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HomeHeadlineLandmark ECtHR Ruling on Turkey: 'No Unlawful Penalties'

Landmark ECtHR Ruling on Turkey: ‘No Unlawful Penalties’

Historic Decision from the ECtHR: ‘No Unlawful Penalty’ Ensar Nur – September 26, 2023


The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg has announced its long-awaited decision in the Yalçınkaya/Turkey case, which has been pending since January 18. The Court ruled that many key provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) have been violated by Turkey.

An unprecedented moment in the history of the ECtHR is unfolding. The Court has issued its decision in an application that affects more people than any other case in its 64-year history. Finding violations of fundamental rights such as the right to a fair trial (Article 6), the principle of no unlawful penalty (Article 7), and the freedom of assembly and association (Article 11), the Court deemed the conviction of teacher Yalçınkaya for membership in a terrorist organization, resulting in a 6-year, 3-month sentence, to be unlawful.

Teacher Yüksel Yalçınkaya, like hundreds of thousands of others, had been convicted for actions that were entirely legal and routine, such as using the ByLock messaging application, having a bank account at Bank Asya, and being a member of an association.

This decision is recorded as a lesson for the Turkish judiciary, which considered the use of ByLock as sufficient evidence for membership in an armed terrorist organization. The case, designated as a leading case by the ECtHR, will serve as a precedent for the tens of thousands of cases pending before both the ECtHR and the Court of Cassation.

The ECtHR’s decision reaffirms that individuals should not be convicted based on unpredictable and retroactive interpretations of the law or through the misuse of evidence obtained unlawfully. This ruling underscores the importance of upholding the principles of legality of offenses and penalties, as well as the privacy of personal life and the freedom of association.


Mehmet Şahin presents and our Strasbourg correspondent, Ensar Nur, brings you the historic decision from the ECtHR along with legal experts.

Attorney Özcan Akıncı, Attorney Hatice Yıldız, Attorney Hakan Kaplankaya, Attorney Johan Heymans, Attorney Lale Demirkaya, Attorney Levent Mazılıgüney, Attorney Yaşar Demircioğlu, Attorney Oktay Bahadır.

This news article has first appeared in TR724.com and has been translated into English by Politurco.

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