Murat İnceoğlu/Duvar

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that punishing impoliteness on social media would limit the freedom of expression in a case into the posts shared in a Facebook group consisting of judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

An argument erupted in the group that has nearly 30,000 members after a lawyer, identified only by the initials as V.Ö., penned a post, saying that some members of the group were sharing posts that “humiliate religious values and praise terror acts.”

V.Ö. then claimed that some replies to his post had criminal statements, adding that he will file complaints.

Another lawyer, identified by the initials as S.K., then shared a post with allegedly vulgar remarks aimed at V.Ö., prompting V.Ö. to include it in his complaint.

A penal court of first instance in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir found S.K. guilty of insulting V.Ö. and sentenced him to 2,610 Turkish liras of judicial fine.

S.K. then took the case to the Constitutional Court, citing limitation of his freedom of expression with the ruling.

While acknowledging that the remarks were insulting, the top court ruled that punishing all breaches of politeness principles would lead to violations of the freedom of expression.