Army fails to “respect private life” of a lieutenant, court rules
Toygun Atilla - ANKARAThe Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled the Turkish Armed Forces violated the right of “respecting private life” in an appeal made to the court by dismissed Air Force Lieutenant Ata Türkeri.
The appeal came as Lt. Türkeri was dismissed from the army in 2011 on grounds of indiscipline and moral condition some six months after he was questioned by the Turkish Air Force’s Intelligence Office.
According to Türkeri’s lawyer, Mustafa Bozkurt, Türkeri was invited to Ankara by the Turkish Air Force’s Intelligence Office in May 2011 and was interrogated by a captain and a noncommissioned officer for six-and-a-half hours.
He was asked about a picture on Facebook in which he stands next to his brother wearing a wig. Concerning the picture, the officers asked Türkeri whether he had a sexual relationship with his brother. Infuriated by the question, Türkeri responded that if the question was asked by the Air Force, he would like to be dismissed from the service.
During the “chat,” as the officers called it, Türkeri was also asked personal questions extending from his sexual preference to his use of alcohol and drugs, to whether he had any friends linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). He was asked if a sexual relationship had occurred with a friend from the air force academy and questioned about a relationship with a personnel’s wife.
During the interrogation, he was also told that he had been under the intelligence office’s surveillance for one year.
Upon his dismissal by the Turkish Armed Forces, he appealed his dismissal to Military High Administrative Court but his appeal was returned from the court. He then carried his case to the Turkish Constitutional Court, which decreed on Dec. 17 2015, that lieutenant Türkeri’s right to “respect to private life” had been breached.
In his statement to daily Hürriyet, lawyer Bozkurt said the court’s decision would serve as a model for similar cases.
“In previous years there have been many dismissals on similar grounds. But military personnel’s private life should be respected, as long as it does not interfere with work life; therefore, dismissals in breach of this right should be considered against the law,” added Bozkurt.