Media and Law Studies Association & International Press Institute – Justice Monitoring Report Freedom of Expression Trials in Turkey

Over the past few years, the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey has increased drastically. Thus, the importance of trial monitoring should be acknowledged, in particular with regards to providing a large set of data on procedures and fairness of the Turkish courts. In the meantime, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been criticized for overestimating the effectiveness of domestic legal remedies in Turkey. Given that the ECtHR requires applicants to exhaust all domestic remedies before turning to the Strasbourg court, the authors of this study set to test whether the judicial system in Turkey meets the required standards of speediness, efficiency and effectiveness in rendering those remedies.

This trial monitoring project gathered data from 90 court sessions involving 82 hearings or 71 separate trials, all evaluated on the basis of a standard form prepared by the International Press Institute (IPI) and Media and Law Studies Association’s (MLSA) Legal Unit. The results of the monitoring show that Turkish courts fall short of the domestic and international standards set for securing the right to a fair trial, and in particular, those set under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).