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Turkish government found guilty of violating free expression in case against newspaper

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) found Turkey guilty of violating freedom of expression for issuing an injunction on an article published in Cumhuriyet newspaper. The injunction was issued after Abdullah Gül filed a complaint prior to the 2007 presidential elections. The court ordered the Turkish government to pay each editor 2500 Euros as non-pecuniary damages and 5100 Euros as court expenses.

Cumhuriyet, a major daily newspaper in Turkey, republished The Guardian's interview with Abdullah Gül in the wake of presidential elections in 2007. “The republic era is over in Turkey. We would like this secular system changed,” Gül told The Guardian in 1995.

The ECHR ruling underlined that courts had to respect defense rights before deciding on publication bans and injunctions. Gül filed a complaint for 50,000 Liras as damages and an injunction order, saying that he didn't use the words which were published in Cumhuriyet newspaper. Subsequently, Ankara Assize Court issued an injunction.

In 2008, after being elected as president, Gül withdrew from the case. However, the injunction lasted for 11 months.

Click here to read the original article in Turkish.

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