Turkey convicted of violating freedom of expression

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Kiliçdaroglu was convicted in 2012 of defamation for the content of the speeches, in which he criticized the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister. The criticism concerned a controversial hydropower plant and a bomb attack carried out by the Turkish air force.

Erdogan went to court and won. The court imposed large fines on Kiliçdaroglu, which critics believe was intended to intimidate other opponents from criticizing the government.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg said the Turkish judges “failed to assess the infringing comments in the context and form in which they were presented”.

Kiliçdaroglu spoke as a member of the National Assembly and leader of the main opposition party CHP.

– Although freedom of expression is valuable for everyone, it is especially important for someone who has been elected as the people’s representative, the ECHR emphasizes.

The court orders Turkey to pay Kiliçdaroglu 13,000 euros – just over 140,000 kroner – in restitution and to cover the costs. The judges agreed in the assessment of the question of guilt, but the Turkish judge disagreed in sentencing.

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