The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has passed a judgement in the trial of writer Hülya Tarman, who was described as a suicide bomber by Star and Takvim dailys and after unsuccessfully applying to domestic courts against the respective articles, complained to the ECtHR about the fact that "her identity had been divulged and her photograph had been published, this had presented her as a target to the public and that she had feared for her life".
The court ruled that Tarman be paid 1,500 Euros in non-pecuniary damages over violation of Article 8, of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) protecting the right to respect for private life.
Domestic court rules "suicide bomber" description falls under freedom of expression
In June 2007 two articles were published in Takvim daily ("Search underway for four suicide bombers") and in Star daily ("Alarm raised about four suicide bombers") indicating that the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) had sent four suicide bombers, trained in special camps, to Turkey. The articles included four photographs, including that of Tarman, and her name was mentioned in the Takvim article.
Described as a suicide bomber who had been preparing an attack, Tarman submitted two claims for damages to the Diyarbakır Civil Court of First Instance ın July 2007 against the companies which published the newspapers concerned, arguing that there had been an interference with her personality rights.
The action in respect of the article in Takvim was dismissed by the Civil Court, in a judgment that was upheld by the Court of Cassation in February 2010. The claim in respect of the article in Star was partly granted by the Civil Court, but that judgment was overturned by the Court of Cassation in September 2008.
In June 2010 the Civil Court complied with the Court of Cassation's judgment and dismissed Ms Tarman's claim.
Relying in substance Article 8 (right to respect for private life), Tarman criticised in particular the domestic courts for finding that the information contained in the contested articles, which she alleged to be incorrect, had fallen within the scope of press freedom.
She also complained about the fact that her identity had been divulged and her photograph had been published; she alleged that this had presented her as a target to the public and stated that she had feared for her life.
Wanted to work on "perception of violence"
The two articles appeared in Takvim and Star dailys as Tarman was working on the project "An insider view of the perception of violence" together with children and women.
To gather some data and make some research on the topic, Tarman had traveled to Diyarbakır, Urfa, Batman and Van provinces in eastern and southeastern Turkey in 2006-2007.
Despite the petition campaign, that Tarman initiated to fight against the newspaper articles that violated her personal rights, Star and Takvim dailys did not publish any apology or an article to correct the groundless claims about Tarman.
Before applying to the ECtHR, Tarman also wrote to then President Abdullah Gül explaining the purpose of her visit to Diyarbakır and denouncing that she as a "determined volunteer for peace and an anti-war feminist activist" had been described as a suicide bomber. (AS/DG)
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