The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convicted Turkey of a violation of freedom of expression in the context of the book "The Eleven Thousand Rods" (Les onze mille verges) by French writer Guillaume Apollinaire published in 1907. The book was censored in Turkey and its publisher, Hades Publishing owner Rahmi Akdaş, was convicted by a Turkish court.
The decision was announced by the ECHR on Tuesday (16 February). The court declared that there nothing to say against the protection of moral values. Nevertheless, "Acknowledgment of the cultural, historical and religious particularities of the Council of Europe's member States could not go so far as to prevent public access in a particular language, in this instance Turkish, to a work belonging to the European literary heritage".
The ECHR pointed out that the requirements of morals depended on time and place and therefore national authorities were more competent to perceive whether restrictions were necessary. However, in this case it should not be ignored that the work had been initially published more than a century ago.
The court board, including Turkish judge Işıl Karakaş, unanimously decreed for a violation of article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights on freedom of expression. Since Akdaş had not requested compensation, the court refrained from sentencing Turkey to a compensation fine.
Court of Appeals previously approved penalty for obscenity
Publisher Akdaş, who lives in the city of Bandırma south of the Sea of Marmara, was sentenced to a monetary fine of 684 Turkish Lira (TL) on the grounds of "obscenity" and "harming inner feelings of the people" by publishing the work which contains graphic descriptions of scenes of sexual intercourse, even though it is a fictional work.
On 11 March 2004, the Court of Appeals approved the decision and decreed for the seizure and destruction of all copies of the book. Akdaş was forced to pay his fine in November 2004.
Sel Publishing official İrfan Sancı is being prosecuted on the grounds of Guillaume Apollinaire's book entitled "The Exploits of a Young Don Juan". Additionally, Metin Üstündağ stood accused of "obscene contents" regarding the caricature album entitled "Sunday Lovers", he was released. Enis Batur was tried under the same allegations for his novel "Apple". (EÖ/VK)
Related bianet News
Third Quarterly Media Monitoring Report 2009 - Full Text 22 January 2010According to the Media Monitoring Report issued by the BİA Media Monitoring Desk ...
HOMOPHOBIA AND LITERATURE Prosecutor Considers Lesbian Love to be Obscene 16 December 2009The Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the contents of the book "The ...
Publishers Praise bianet for Rigths Advocacy 15 June 2006Publishers Union prizes bianet for support and advocacy for freedom of expression. Chair ...
Most Read Today
ECtHR: Selahattin Demirtaş Should Be Released 20 November 2018
NOVEMBER 20 UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY “Toys are Forbidden in Prison Wards” 20 November 2018
On Universal Children’s Day, 893 Thousand Children Work in Turkey 20 November 2018
Application for Release of Selahattin Demirtaş 20 November 2018