlighted on its cover a claim that the Turkish military had categorized journalists in a list as pro-military and anti-military groups, and that the magazine had obtained the list in question. A police raid was conducted to seize all news sources afterwards upon a military court ruling issued following an order from the Turkish General Staff (TSK).
“The article published by the weekly newspaper Nokta, on the basis of ‘confidential’ military documents about a system for classifying the media on the basis of whether they were ‘favorable’ or ‘unfavorable’ to the armed forces, was capable of contributing to public debate,” the ECHR said, citing Article 10 of the convention.
“The interference with the journalists’ right to freedom of expression, especially their right to impart information, had not been proportionate to the legitimate aim sought, had not met a pressing social need and had not therefore been necessary in a democratic society,” it added.
The ECHR ordered the Turkish state to pay Ahmet Alper Görmüş, then-editor-in-chief of Nokta, 2,750 euros and the magazine’s then-managing editors, Ahmet Haşim Akman and Mehmet Ferda Balancar, 1,650 euros each.
Turkey was also ordered to pay Nokta’s then investigative reporters Ahmet Şık and Banu Uzpeder 850 euros each in line in its judgement and the magazine’s other investigative reporter, Nevzat Çiçek, 500 euros.