Turkey’s high court orders state to compensate academic who received death threats

Baskın Oran

The Turkish Constitutional Court has ordered the state to pay Professor Baskın Oran TL 27,000 ($4,500) in damages due to the lack of an adequate response to death threats he had received, the Diken news website reported on Friday.

In a unanimous decision published on its website on Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled that the state failed to provide adequate protection for Oran as well as to sufficiently prosecute and penalize the perpetrators, which constituted a violation of the right to life and to free speech.

The court asserted that the state did not take necessary steps even though Oran was faced with a concrete and explicit threat to his life. The court declared that it considered the situation to be a failure of public authorities to carry out their responsibilities with regard to safeguarding the right to life.

Oran had become the target of numerous hostile statements from public authorities as well as threatening messages from various segments of society after he contributed to the preparation and publication of a report in 2004 on minority rights in Turkey, as a member of the Prime Ministerial Advisory Board on Human Rights.

The threats intensified in the following years, which led to the assignment of a police detail to protect Oran.

In 2008 he received several e-mails from a group called the Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT) which suggested that unless he left the country by a stated deadline he would be their “next target after Hrant Dink,” referring to a Turkish Armenian journalist who was assassinated in 2007.

Oran’s lawyer had first filed complaints with the relevant public prosecutor’s offices, which reached a dead end when the suspect who allegedly sent the e-mails ultimately received a suspended sentence of one year, eight months.

As a result, Oran’s lawyer took the case to the Constitutional Court. In the application, the lawyer reminded that Dink had also received death threats that were not responded to with adequate protective measures, ultimately leading to his assassination. (turkishminute.com)

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