MLSA to the Council of Europe: ECHR's freedom of expression decisions not implemented, systematic violations continue

MLSA to the Council of Europe: ECHR's freedom of expression decisions not implemented, systematic violations continue

The Legal Unit of the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) has submitted a Rule 9.2. Communication regarding four groups of cases to be considered by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers. In its notification, MLSA highlighted systematic violations of freedom of expression in Turkey, noting that crimes defined in the penal code disproportionately and unpredictably limit freedom of expression.

Referring to the government's status report, MLSA's Legal Unit stated that the actual situation was not reflected in the report, and according to the data in the MLSA Trial Monitoring Report from December 2023, violations of freedom of expression continue systematically. The notification specifically pointed out that crimes such as making propaganda for terrorism and targeting public officials involved in counter-terrorism, as defined in the Anti-Terror Law, are used against journalists and individuals exercising their freedom of expression. It was noted that more than thirty percent of the cases monitored under the program were related to terrorism, with over half of these terrorism cases being based on allegations of propaganda for terrorism.

The conclusion of the communication stated, "Despite a few positive decisions by the first instance courts, the human rights issues in these group cases are systemic in nature, remain current, and go beyond the special circumstances of these cases," indicating that Turkey continues to violate the right to freedom of expression as stated in Article 10 of the convention.

MLSA's Legal Unit called on the Council to invite Turkey to clarify issues not addressed in its status report, to publish statistical information related to these cases, and to urge Turkey to end these systematic violations.

The applications related to the Öner and Türk, Nedim Şener, Altuğ Taner Akçam, Artun, and Güvener group of cases address the disproportionate interference with "freedom of expression" protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights by crimes listed in the Turkish Penal Code such as "praising crime or criminals" (TPC Art.215), "inciting people to hatred and hostility" (TPC Art.216), "crimes against the constitutional order" (TPC Arts.309-314), "forming an organization for the purpose of committing crimes" (TPC Art.220), "degrading the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the organs and institutions of the State" (TPC Art.301), "Insult" (TPC Art.125), "Insulting the President" (TPC Art.299), and "committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member" (TPC Art.220/6 and 220/7).

9.2 communications, a significant tool for civil society in enforcing ECHR decisions

Notifications submitted by civil society organizations to the Committee, responsible for monitoring the implementation of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisions, are considered an important tool for overseeing the execution of ECHR decisions. Recently, MLSA's Legal and Advocacy Units have submitted notifications regarding internet bans in Turkey to the Ahmet Yıldırım v. Turkey case group and regarding bans on Kurdish concerts to the Ulusoy and Others v. Turkey case group.

Click here to view MLSA’s communication submitted to Council of Europe


Medya ve Hukuk Çalışmaları Derneği (MLSA) haber alma hakkı, ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü alanlarında faaliyet yürüten bir sivil toplum kuruluşudur. Derneğimiz başta gazeteciler olmak üzere mesleki faaliyetleri sebebiyle yargılanan kişilere hukuki destek vermektedir.