ECHR finds rights violation in penalty imposed on former HDP MP Osman Baydemir over ‘Kurdistan’ remark

Turkish parliament’s imposition of a penalty on former HDP MP Osman Baydemir for using the remark “Kurdistan” during a speech in 2017, is a violation of his rights, the ECHR ruled.

Duvar English

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkish authorities had violated the rights of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Osman Baydemir by imposing a penalty on him for using the term “Kurdistan” during a speech in parliament in 2017.

In its ruling on June 13, the ECHR said that the European Convention on Human Rights’ (ECHR) Article 10 on “Freedom of Expression” had been violated.

The top European rights court ordered Turkey to pay a compensation of 16,957 euros to Baydemir. ECHR judge Saadet Yüksel, who is known to rule in favor of Turkey in many of the cases, similarly agreed with the violation decision this time. 

In December 2017, Baydemir said in parliament, “As a Kurdish child, a representative coming from Kurdistan, what I want is that this roof is the joint Turkish-Kurdish roof.”

In response, parliament deputy speaker Ayşenur Bahçelikapı asked Baydemir, “Where is Kurdistan?” Baydemir then put his hand on his heart and said, “This is Kurdistan.”

Baydemir was suspended from parliament’s General Assembly sessions for two days and his salary was cut in the amount of 12,000 liras. This was the first time such a penalty was imposed on a lawmaker in the parliament.

Baydemir then took his case to the Constitutional Court which said in its January ruling that the issue was not under its authority as “the disciplinary penalty is not one of the parliament decisions for which the Constitution grants judicial review.” Afterwards, Baydemir filed an application with the ECHR.