Türkei: Journalist Can Dündar drohen weitere Strafen wegen angeblicher Diffamierung

RAN 04/15 Update #1 – 27. Februar 2015

Can Dündar. Quelle: PEN International

Can Dündar. Quelle: PEN International

Der internationale PEN ist aufgrund der vermehrten juristischen Schikanen gegen den Schriftsteller, Journalisten und Dokumentarfilmer Can Dündar zutiefst beunruhigt. Dündar, der kürzlich zum Chefredakteur der türkischen Tageszeitung Cumhuriyet ernannt wurde, wurde vergangene Woche wegen des Verdachts der Diffamierung des Präsidenten verhört – eine Straftat, die nach türkischem Strafgesetzbuch bis zu vier Jahre und acht Monate Gefängnis nach sich ziehen kann. Die Untersuchung wurde nach einer offiziellen Beschwerde des türkischen Präsidenten Recep Tayyip Erdoğan eingeleitet. Dündar hatte sich 2013 in einem Interview über einen Korruptionsverdacht in Erdoğans engstem Vertrautenkreis geäußert.

Der internationale PEN verurteilt die Kriminalisierung von Diffamierungen und ruft die türkischen Behörden noch einmal dazu auf, alle Untersuchungen und Sanktionen gegen Dündar zu unterlassen, da er lediglich das Recht auf seine Meinungsfreiheit als Journalist und politischer Kommentator in Anspruch genommen hat (cm/sf).

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Senden Sie eine Nachricht, die ihre Unterstützung zeigt:

Bitte schreiben Sie eine E-Mail für Can Dündar an feuchert [at] writers-in-prison [dot] de, wir werden Ihre Nachricht weiterleiten.

Bitte senden Sie Beschwerdebriefe:

  • Rufen Sie die türkischen Behörden dazu auf, Diffamierungen endlich zu entkriminalisieren – auch wenn die Diffamierungen sich gegen den Präsidenten richten – und die Untersuchungen gegen Can Dündar einzustellen;
  • Erinnern Sie sie daran, dass die Grenzen für akzeptable Kritik an Politikern und anderen Regierungsbeamten weiter gefasst sind als für Kritik an privaten Personen, so wie es wiederholt am Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte bestimmt wurde, wie auch im Fall Tuşalp gegen die Türkei;
  • Erinnern Sie auch daran, dass die Türkei als Unterzeichner der Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention und des internationalen Pakts über bürgerliche und politische Rechte, die Verpflichtung hat, das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit zu respektieren.

Bitte fügen Sie in Ihren Briefen an den Präsidenten folgendes hinzu:

  • Bitten Sie ihn, keine weiteren Anklagen krimineller Diffamierungen gegen Schriftsteller und Journalisten vorzubringen, die sich in legitimer Art und Weise kritisch gegenüber politischem Geschehen äußern.

Schreiben Sie an:

S.E. den Botschafter der Türkei
Herrn Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu
Türkische Botschaft
Tiergartenstraße 19-21
10785 Berlin

Hintergrund (bereitgestellt vom internationalen PEN)

Can Dündar is a writer, journalist and documentary filmmaker who has become one of Turkey’s most prominent voices in a career spanning more than three decades. He is well known for his literary work as well as for a series of biographies and documentaries regarding key figures in Turkish history, including the founder of the republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the poet Nazım Hikmet and industrialist Vehbi Koç. His 2008 documentary on Atatürk sparked nationwide debate for its depiction of Turkey’s first president as a flawed and troubled leader. Dündar was sacked from his position as a columnist for Milliyet following a series of articles critical of the government during the Gezi Park protests. He has since worked as a columnist for Cumhuriyet and BirGün and was recently appointed as Cumhuriyet’s editor-in-chief. He was featured as a case study in a 2014 PEN report on the Gezi Park protests.

Dündar is currently on trial for two articles he wrote in July 2014 in his column for the daily Cumhuriyet. The first of these articles, ‘Erdoğan’s soft underbelly‘, was published on 1 July 2014, and discussed the possible ramifications of Erdoğan’s presidency. The second article, ‘It is our right to read the police reports‘, was published on 18 July 2014, and criticised the controversial handling of a major police investigation into alleged government corruption (the investigation has since been dropped after a reshuffle of the prosecutors and police officers who initiated it). The public prosecutor is seeking a two year, four month prison sentence for defamation against President Erdoğan and a two year, two month prison sentence for defamation against his son Bilal Erdoğan. President Erdoğan has previously attempted to have Dündar tried for criminal defamation, but a May 2014 complaint was rejected by the public prosecutor.

Dündar made the following comments to the press before today’s hearing:

President Erdoğan is pursuing his own policy of intimidation by bringing these cases; by considering every word, every criticism to be defamation. With the press already under siege, he is trying to intimidate all those who are making their voices heard in the media sphere by punishing them. But you will see that this does not pay off. Because we will continue to speak, continue to write. Perhaps while being prosecuted, perhaps while being subjected to threats, but without a doubt we will continue.’

PEN believes that the articles in question by Dündar constitute legitimate political criticism and that the public prosecutor’s office should drop the charges and investigation against him. Freedom of expression includes the right to offend, particularly within the context of thoughts and opinions relating to the politics of high-ranking government officials. The onus is on the Turkish courts to ensure that the prime minister’s personality rights are not unduly placed above those of others, nor above the general interest in a democratic society of promoting freedom of expression where issues of public interest and political criticism are concerned.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media have stated that that ‘criminal defamation is not a justifiable restriction on freedom of expression; all criminal defamation laws should be abolished and replaced, where necessary, with appropriate civil defamation laws’.

This approach was reinforced in a European Court of Human Rights case, Tuşalp v Turkey (2012), a defamation suit brought by Erdoğan against journalist Erbil Tuşalp. The European Court highlighted the relevance of the fact that Tuşalp’s scathing criticism of the prime minister involved ‘important matters in a democratic society of which the public had a legitimate interest in being informed and which fell within the scope of political debate.’ Regarding the ‘offensiveness’ of the words used by Tuşalp, the court held that ‘the protection of Article 10 [of the European Convention on Human Rights which relates to freedom of expression] was applicable not only to information or ideas that were favourably received but also to those which offended, shocked or disturbed.’ A crucial matter for consideration was the prime minister’s public position: ‘The limits of acceptable criticism were wider for a politician than a private individual. [The prime minister] would therefore have been obliged to display a greater degree of tolerance.‘

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