Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Report: Turkey’s implementation of ECtHR judgments on free speech

Report: Turkey’s implementation of ECtHR judgments on free speech



Turkey’s legislation and practices in the area of freedom of expression and media freedom have been condemned in numerous judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for decades. Over the past few years, the issue of Turkey’s compliance with the ECtHR judgments has become all the more important, in view of developments in the aftermath of the attempted coup of 2016 and a high number of applications claiming rights violations lodged with the ECtHR in this context.


Latest ECtHR data places Turkey on top of the 47-member list of the Council of Europe states with respect to judgments finding a violation of freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention: Of the 845 judgments ECtHR delivered between 1959 and 2019, 356 were against Turkey. Turkey is followed by Russia, a distant runner-up in this case, with 72 judgments. In 2019, like in 2018 and 2017, Turkey was again the country with most judgments finding violation of freedom of expression delivered against it.


Our report, Freedom of Expression and Turkey: Implementation of ECtHR Judgments, examines the European court judgments finding freedom of expression violations in applications against Turkey over the recent years and Turkey’s track record in execution of these judgments. It was prepared by human rights lawyer Benan Molu, who is known for her work on the ECtHR case-law.


The report focuses on Articles 299, 301, 220/6, 220/7 and 314 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and Articles 6/2 and 7/2 of the Law on the Fight Against Terrorism (TMK), which are most frequently used in convictions and sentencing and most commonly cited in international monitoring reports focusing on restrictions on freedom of expression in Turkey, in the light of key ECtHR judgments and conclusions of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Venice Commission and High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe. To address the shortcomings identified in the ECtHR judgments, the report recommends that full independence of the judiciary be ensured and, for this to happen, necessary political will to that effect emerge.


Full text of the report can be viewed here.