The former editor-in-chief of “Cumhuriyet” daily was on trial over the newspaper’s 2015 coverage of allegations that Turkey sent weapons to insurgents in Syria on trucks operated by the National Intelligence Agency.
Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016 on various spurious charges, many terrorism-related. The ECtHR ruled that his detention was politically motivated.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the staff’s rights to liberty and security and freedom of expression had been violated. It ordered Turkey to pay each applicant 1,600 euros in non-pecuniary damages.
“The people who will be giving you an honorary doctorate are the very people who dismissed me and many other academics”.
Since January, the authorities have brought legal action against 6,743 social media users for “spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation, inciting people to hatred and enmity, spreading fear and panic, and sharing false documents and provocative content.”
“The internet in Turkey is already under tremendous pressure from the government. This latest regulation covers everything the government didn’t previously have the power to restrict…. the purpose here is to intimidate the people, to get them to not log in or criticise or use their freedom of expression”.
Soon to be introduced in the Parliament, the draft law will oblige social network providers to set up offices in Turkey and share user data with the Turkish authorities. The legislation will also likely enable blocking of anonymous social media accounts.
Taner Kılıç was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months for “membership of a terrorist organization”, while Özlem Dalkıran, İdil Eser and Günal Kurşun were sentenced to 1 year and 13 months for “aiding a terrorist organization”. The remaining seven were acquitted.