ECHR finds Turkey guilty of violating free speech rights of academics

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday found Turkey guilty of violating the right to free speech of two academics, who faced prosecution over a report on the country’s minorities.

Baskın Oran and İbrahim Kaboğlu were forced into self-censorship and placed under unavoidable pressure during a three-year long investigation, Deutsche Welle Turkish cited the court as saying.

The court ordered Turkey to pay 2,000 euros ($2,360) in damages to the academics.

Oran and Kaboğlu were charged in 2005 for “inciting hatred” and “disparaging the state’s judiciary bodies” after releasing their report that covered issues pertaining to the protection of minorities in Turkey.

The pair brought their case to the European court in 2007, a year before being acquitted by a Turkish court, but the ECHR ruled that even without a conviction the academics’ right to free expression had been violated.

Turkey currently maintains a total of 5,231 pending ECHR cases, according to an annual report by the EU’s Council of Europe. A total of 635 cases in the country have remained pending for over 5 years.

The top European court sentenced Turkey to pay 2.17 million euros in damages in 2019.

Turkey ranks109th out of 126 countries in the World Justice Project’s rule of law index for 2019.