Turkish top court reverses fine imposed on journalist for calling preacher 'pedophile'
Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a fine imposed on journalist Orhan Gökdemir for calling preacher Nureddin Yıldız a “ pedophile” is a violation of freedom of expression and press. Gökdemir referred to Yıldız as a “pedophile” in his column published in newspaper soL on May 21, 2016, after the preacher argued that marrying a 6-year-old girl is legitimate.
The Turkish Constitutional Court has reversed a local court's decision that fined journalist Orhan Gökdemir for calling Nureddin Yıldız, president of the Social Fabric Foundation, a “pedophile.”
The top court said that 2,900 liras worth of fine imposed on Gökdemir was a violation of freedom of expression and press.
Gökdemir referred to Yıldız as a “pedophile” in his column published in newspaper soL on May 21, 2016, after the preacher argued that marrying a 6-year-old girl is legitimate.
Yıldız then filed a criminal complaint against the journalist and won the case overseen at the Istanbul 45th Criminal Court of First Instance. Also, another court at the time blocked access to Gökdemir's column.
The journalist then filed an appeal at the Constitution Court on Nov. 29, 2017, saying that his rights to freedom of expression and of press had been violated.
The top court said in its ruling on Sept. 30, 2020 that the Constitution's Articles 26 and 28, which establish freedom of expression and of press, had been violated and sent Gökdemir's file back to the Istanbul court for a retrial to take place so that the relevant violation could be eliminated. The top court's detailed ruling was sent to Gökdemir on Dec. 29, 2020.
Renowned cyber rights activist Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz shared the top court's decision on his social media account, saying that there are many news pieces to which access had been blocked at the time for reporting on preacher Yıldız.
“There are many applications before the Constitutional Court about these access blocking decisions. After the decision on Orhan Gökdemir's case, the court should also swiftly rule on those applications,” Akdeniz wrote.
Orhan Gökdemir, Nureddin Yıldız’a "Tuhafazakar Süslümanlığın Ekonomi Politiği" başlıklı yazısında “pedofil” dediği için hakaret suçundan adli para cezası almıştı. Anayasa Mahkemesi bu cezaya ifade ve basın özgürlüğü ihlali dedi: https://t.co/ax6oxjnTvz pic.twitter.com/Dx6QhqUEul— Yaman Akdeniz (@cyberrights) January 7, 2021