In what appears to be a major victory for freedom of expression in Turkey, a top appeals court in Ankara has overturned a decision to jail two Kurdish politicians for referring to Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as "sayin," a Turkish honorific that means both "mister" and "esteemed."
Hatip Dicle and Selim Dadak, members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), were each sentenced to six years in prison after a lower court decided that they had "praised a terrorist organization" by referring to Ocalan as "mister" in interviews. But the Supreme Court of Appeals recently overruled that verdict, arguing that using that expression is protected by Turkey's constitution and -- more significantly, as human rights lawyer Orhan Kemal Cengiz points out -- by the European Convention on Human Rights and precedents set forth by the European Court of Human Rights. Reports HaberTurk:
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