Turkey’s supreme court has this week officially recognised hate speech based on sexual orientation at a groundbreaking trial held against news site Habervaktim.com.
The trail came after Habervaktim called local LGBT rights organisation KAOS GL ‘perverts’ in an article entitled ‘the lawyer association of the perverts called Kaos GL’.
The Supreme Court ruled that use of the term ‘perverts’ constituted hate speech as a derogatory comment specifically aimed at the LGBT association that may make them target to discrimination or attack.
Although the Supreme Court’s recognition of hate speech is a positive step for Turkey’s LGBTI community the website Habervaktim were not dealt any punishment as the attack had been aimed at the organisation KAOS GL and therefore did not breech the rights of any specific individuals.
In defence of their decision not to prosecute the news site Supreme Court officials stated ‘unless there is a call for violence or hate speech that might damage pluralistic democracy and might even destroy it, punishment which limits individuals’ freedom should be avoided’.
The trial marks the first time that hate speech against the LGBT community has been legally recognised by Turkish authority and stands as a significant landmark for LGBTI rights in the country.