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Turkey’s high court indicts newspaper for insulting LGBT people

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s High Court of Appeals has ordered the Turkish daily paper Yeni Akit to pay compensation for insulting LGBT people in a headline it printed in 2008, according to a report published by Hürriyet.

Yeni Akit printed an article titled “Üskül prefers perverts,” regarding Zafer Üskül, the then head of Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Commission who attended an “International Anti-Homophobism Meeting” organized by KAOS GL, a leading support organization for Turkey’s LGBT community.

The article, written by columnist Serdar Arseven, described Üskül as “an AKP [Justice and Development Party] member who gave assurances to she-males” in reference to his statement during the meeting that the government guaranteed that LGBT would not be segregated due to their sexual orientations. “[Üskül] went on and attended a meeting by sexual perverts! A meeting of [gays],” Arseven wrote.

KAOS GL filed a lawsuit against Yeni Akit and Arseven, seeking compensation for the headline and the related piece. The lawsuits, however, were rejected by two Ankara courts on the grounds that the newspaper was “within the limits of criticism.”

The High Court of Appeals overruled the judgements of the two courts, saying, “The freedom of the press does not encompass the freedom to insult the personal freedoms of individuals.”

The court stated that Yeni Akit insulted people with different sexual orientations in a way which could not be considered criticism and passed a sentence; the paper has been ordered to pay 4,000 Turkish Liras while Arseven has been sentenced to pay 2,000 liras in damages.

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8 more reader comments:

  1. I LOVE what the high court said: The High Court of Appeals overruled the judgements of the two courts, saying, “The freedom of the press does not encompass the freedom to insult the personal freedoms of individuals.” I say, AMEN to That!

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:50pm
  2. For a country where gays can’t openly serve in the military, marry, there isn’t any hate crime legislation, this is a wonderful start, besides Cyprus and Israel, Turkey is the only other stable and democratic country in the entire region, and hopefully soon, like the other two it’ll accept LGBT in its laws. <3

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 5:53pm
  3. Wow, and that came from an extreme conservative Muslim country… Proud of you, Turkey! <3

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 6:40pm
  4. yeahhhhh….Love Turkey… thank you..

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 6:43pm
  5. the 2012 shift from fear to love

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:10pm
  6. 2008?? a little late, eh?

    Posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:22pm
  7. True: Freedom of speech is one thing but it only goes so far when you criticize people just because of their sexual orientation in the newspaper. Come on we don’t criticize strait people in newspaper why can’t we all just get along

    Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:37am
  8. Turkey is not a extreme muslim country, Turkey is one of the most liberal muslim states where Democracy and Secularism have a long history…..
    Did you know the biggest Gay pride of Eastern Europe takes place in Istanbul? (Turkey’s biggest city). (Check LGBTISTANBUL @ youtube)

    Posted on Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 7:11pm