Application Number 77650/01

European Court of Human Rights

[Judgement delivered in French]         

The applicant was convicted for disseminating propaganda against the indivisibility of the State following the publication of an article in the newspaper at which he was editor-in-chief. The ECtHR found that the article was a critical discussion of the Kurdish question but did not constitute hate speech and did not call for violence. It, therefore, found a violation of Article 10 ECHR.


Theme(s): Violence, terrorism

Date: 19 March 2007

Description of applicant(s):  Editor-in-chief of daily newspaper Yeni Gündem

Brief description of facts: The applicant was convicted for disseminating propaganda against the indivisibility of the State on account of the publication of a statement by a terrorist organisation, following the publication in the newspaper of an article entitled ‘The revolution of Kurds’ consisting of an analysis of the Kurdish question. In April 2001 the Istanbul State Security Court sentenced the applicant, in his capacity as editor-in-chief, to five months’ imprisonment, commuted to a fine of about 800 EUR and ordered the banning of the newspaper for one month.

(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Turkish State

The Court’s assessment of the impugned speech:

The Court found that the article did not incite violence or constitute hate speech. It was an analysis of the Kurdish issue.

Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:

Para.38 The Court observed that the contested article contained critical ideas on the Kurdish question which did not call for the use of violence, armed resistance or uprising, and that it was not a question of hate speech, which is, in the Court’s view, the essential element to be taken into consideration.

ECHR Article: Article 10

Decision: Violation

Use of ‘hate speech’ ‘extreme speech’ or other terminology pertaining to ‘types’ of speech by the Court in its assessment?

Yes, see para.38 above.

Note! Translation from French to English is our own.