ECtHR says Turkey violated rights of journalist Ahmet Şık

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Turkey violated the right to liberty and security as well as the right to freedom of expression of journalist Ahmet Şık, who was kept in pre-trial detention for 14 months in Turkey, Turkish Minute reported, citing a statement from the journalist on Tuesday.

Şık, who was arrested in December 2016 as part of an investigation targeting journalists and executives from the Cumhuriyet daily, announced that the court had concluded its review of the application he filed in May 2017 and ruled in his favor.

In 2018 a Turkish court sentenced 13 Cumhuriyet journalists and executives to prison on terrorism charges in a case that sparked widespread outrage over press freedom.

The Cumhuriyet staff were arrested during a crackdown after a failed coup in July 2016.

Turkey will pay compensation to Şık in line with the court’s decision.

Şık, who was elected to the Turkish Parliament from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in 2018, resigned from the party in May.

Turkish prosecutors accused the Cumhuriyet staff of supporting groups it has labeled terrorist organizations, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the ultra-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the Gülen movement, a faith based group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Ankara accuses Gülen of masterminding an abortive putsch in July 2016. Gülen and the movement strongly deny any involvement in the coup attempt.

PKK and DHKP/C are listed as terrorist organizations by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) described Turkey as “the world’s biggest jailer of professional journalists” in its 2020 World Press Freedom Index, in which Turkey was ranked 154th among 180 countries in terms of press freedom.

According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom’s “Jailed and Wanted Journalists in Turkey” database, 174 journalists are currently behind bars in Turkey, while 167 are wanted and are either in exile or remain at large.

Şık has been openly critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as the Gülen movement.

In March 2011, under AKP rule, Şık had been arrested on charges of membership in the Ergenekon terrorist organization along with journalist Nedim Şener. They were both released in March 2012.

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