Hate Speech and Beyond: Targeting the Gülen Movement in Turkey


Date posted: June 15, 2014

WASHINGTON D.C.

COVER1On December 17, 2013, a graft probe alleging corruption among some members of the cabinet became public. Immediately thereafter, the Gülen movement (a.k.a. Hizmet), one of the largest faith-based communities in Turkey, became the target of offensive statements by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  The paper argues that from the standpoint of human rights law, there is little doubt that some of the prime minister’s statements are fundamentally incompatible with the principles underlying the concept of human rights. Some of these expressions, indeed, amount to prima facie hate speech as understood by the European Court of Human Rights, the jurisdiction of which is already accepted by Turkey.

According to the European Court of Human Rights, any language which spreads, incites, promotes or justifies hatred based on intolerance, including racial and religious intolerance, is considered to constitute hate speech and is unworthy of protection under the guarantees of freedom of speech. As a matter fact, if the element of hatred is detectable at first sight, the European Court of Human Rights defines such language as abuse of freedom of expression. In this regard, some of the language used by Prime Minister Erdoğan to describe the Gülen movement – i.e. “perverts”, “hashashins”, “traitors”, “spies”, “worse than Shiites”, “leeches” and “a terrorist organization” – do indeed constitute prima facie hate speech.

A government leader’s perpetration of hate speech is unprecedented for Strasbourg jurisprudence. In case law in the European Court of Human Rights, there is not a single case in which a High Contracting Party to the European Convention on Human Rights has been convicted for failing to sanction individuals using hate speech, let alone for perpetrating hate speech itself. However, the expressions of the Turkish prime minister exhibit so much seriousness and vehemence that they tend to extend beyond the already existing contours of hate speech as drawn by the European Court of Human Rights. Not only did Mr. Erdoğan blatantly insult the movement, but he also encouraged the masses to do the same, and actually succeeded in creating mass hatred towards the Gülen movement.  In the process, he put out a boycott call to exclude the Gülen movement from the layers of social life that led to repercussions among his supporters.  In tandem with the boycott call, he declared that he would use the powers of the government to discriminate against the Gülen movement and started a “witch hunt.”  For these reasons, in light of ECtHR case law, it is hard, if not impossible, not to consider Prime Minister Erdoğan’s expressions targeting the Gülen movement as unprecedented prima facie hate speech.

Source: Rethinkinstitute , June 15, 2014


Related News

Turkey’s Erdogan takes cue from Hitler, Stalin and Khomeini

There is something deeply disturbing about the direction in which Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party are taking Turkey. Writing in this newspaper last week, John Lyons compared the sweeping purges to McCarthyism in the US in the 1950s. That was altogether the wrong analogy.

Peace ambassador students conquer hearts at European Parliament

The Gala of the 13th International Language and Culture Olympics’ Brussels closing leg was hosted by the European Parliament, featuring 200 students from Turkish schools across the globe.

Istanbul police display hundreds of books among evidence of ‘terror’

Police seized Gülen’s 1,500 books; 24 CDs featuring Gülen’s speeches; TL 435,200 ($148,000) along with $99,200 and 700 euros; several laptops; two guns and some digital data, during operations targeting the alleged terrorist network of the movement.

Dialogue Institute of the Southwest presents Whirling Dervishes of Rumi

The Whirling Dervish Performance of Rumi is a highly cultural and spiritual celebration of existence, performed by members of a branch of the Sufi order, which was founded in the 13th century in the Turkish city of Konya. The Whirling Dervishes played a vitally important part in the evolution of Ottoman Empire high culture.

Fethullah Gülen’s Message of Condolences for the Death of Soccer Star, Diego Maradona

It is very important that individuals who are successful and influential in their professional careers take part in social projects and contribute to solving common problems. Maradona will be remembered as a supporter of numerous charity projects.

Turkey: Babies behind bars

Huseyin Sahnaz is seriously worried about his wife and infant child. After all, prisons are not exactly family-friendly institutions. Both have to share a cell with 30 other inmates. And temperatures during this time of year tend to reach 30 degrees Celsius (around 90 Fahrenheit) or higher.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Land of Private high school declared green space

Erdogan’s False Promises To Africa

Purge-victim family drowns in the Aegean Sea off Turkey

Twitter shouldn’t let itself become a tool for tyrants

Turkey’s business world weary of gov’t pressure, says Kalkavan

Corruption probe [in Turkey]

TUSKON storm

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News